IRCC makes changes to Start-up Visa and Self-Employed Persons Program

IRCC makes changes to Start-up Visa and Self-Employed Persons Program

Surya Rathee Surya Rathee
[Published 30 Apr, 2024 | 04:24 AM]
About Author - 3 min read

Immigration Minister Marc Miller has announced important changes to Canada’s Start-Up Visa and Self-Employed Persons Program.

Starting April 30, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will implement new policies around processing Start-Up Visa applications. On the same day, IRCC will also impose a full pause on the application intake for the Self-Employed Persons Program.

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Start-Up Visa Changes

Starting April 30, IRCC will alter the processing of Start-Up Visa applications by focusing on:

  • Putting a cap on the number of candidates that apply for Canada PR under this program by excluding applicants who are associated with no more than 10 start-ups per designated organization, and
  • Offering priority processing to entrepreneurs whose start-up is supported by a Canadian capital or business incubator that is a member of Canada’s Tech Network.

Self-Employed Persons Program Changes

IRCC also announced a full pause on the Self-Employed Persons Program application intake – which is planned to be in place until the end of 2026. This change is a result of the high number of applications within the program inventory, because of which processing times have increased to longer than four years.

While the temporary pause has been put in place, IRCC will continue to finalize applications and look for opportunities to reform the program - while maintaining its integrity.

“Fast processing is critical to the success of entrepreneurs who come to Canada through our federal business programs. These necessary changes will set the Start­up Visa Program and Self-Employed Persons Program on the path to faster processing times while we look ahead to further reforms to make these programs more sustainable and effective over the long term.” - The Honorable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Quick Facts

  • Immigrants account for about 1/3rd of business owners with paid staff in Canada.
  • Canada ranked as the most attractive destination for start-up founders in 2023.
  • To be eligible for a Start-Up Visa, an immigrant must have committed support of a Designated Venture Capital Fund (investment of $200,000), Angel Investor Group (investment of $75,000) or Business Incubator (acceptance into their incubation program).
  • Since its launch back in 2013, almost 900 entrepreneurs have become permanent residents through the Start-Up visa category - which represents the launch of more than 300 start-ups.
  • Candidates under the Venture Capital and Angel Investor streams will get priority processing, as will any business incubator-supported applications that report an investment of at least $75,000.

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Both the Start-Up Visa and Self-Employed Persons Program fall under the “Federal Business” category of the Canada Immigration Levels Plan, which is set to increase from a 5,000-newcomer allocation to a 6,000-newcomer allocation starting in 2025.

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