Canada Announces Changes to Business Immigration Programs

Business Immigration Programs

Canada’s federal government has announced several key changes to its business immigration programs, effective April 30, 2024. The goal of these changes is to reduce processing times and the application backlog for these programs.

Reforms to the Start-Up Visa Program

Changes to the Start-Up Visa Program To improve the Start-Up Visa program, which provides permanent residence for innovative entrepreneurs, the government is introducing two major reforms:

  1. Capping Applications: Each designated venture capital firm, angel investor group, and business incubator will be limited to supporting a maximum of 10 start-up permanent residence applications per year.
  2. Priority Processing: Start-ups supported by Canadian capital or members of Canada’s Tech Network will receive priority processing, including applications already in the backlog.

These changes aim to have designated entities focus their resources on the most promising entrepreneurial ventures when providing support required for the Start-Up Visa.

Pause on Self-Employed Persons Program

 Additionally, Minister Marc Miller announced a full pause on accepting new applications for the Self-Employed Persons Program starting April 30, 2024. This Business Immigration Programs allows permanent residence for self-employed individuals with experience in cultural activities like arts, athletics, and recreation.

Addressing Long Processing Times

Due to a high volume of applications, processing times have ballooned to over four years for this program. During the pause, which will last until the end of 2026, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will continue finalizing applications in the existing backlog while assessing reforms to improve the program’s integrity.

Reducing Backlogs and Wait Times

Reducing backlogs and wait times by temporarily restricting intake for these Business Immigration Programs and increasing admissions through Canada’s multi-year immigration levels plan, IRCC expects to successfully reduce application backlogs and cut wait times over the next few years.

The government aims to continue welcoming talented entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals who can contribute to Canada’s economic growth and cultural vitality, but in a more efficient and timely manner once these changes take full effect.

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