Startup Visa Program Application Intake and Associated Measures Updates

Original Article by our partners of Green and Spiegel

On April 30, 2024, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) put into effect new measures with respect to the Start-Up Visa (SUV) program.

These measures were introduced to address lengthening wait times seen with pending SUV applications. IRCC is of the position that these measures are necessary to ensure the SUV program is effective in delivering maximum benefits to Canada and in meeting expectations for timely service.

Effective April 30, 2024, IRCC will:

  • Cap the number of permanent residence applications they will accept for processing each year to no more than 10 start-ups per designated organization; and
  • Prioritize the processing of applications that are supported by Canadian capital (at least CAD 75,000 from a designated organization), or by a business incubator that is a member of Canada’s Tech Network.

Important takeaways from the announcement are:

  • The cap applies on a per start-up basis, indiscriminately of whether the commitment certificate is for a single entrepreneur or a team of five entrepreneurs.
  • Prioritized processing will be given to applications in the current inventory, as well as new applications, provided criteria are met.
  • The backlog is the result of IRCC receiving more applications than it can process in a timely manner.
  • The cap is a temporary cap on new applications that will be in place from April 30, 2024, to the end of 2026.
  • The cap is applied for each calendar year.
  • For 2024, the cap will be applied only to commitment certificates issued on or after April 30, 2024.
  • Designated organizations are asked to focus on the most promising proposals and, consequently, to be more selective with which start-ups they commit to.
  • Every year, IRCC will generate 10 unique identifying numbers per designated organization. Each commitment certificate that the designated organization submits to IRCC will need to include said unique identifying number.
  • The unique identifying numbers have been provided to the designated organizations by email already for 2024.
  • Even if some designated organizations that are designated under more than one of the three entity types (i.e. Business Incubator, Angel Investor Group, or Venture Capital Fund) may receive more than 10 unique identifying numbers, the applicable cap cannot be combined and will remain 10 start-ups in total, whichever the entity type.
  • Unused cap space cannot be carried over to the following year, nor can it be transferred between designated organizations.
  • If the number of designated organizations changes, the size of the cap may need to be adjusted.
  • Applications that are not prioritized should soon begin to see improvements in processing times.

By restricting the SUV application intake and pausing the application intake for the Self­Employed Persons Program through the end of 2026, IRCC aims at bringing down wait times while maintaining the level of admissions planned in the 2024–2026 multi-year levels plan, in an attempt to be more attractive to talented, innovative and entrepreneurial immigrants.

To learn more about Global Startups’ Startup Visa Program, please click in this link.

Article by

David Comtois
David Comtois is a Senior Associate at Green and Spiegel LLP in Toronto.

S. Sonia Sidhu
Sonia Sidhu is a Senior Associate Lawyer at Green and Spiegel LLP in Toronto.

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