Canada’s Start-Up Visa: How To Avoid Processing Delays

Canada’s Start-Up Visa: How To Avoid Processing Delays
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Canada immigration news: There are ways to avoid problems with processing times through Canada’s Start-Up Visa currently being tackled by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

At the time of writing, IRCC’s processing times tool estimates it will take 31 months from submission of application to permanent residence through the Start-Up Visa (SUV).

Ottawa is trying to tackle the issue, announcing $2.1 billion in its latest budget to improve immigration processing, on top of $85 million allocated in 2021 specifically aimed at the current application backlog.

This means the current estimated processing time is likely to be as long as it gets. Over time, expected that 31 months to gradually reduce as the system capacity is increased to meet demand.

In the mean time, there are ways SUV candidates who want to apply and get to Canada as soon as possible to achieve just that.

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All You Need To Know To Immigrate To Canada Through The Start-Up Visa In 2022

Apply For A Work Permit Through The International Mobility Program

Built into the Start-Up Visa process is the opportunity to apply for a short-term work permit to arrive in Canada and begin setting up the business while the permanent residence application is being processed.

Processing times for work permits vary depending on the country the candidate is applying from, but are dramatically less than the time it takes to get permanent residence through the SUV.

To qualify for the work permit, applicants must secure a Commitment Certificate and a letter of support from a designated entity. The letter must indicate the applicant is ‘essential’ and there are urgent business reasons for their early entry to Canada.

The candidate must also prove they have sufficient funds to meet the low-income cut-off (LICO) for their family size, for one year, plan to live outside Quebec and pay the $230 employer compliance fee.

Low-Income Cut Off Requirements

Size of family unit

Minimum necessary income

1 person


2 persons


3 persons


4 persons


5 persons


6 persons


7 persons


More than 7 persons, for each additional person, add


Through the International Mobility Program (IMP), candidates can submit a ‘self-employed’ offer of employment, so that they qualify for the work permit. 

Candidates should include their job title as ‘Start-Up Visa Entrepreneur’ under National Occupational Classification (NOC) code 8888.

It should be noted that candidates who meet all of the above requirements can apply for the short-term work permit before they apply for permanent residence.

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Consider A Provincial Business Program Aimed At Start-Ups

A further option for candidates looking to avoid long wait times is to consider a provincial business program aimed at start-ups.

Both Alberta and Ontario have options in this regard.


The Alberta immigration Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream (FGES) is aimed at qualified foreign-educated graduates from outside of Canada who want to launch start-up enterprises and innovative businesses in Alberta.

Successful candidates must sign a Business Performance Agreement, before establishing their start-up while in Canada on a work permit. Once the terms of the BPA are met, they are then nominated for permanent residence through the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program.

Candidates must meet requirements including work experience, education and language. The mandatory minimum investment for an urban centre is $100,000 and for a regional area is $50,000.

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Ontario launched in 2021 a project to recruit 100 international entrepreneurs to invest $200,000 each to start or buy businesses outside the Greater Toronto Area.

Under the existing Entrepreneur Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), the province aims to help regions hit hard by the pandemic by attracting $20 million in investment.

The Ontario government hopes the two-year project will create jobs in sectors including information technology, life sciences and tourism.

Applicants will be nominated for permanent residence once their business has been operating in Ontario for 18 to 20 months.

Ontario Entrepreneur Stream: Financial Requirements

1) Net Worth

  • Minimum net worth of $800,000 if your proposed business will be in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Outside the GTA, minimum net worth is $400,000.
  • Proposed business in either ICT or digital communications, minimum net worth is $400,000 anywhere in province.

2) Investment and Ownership

  • Invest at least $600,000 in an Ontario business and own at least 33 per cent if business is in GTA.
  • Outside GTA, invest at least $200,000 and own at least 33 per cent.
  • Proposed business in either ICT or digital communications, invest at least $200,000 and own at least 33 per cent anywhere in province.
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