How Start-Up Visa Candidates Can Avoid Processing Delays With Temporary Work Permits

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How Start-Up Visa Candidates Can Avoid Processing Delays With Temporary Work Permits
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Canada immigration news: Candidates hoping to immigrate to Canada under the Start-Up Visa can expect to wait 31 months due to the backlog of applications to be processed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

To combat these delays, SUV applicants deemed critical to the business can come to Canada on a work permit and begin establishing the company while their permanent residence applications are being processed.

With IRCC staff at full throttle trying to tackle the backlog, application delays are set to remain stable and then start to decline over time. In its latest budget, Ottawa pledged to spend $2.1 billion to speed up processing, on top of $85 million already allocated in fall 2021.

The SUV remains Canada’s only direct permanent residence business immigration program, without condition.


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The estimated time to process an application for someone hoping to immigrate to Canada under the federal Self-Employed program is even longer, more than three years: 41 months.

To combat these delays, SUV applicants deemed critical to the business can come to Canada on a work permit and begin establishing the company while their permanent residence applications are being processed.

With IRCC staff at full throttle trying to tackle the backlog, application delays are set to remain stable and then start to decline over time.

The SUV remains Canada’s only direct permanent residence business immigration program, without condition.

Backlogs for Start-Up Visa Grow in 2022

On Monday, an IRCC official provided Immigration.ca with data that shows the number of people waiting for final decisions on their permanent residency applications under the Start-Up Visa program grew by roughly nine per cent in the two months that ended Feb. 28, from 1,264 at the end of last year to 1,378 on the last day of February.


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Savvy immigrant entrepreneurs, though, don’t have to wait all that time to get started on their business venture. They can apply for a short-term work permit under the International Mobility Program and gain earlier access to Canada. 

That option is open to foreign nationals who plan to live in a province or territory other than Quebec provided they have received a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support issued by a designated entity indicating the entrepreneur is essential and has urgent business reasons requiring early access to Canada.

The entrepreneur must also pay the $230 employer compliance fee and prove he or she has sufficient funds to support his or her family for a full year. The business must be registered for a Canada Revenue Agency business number. The entrepreneur then uses that business number to submit his or her offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee.

TEMPORARY WORK PERMITS SHAVE YEARS OFF WAITING TIMES

Depending on the aspiring entrepreneur’s country of origin, this process can knock off years of waiting to gain entry into Canada and start the business. Applications for work permits for Ukrainians are currently being fast-tracked and can take as little as two weeks to process. Chinese nationals applying for the same work permits can expect a wait time of 23 weeks. 

That, though, is still a time savings of more than two years.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser is well aware of the current backlogs and his department is working to cut through them and speed up the processing of applications.

In her fall economic statement, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland pledged last year to bring the backlog under control with an $85-million investment to be spent from 2022 to 2023 to process more applications and reduce processing times in key areas affected by the pandemic.

“This will help to ensure Canada’s immigration system is well-positioned to help meet Canada’s economic and labour force goals,” wrote Freeland in that fall economic statement.


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Ottawa is also investing heavily to modernize its immigration systems.

“We have also embarked on an unprecedented modernization of the immigration system, with more than $800 million in the 2021 budget to create a brand-new digital platform for managing immigration cases,” said IRCC spokesperson Béatrice Fénelon last week.

“This new platform will transform our immigration system, meaning cases will be processed faster and workers will arrive sooner.”

Despite the current delays in getting final decisions for applications under the Start-Up Visa pathway, it remains a popular route to permanent residency in Canada. Many of Canada’s provincial entrepreneur programs require candidates to sign a business performance agreement, the terms of which they must meet to qualify for permanent residence.

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