Immigrant entrepreneurs increasingly using Start-Up Visa program to immigrate to Canada

According to Report, Canada is the Top OECD Destination for Foreign Start-Up Founders
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The number of new permanent residents coming to Canada as entrepreneurs under the Start-Up Visa (SUV) immigration program was up 6.3 per cent after the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2022, reveals the latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

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Although the number of new permanent residents arriving under the SUV slipped by slightly more than 13 per cent in June, to 65 from the 75 in May, the overall trend under the entrepreneur immigration program is still up.

Canada is on track to welcome 670 entrepreneurs through the SUV this year

In the first six months of this year, the SUV welcomed 335 new permanent residents, or 20 more than the 315 during the comparable period last year.

Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program, designed to attract high-calibre entrepreneurs with the skills and attributes for business success, is set to see a sharp increase in numbers in the next three years.

The government’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2023 to 2025 allows for 3,500 newcomers in the federal business category in 2023, rising to 6,000 by 2025.

The majority of this allocation is expected to come through the Start-Up Visa Program.

The most popular destinations for immigrant entrepreneurs arriving under the SUV so far this year have been British Columbia and Ontario.

The West Coast province of British Columbia had welcomed 125 new permanent residents through the SUV by the end of June while Ontario had received 155 new permanent residents through the program.

Alberta added 20 new permanent residents through the program during the comparable period this year and Manitoba welcomed 35 immigrant entrepreneurs through the SUV in the first six months this year. Nova Scotia added 10.

None of the other provinces or territories added any new permanent residents through the SUV in the first six months of this year.

The SUV is showing the fastest rate of growth in the Prairie province of Manitoba where the immigration program welcomed 40 per cent more newcomers in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2022.

Ontario’s SUV rate of growth in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year was 6.9 per cent. That was almost completely offset by a drop in British Columbia’s performance where the SUV sagged by 7.4 per cent in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2022.

The SUV program generates much lower overall numbers of new permanent residents than federal worker programs, such as the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Federal Skilled Trade (FST), the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) or the regional economic development programs including the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) or Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).

Applicants under SUV can come to Canada on a work permit

Due to these smaller numbers, the monthly fluctuations in the number of new permanent residents under the SUV can sometimes seem exaggerated when examined in percentage terms.

Candidates applying under the SUV program can initially come to Canada on a work permit supported by their designated Canadian investor before their application for permanent residence is finalized.

The entire process of applying for permanent residence to Canada through the SUV is currently estimated by the IRCC to take 37 months.

Under the SUV, three types of private-sector investors are considered: angel investorsventure capital funds, and business incubators.

A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totalling $200,000.

A designated angel investor group must invest at least $75,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more investments from angel investor groups totalling $75,000.

A designated business incubator must accept the applicant into its business incubator program. It is up to the immigrant investor to develop a viable business plan that will meet the due diligence requirements of these government-approved designated entities.

Immigration lawyers can help immigrant entrepreneurs navigate Canada’s start-up eco-system

That investing and the development of the business is usually done with the help of business consultants in Canada’s start-up ecosystem with oversight from experienced corporate business immigration lawyers who can ensure a start-up’s business concept meets all industry-required terms and conditions.

The basic government-imposed candidate eligibility requirements for the SUV are:

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