Major Jump In Start-Up Visa Immigration As 490 Get Permanent Residence

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Major Jump In Start-Up Visa Immigration As 490 Get Permanent Residence
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The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals Canada’s Start-Up Visa (SUV) entrepreneur immigration program grew by 58.1 per cent in January over the previous month as 490 immigrant entrepreneurs became new permanent residents.

Last year, the SUV set a new record as 1,460 new permanent residents arrived through it, easily beating out the previous record of 575 new permanent residents in 2022.

And that explosive growth in the SUV is still happening.

January’s level of immigration through the SUV this year was 880 per cent higher than the 50 permanent residents who arrived in Canada through the program during the comparable month in 2023.

The first month of the year saw so much SUV immigration to Canada that if that level of SUV immigration were projected out to the rest of the year it would result in 5,880 new permanent residents by the end of this year, more than four times as many as last year.


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Launched in 2015, the SUV saw only 55 immigrant entrepreneurs come to Canada through that program in its initial year.

That number, though, doubled to 110 new permanent residents in 2016 and rose another 22.7 per cent the following year. By 2018, the program had more than quadrupled in popularity with 240 new permanent residents arriving under the SUV that year.

In 2019, the last full year before the arrival of COVID-19, the SUV welcomed 515 new permanent residents to Canada.

As the pandemic swept across Canada and public health and travel restrictions were imposed, though, immigration plummeted 45.9 per cent – and the number of people who arrived under the SUV fell in tandem with that overall drop in immigration to Canada.

In 2020, only 260 immigrant entrepreneurs became new permanent residents of Canada through the SUV.

With immigration rebounding strongly in 2021 to hit 406,020 new permanent residents, the SUV also saw increased activity with 385 new permanent residents coming to Canada through it that year, an improvement of 48.1 per cent over 2020.

It took until 2022 for the SUV to fully recover from the pandemic-fuelled downturn but it more than doubled in popularity last year compared to the previous year.

SUV Entrepreneurs See Ontario, British Columbia As Choice Destinations

Ontario and British Columbia remain the most popular destinations for SUV immigrants.

Ontario had received 275 new permanent residents through the program in the first month of this year and British Columbia welcomed 170 that month.

Alberta added five new permanent residents through the program in January and Manitoba added 35 immigrant entrepreneurs through the SUV during that month.

The only other province to see the arrival of immigrant entrepreneurs through the SUV in January was Nova Scotia which welcomed five.

None of the other provinces or territories added any new permanent residents through the SUV that month.


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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). 

Due to these smaller numbers, the monthly and even yearly 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.

Three Types Of Private-Sector Investors Are Considered Under SUV

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.

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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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.