Changes to Start-up Visa and Self Employed Persons Programs to Cut Backlogs and Improve Efficiency

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Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has announced significant modifications to Canada’s federal business programs to help shorten processing times and reduce application backlogs, effective April 30, 2024.

To enhance the Start-up Visa Program, the immigration department has decided to encourage designated venture capital firms, angel investor groups, and business incubators to concentrate on the most promising proposals by:

  • Limiting the number of permanent resident applications processed each year to no more than 10 startups per designated organization.
  • Providing priority processing for entrepreneurs supported by Canadian capital or by business incubators that are members of Canada’s Tech Network, including both applications currently in the inventory and new submissions.

Additionally, Minister Miller announced a complete pause on receiving applications for the Self-Employed Persons Program starting April 30, 2024. Due to the high volume of applications submitted for this program, processing times have extended to over four years. During this pause, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will continue to finalize applications from the backlog while evaluating options for reforming the program and ensuring its integrity.

By restricting application intake until the end of 2026 and through planned increases in admissions in the federal business category as outlined in the 2024–2026 multi-year levels plan, IRCC aims to reduce backlogs and shorten waiting times. These measures will continue to welcome talented, innovative, and entrepreneurial new immigrants who are essential for the continued growth of Canada’s economy.

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