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Canada has announced several important changes to its federal business programs to help reduce processing times and application backlogs.

Key Takeaways

  • As of April 30, organisations can submit a maximum of 10 business proposals annually for the Start-Up Visa program, aiming to improve the quality of proposals.
  • Priority processing will be available for Start-Up Visa applications supported by Canadian capital or business incubators part of Canada’s Tech Network.
  • The Self-Employed Persons program will be paused as of April 30 until the end of 2026.
  • These changes are intended to streamline processing and enhance the focus on high-potential business proposals.


What Are The Main Changes to the Start-Up Visa Program?

Effective April 30, the number of business proposals organisations may submit for the Start-Up Visa program will be capped at 10 per year per organisation. The government expects that this will result in higher quality or “most promising” proposals being submitted.

Through the Start-Up Visa program, first launched in 2013, designated venture capital firms, angel investor groups, and business incubators can collaborate with prospective entrepreneurs abroad to propose business activities in Canada. Successful applicants enjoy a pathway to Canadian permanent resident status, with the possibility of acquiring Canadian citizenship subsequently.

Further, the federal government will provide priority processing for entrepreneurs whose start-up is supported by Canadian capital or by a business incubator that is a member of Canada’s Tech Network, including applications in the inventory and new applications as they are submitted.

What Are The Processing Times For The Start-Up Visa Program?

The current application processing time for the Start-Up Visa, as posted in April 2024, is 37 months.


Suspension Of The Self-Employed Persons Program

Also effective April 30, Canada is fully pausing intake for the Self-Employed Persons program through the end of 2026 to focus on processing application inventory in the existing backlog.

The Self-Employed Persons program provides a pathway to permanent residence for international applicants with notable experience in art, culture, recreation, or sports and who will contribute to Canada’s cultural vitality.

Though there is no confirmation that the program may reopen to new applications thereafter, the language used in the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) news release indicates that it could reopen to new applications in the future.

What Are The Processing Times For The Self-Employed Persons Program?

The current application processing time for the Self-Employed Persons program, as posted in April 2024, is 52 months.

About the author

Hugo O'Doherty profile picture

Hugo O'Doherty

Canadian Immigration & Integration Specialist
Hugo O’Doherty has over a decade of experience and research in Canadian immigration, establishing him as a recognized authority on immigrant integration and adaptation. His personal and professional experiences with immigration have made him an expert on the practical aspects of successfully moving to and settling in Canada.
Read more about Hugo O'Doherty
Citation "Canada Revamps Business Immigration, Citing Backlogs and Lengthy Processing Times." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation


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