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Canada Extends Startup Visa Program

Canada Extends Startup Visa Program

Canada Extends Startup Visa Program

July 24, 2023

Canada’s Startup Visa (SUV) program is set to get a big boost with the recent announcements made by Sean Fraser, immigration minister. As per these announcements, applicants under the SUV program will be able to apply for a work permit that is up to three years in duration instead of just one year. Further, they will be eligible for an ‘open’ work permit instead of one that limits them to working for their own startup, and lastly, the three-year open work permit will be available to each member of the entrepreneurial team. Given this, interest among Indian aspirants is on the rise.

The SUV program offers a clear path to permanent residence and does not require the entrepreneurial applicants to invest any of their funds or have a minimum net worth, but they need to show adequate funds to support themselves and their family on arrival in Canada. Support from one or more of the designated partners, viz: venture capital funds (VCF), angel investor groups (who need to invest at least Canadian $200,000 and $75,000 respectively), or acceptance into a program by a business incubator is a must.

To be eligible for the SUV program, aspiring entrepreneurs must meet specific criteria:


1. Qualifying Business:

Applicants must have a business that is innovative, scalable, and can compete globally. The business must be incorporated in Canada or plan to do so upon receiving the visa.

2. Support from Designated Organizations:

Entrepreneurs need the support of one or more designated organizations in Canada. These include venture capital funds (VCFs) that must invest at least CAD 200,000, angel investor groups that must invest at least CAD 75,000, or acceptance into a designated business incubator program.

3. Language Proficiency:

Applicants must demonstrate sufficient language proficiency in English or French by taking a designated language test.

4. Sufficient Settlement Funds:

Entrepreneurs need to provide proof of sufficient funds to support themselves and their family members after arriving in Canada.

5. Education and Experience:

While there are no specific educational requirements, having relevant business experience and a successful entrepreneurial background can enhance an applicant’s profile.

The application process for the SUV program involves several stages:


1. Letter of Support:

To begin the process, entrepreneurs must secure a commitment from a designated organization in Canada. This can be a letter of support from a VCF, angel investor group, or a business incubator.

2. Prepare Application Documents:

Applicants need to gather and submit various documents, including business plans, financial statements, and language test results.

3. Online Application:

Entrepreneurs must create an online profile through the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and submit their complete application.

4. Admissibility Screening:

All applicants are subject to medical and security checks to ensure they meet Canada’s admissibility criteria.

5. Application Decision:

Once the application is reviewed, a decision will be made by the IRCC. If approved, the entrepreneur will receive a letter of introduction.

6. Work Permit Application:

With the letter of introduction, the entrepreneur can apply for a work permit to start their business in Canada.

7. Arrival in Canada:

Upon receiving the work permit, entrepreneurs and their families can relocate to Canada to begin building their startup.

“By providing a streamlined pathway to obtain a work permit and ultimately permanent residency, the SUV program enables entrepreneurs to access the North American market. Even if the startup were to fail, the entrepreneur still gets permanent residence,” states Vikram Khurana, Chair of Toronto Business Development Centre, a designated business incubator, and accelerator for this program.

Mana Hosseini, General Partner, and Co-Founder at Apex Innovative Investment Ventures, a designated VCF, told TOI, “The announcement of allowing applicants to apply for a work permit that is up to three years in duration will provide a longer-term perspective to entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses in Canada. Additionally, offering an open work permit instead of one limited to working for their own startup is a significant advantage – it provides the flexibility to explore multiple opportunities, collaborate with other businesses, and gain broader exposure to the Canadian market.”

Hosseini points out that the three-year open work permit has been extended to each member of the entrepreneurial team – this step is attuned to the collaborative nature of entrepreneurship.

Khurana sums up by saying that the SUV program regulations are flexible by design to enable genuine entrepreneurs to manage the business risks of their startups without worrying about immigration outcomes. However, it should not be viewed as a passive investment program.

Changes to the temporary work permit option for Start-up Visa Program applicants, as well as the new application prioritization plan, will be in place later this year. At present, the entire process of applying for permanent residence under the SUV program takes 30-35 odd months.

Canada’s Startup Visa program plays a crucial role in attracting talent and fostering innovation in the country. The changes to the temporary work permit option and the new application prioritization plan aim to make the process even smoother and quicker for applicants. ASI Immigration can help entrepreneurs understand the SUV program requirements, guide them through the application process, and provide valuable support throughout their journey to establishing a successful business in Canada.

ASI Immigration is here to help

ASI Immigration is a trusted partner for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to venture into Canada’s Startup Visa (SUV) program. With a dedicated team of experts, we offer personalized guidance and support, ensuring applicants meet all the eligibility criteria and successfully navigate the application process. From understanding partnership requirements with venture capital funds, angel investor groups, or business incubators to providing insights into the latest updates and changes in the SUV program, we are committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams of establishing and growing their businesses in Canada.


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