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IRCC Reduces Application Limits for SUV, Self-Employed Persons Programs

– Business Immigration | Start-Up Visa (SUV) Program | Self-Employed Person Program | Industry Insights

*We will update this post as new details become available. There are questions regarding the status of current applicants that have yet to be answered with the information provided so far. 

Immigration Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada’s federal immigration authority, has made an important announcement regarding both the Start-Up Visa (SUV) and Self-Employed Persons programs

On April 29, 2024, IRCC made significant changes aimed, they say, at reducing the significant backlog of applications that the programs are dealing with. The changes are expected to result in large decreases in the number of foreign entrepreneurs applying to enter Canada.

Changes to the SUV Program

For the SUV program, the changes mean that each participating designation organization will be able to sponsor no more than 10 startups per year. There are presently eighty-two designated organizations (the list includes business incubators, venture capital funds, and angel investors that approve and mentor SUV candidates), so the total under the new regulations will be about 820 annually if the number of designated organizations remains constant. Each startup project can have up to 5 applicants, making a total of 4,100 applicants in a year.

Under the new rules, priority will also be given to startups supported by Canadian capital or by a business incubator that belongs to Canada’s Tech Network.

Changes to the Self-Employed Person Program

Regarding the Self-Employed Person program, all new applications have been suspended until the end of 2026. Designed for individuals judged to add exceptional cultural or business value to Canadian society, processing times for the Self-Employed Person program are currently in excess of four years. The suspension of new applications is supposed to facilitate the clearing of this backlog and allow for consideration of needed reforms.

Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, explained the motivation behind the changes.

Fast processing is critical to the success of entrepreneurs who come to Canada through our federal business programs,” he said. “These necessary changes will set the Start­up Visa Program and Self-Employed Persons Program on the path to faster processing times while we look ahead to further reforms to make these programs more sustainable and effective over the long term.

Other Canadian Business Immigration Programs

Despite the changes made in the SUV and Self-Employed programs, other programs remain unchanged and available for those wishing to live and work in Canada:

  • Owner/Operator LMIA program. A popular path for foreign entrepreneurs to get permanent residence in Canada. It is based on having a controlling interest in a business. There is no minimum net worth requirement or obligatory investment in a government-designated investment fund. LMIA allows successful applicants to apply for a work permit for other employment and can award points for applications seeking permanent residency.  
  • Intra-Company Transfer work permits, or ICTs. Used to temporarily transfer executives, managers, and skilled employees to work in their Canadian operations. The program can also be used to temporarily transfer employees to start a branch or affiliate in Canada. The purpose of the temporary move to Canada must be to undertake continued employment in the Canadian subsidiary in order to guide the company to success in the Canadian market. 

Trade Agreements Programs. This includes access to the Canadian market under the details of various international trade agreements, including NAFTA, that allow foreign nationals to live and work in Canada.


If you are considering pursuing an option for business immigration to Canada for yourself or a client, Joorney is here to help. With over 25,000 professional business plans delivered to entrepreneurs around the world, Joorney has the experience and expertise to provide you with the comprehensive business plan you need to support your ambitions. Contact us to learn more about our full range of immigration business plan services or to put you in touch with an immigration professional from our extended partner network.

Joorney Business Plans is not a law firm nor an immigration consulting firm, and no information provided in this document should be considered as legal advice or recommendation regarding any immigration application program. All information provided in this document should be verified by a licensed or certified immigration professional before the reader can act on this information. As such, it is understood that Joorney Business Plans Inc. shall not be liable for any loss or damage of whatever nature (direct, indirect, consequential, or other), whether arising in contract, tort, or otherwise, which may arise as a result of your use of (or inability to use) this document, or from your use of (or failure to use) the information on this document.

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