On August 30, 2023, we hosted a webinar to discuss the recent changes in Canada’s Start-up Visa (SUV) Program. Our guest speaker, Zeynab Ziaie, an immigration lawyer and Partner at Visa Law Group specializing in start-up visas, shared valuable insights for immigration professionals and aspiring applicants. In this blog, we’ll summarize the key points discussed during the webinar, and you can also rewatch the entire webinar.
Overview of the Start-Up Visa Program
The SUV Program aims to attract innovative entrepreneurs to Canada. To be eligible, applicants must obtain a commitment certificate from a designated organization supporting their business idea. This allows them to apply for permanent residency and a work permit, enabling them to come to Canada and launch their start-up.
In recent years, the program has experienced significant increases in application processing times, often ranging from 2 to 3 years. Consequently, modifications to the program have been made.
Key Updates Announced in May 2023
In May 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced changes regarding work permits (WP) in the SUV program. Zeynab explained during the webinar that these changes indicate that IRCC wants more upfront evidence that applicants are serious and able to successfully launch their start-ups in Canada. Zeynab outlined the changes as follows:
- WP applications can only be submitted after permanent residency applications.
- The commitment certificate must be valid at the time the WP application is submitted.
- Proof of sufficient investment funds to start the business in Canada.
- Demonstrate urgent reasons for applying for a WP.
- Applicants must provide proof of education, work experience, and language exam results.
Announcements from the Minister in June 2023
In June, the Minister of Immigration also announced some key changes to the SUV program:
- The IRCC will increase the visa quota over the next 2 years.
- 3-year open work permits will be introduced. Zeynab cautions that applicants must still prioritize their start-ups after receiving their work permits.
- Applications supported by certain incubators and investors will be prioritized. According to Zeynab, how this will work is still being determined, and more information is needed to understand this change fully.
Zeynab stressed in the webinar that these announcements are less detailed than the changes in May and that we’ll need to wait for new announcements that give us more information.
Zeynab’s Advice for Applicants
The key takeaways of Zeynab’s advice are to meticulously document start-up activities and to be prepared to comprehensively demonstrate commitment and ability to launch a business in Canada:
- Update information and the business plan even before receiving a procedural fairness letter.
- Thoroughly respond to procedural fairness letters. Provide evidence that addresses the concerns of IRCC.
- Implement the start-up business plan carefully right from day 1 after receiving the commitment certificate and document all progress.
The Importance of Showing Significant Benefit
Now, applicants must show their ability and commitment to start a business in Canada even more and, on top of that, show how Canada will significantly benefit from the start-up. This could be job creation, product or service innovation, boost to remote economies or training opportunities for Canadians.
Zeynab recommended to include the following documents to show the significant benefit of the start-up:
- A well-crafted business plan
- A detailed staffing plan
- Proof of exploratory research
- A Resume
- Documents showing transferable skills
We thank Zeynab for sharing her valuable insights and taking the time to join our webinar. You can watch the complete webinar on our YouTube channel or right here on this page.
Disclaimer: Joorney Business Plans Canada is not an immigration consultant, lawyer, or advisor and cannot be held responsible for damages incurred from the use of this information. If you require more information about a program, please contact a registered immigration professional.