Credit: Colin Singer
Canada immigration news: The popularity of Canada’s Start-Up Visa (SUV) program is growing with ever-higher numbers of immigrants seeking to set up businesses and become new permanent residents through it.
In the first six months of this year, 325 new permanent residents settled in Canada under this program, putting the country on track to welcome 650 immigrant entrepreneurs under the program by the end of this year.
That would be the highest number of new permanent residents under the SUV program since it was first launched as a five-year pilot program back in 2013.
If the current trend holds up for the rest of the year, the result would be an increase of 68.8 per cent over the 385 new permanent residents to Canada under the program last year.
The SUV program’s ability to draw immigrant entrepreneurs to Canada this year would also be a 150 per cent spike in new permanent residents under the program over its performance in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 border closures and travel restrictions.
The last two years have been tough for international travel and business.
But this year’s projected performance of the SUV program in terms of attracting immigrant entrepreneurs to Canada is higher even than the results of the program back in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic.
In 2019, the SUV allowed 515 immigrant entrepreneurs to become permanent residents of Canada.
This year, the program is projected to allow 26.2 per cent more foreign nationals to gain their permanent residency in Canada through entrepreneurship than it did in 2019.
The SUV program’s popularity has demonstrably grown even in just the last six months.
In January, 35,430 new permanent residents settled in Canada under the program. That grew to 37,355 in February and again to 40,970 in March.
June Saw Bump Up In New Permanent Residents Coming Under SUV Program
In April and May, the number of new permanent residents to Canada under the SUV dipped somewhat during the sixth wave of the pandemic but then rebounded in June as COVID-19 case counts dipped.
That month, the SUV program allowed 43,705 immigrant entrepreneurs to gain their permanent residency in Canada, 8,275 more new permanent residents, or almost 23.4 per cent more, than in January.
In the five years that ended in 2019, program which offers permanent residence to foreign nationals setting up businesses in Canada went from welcoming 55 new permanent residents in 2015 through to more than nine times as many in 2019.
As the COVID-19 global pandemic hit Canada in 2020, Ottawa and the provinces put in place strict public health measures, including border closures for a limited time, and immigration plummeted.
After welcoming 341,175 new permanent residents to Canada in 2019, immigration fell by 45.9 per cent, to only 184,585 new permanent residents in 2020.
The number of foreign nationals able to come to Canada under the SUV and set up business took a similar hit that year, dropping 49.5 per cent.
Canada Set Record For Immigration Last Year And Set To Bust That Record Again This Year
Last year, though, as the border re-opened and public health restrictions gradually eased, a record-breaking 406,005 new permanent residents made Canada their home.
Under its Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024, Ottawa plans to welcome 431,645 permanent residents this year, 447,055 next year, and 451,000 in 2024.
The latest Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data show the trend started in the first half of this year could, if continued throughout the rest of 2022, result in 463,250 new permanent residents to Canada this year, a new record.
Candidates applying under the Start-Up Visa program can initially come to Canada on a work permit supported by their designated Canadian investor before their application for permanent residence is finalized.
Under the SUV, three types of private-sector investors are considered: angel investors, venture capital funds, and business incubators.
A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totalling $200,000.
A designated angel investor group must invest at least $75,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more investments from angel investor groups totalling $75,000.
A designated business incubator must accept the applicant into its business incubator program. It is up to the immigrant investor to develop a viable business plan that will meet the due diligence requirements of these government-approved designated entities.
Investing and the development of the business is usually done with the help of business consultants in Canada’s start-up ecosystem with oversight from experienced corporate business immigration lawyers who can ensure a start-up’s business concept meets all industry-required terms and conditions.
The basic government-imposed candidate eligibility requirements for the SUV are:
a qualifying business;
a commitment certificate and letter of support from a designated entity;
sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds to meet settlement funding, and;
proficiency in English or French at the minimum Canadian Language Benchmark level 5. However, it frequently occurs that higher levels of English are needed to meet due diligence requirements imposed by designated entities.