Needed Change for the Canada Start-up Visa Program

The new reality of the Canada Start-up Visa (SUV) Program has begun as the Canadian Government has limited the number of permanent residence applications.

Lion's Gate Bridge of Vancouver with a Canada Flag hanging from the bridge.

The new reality of the Canada Start-up Visa (SUV) Program has begun. In an effort to encourage business incubators, venture capital firms and angel investors to focus on the most promising start-up proposals, the Canadian Government has limited the number of permanent residence applications it will accept for processing each year to those associated with 10 start-ups per designated organization. Effectively, this drastically reduces the number of entrepreneurs who can attempt to immigrate to Canada through the SUV program each year, though the measures are also aimed at reducing the sizable backlog of pending applications that currently exists. The change is also intended to result in much faster processing times for new applicants.  

While many within the industry have bristled at the significant limits imposed on the program, Empowered Startups’ President, Chris Lennon, says that Canada’s most successful business incubator supports the alterations.   

“We believe these changes are a clear and decisive step in the right direction to reset the SUV program and set it on a course to return to its former prominence as one of the world leading business immigration programs for aspiring, accomplished, and well-funded transnational investor entrepreneurs,” stated Lennon following the announcement by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).  

Start-up Visa Changes Expected 

Lennon revealed that Empowered Startups has been anticipating changes to the Canada SUV Program for quite some time. In fact, during his appearance on the IMI Podcast “The Mobility Standard back in January, Lennon said that he believed the SUV Program “was headed for a bit of a revamp” given that the program was ten years old and had attracted some bad actors, who were comprising the integrity of the program.  

“I think there’s an understanding or a recognition that over the last couple years, everybody has jumped into the Startup Visa program. There’s a whole, seems like, developing industry of people that are not designated entities, are not immigration lawyers, but play some role in sort of assisting people to get into the program. The Startup Visa program is further along the spectrum of requiring active involvement. So you can certainly build a team. In fact, you can even bring a team of up to five. But, yeah, it’s not designed to be a completely hands-off investor that has no involvement in the mind or management of the new business. And I think that there is some of that going on, not through us, but there seems to be some attempts to fit those types of individuals into the program,” explained Lennon to host Christian Henrik Nesheim.  

Chris Lennon

Priority Processing with Empowered 

While the annual cap imposed on start-up applications received the most attention, the topic of priority processing was also addressed in the announcement by Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Entrepreneurs invited to incubate with Empowered Startups are among those who receive priority processing of their applications for permanent residency in Canada, by virtue of Empowered’s membership in Canada’s Tech Network. This priority processing applies to existing applications under the SUV program in addition to any new applications that will be filed under the new parameters unveiled by IRCC.  

“Fast processing is critical to the success of entrepreneurs who come to Canada through our federal business programs. 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.” 

– The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship 

Most Successful Start-up Visa Program 

As one of the earliest business incubators in the Canada SUV Program, Empowered Startups has long set the standard for excellence in terms of quality and quantity of entrepreneurs it serves. Recognized for its innovative incubation model and award-winning online platform, Empowered has the solutions for entrepreneurs looking to immigrate to Canada, USA, or Europe. To find out more about Empowered Startups unparalleled programs, visit