Entrepreneurs are setting up businesses in Canada through the Start-Up Visa (SUV) program at almost three times the rate they did last year, reveals the latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In the first eight months of this year, 420 new permanent residents came to Canada under the SUV.
That’s up 189.6 per cent from the 145 new permanent residents in the first eight months of last year under the program which allows foreign nationals to gain permanent residency in Canada by embracing entrepreneurship.
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Although overall immigration to Canada set a record last year with 406,030 new permanent residents, arrivals under the SUV were sluggish last year.
But this year’s performance isn’t just a rebound on an abnormally-low level of arrivals in 2021.
SUV Up 13.5% From Pre-Pandemic Levels
In the eight months ending in August, Canada welcomed 50 more entrepreneurs, or 13.5 per cent more, through the SUV than it had in 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent public health restrictions which hampered international travel and immigration.
As the coronavirus which causes COVID-19 spread throughout the globe, Canada closed its borders to all but essential travel in 2020 and public health restrictions made international travel very difficult due to COVID-19 tests, quarantines, and the need to wear face masks.
In Canada, many businesses were shut down for part of that year.
Immigration plummeted by 45.9 per cent to only 184,585 new permanent residents in 2020 but with more and more Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19, the border eventually re-opened and public health restrictions were eased last year.
Ottawa also put in place many measures to boost immigration.
The SUV program generates much lower overall numbers of new permanent residents than federal worker programs, such as the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Federal Skilled Trade (FST), the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) or the regional economic development programs including the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) and Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).
Due to these smaller numbers, the monthly fluctuations in the number of new permanent residents under the SUV can seem exaggerated when examined in percentage terms.
SUV Saw 22.2% Bump In August Over July
In August, for example, the number of new permanent residents to Canada under the SUV rose by 22.2 per cent when only 10 more applicants gained their permanent residency.
This year, the program welcomed 55 new permanent residents to Canada in January, 40 in February, 60 on March, 20 in April, 60 in May and hit a high of 70 in June before slumping back to 45 in July.
The SUV program has averaged 52.5 new permanent residents to Canada per month this year, meaning it could welcome 630 new permanent residents to the country this year should the current rate of arrivals continue for the rest of 2022.
That projected number of new permanent residents under the SUV this year would be 63.6 per cent more than 385 last year and 22.3 per cent more than 515 in 2019.
The two provinces getting the biggest benefit from the SUV this year are British Columbia which had already welcomed 190 new permanent residents under the program by the end of August and Ontario which had welcomed 185 new permanent residents through it by that time.
Candidates applying under the SUV program can initially come to Canada on a work permit supported by their designated Canadian investor before their application for permanent residence is finalized.
Business Development And Investing Through The SUV
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.