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Start-Up Visa Caps for Designated Organizations

As of April 30, Canada has imposed a cap on the number of permanent residence applications associated with the Start-Up Visa program. This cap restricts applications to ten startups per designated organization annually. Designated organizations include venture capital firms, angel investors and business incubators. This decision, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), aims to address the existing backlog and expedite application processing.

The program now limits permanent residency applications to ten startups per designated organization, totaling around 820 applications annually across eighty-two entities, such as venture capital funds, angel investors, and incubators. Revised regulations prioritize startups supported by Canadian capital or affiliated with Canada’s Tech Network, thereby fostering local entrepreneurship.

While the program offers a direct pathway to permanent residence without personal investment or net worth requirements, applicants must demonstrate financial stability upon arrival. Support from designated partners, like venture capital funds or business incubators, remains crucial. Despite these new limitations, the Start-Up Visa program has played a vital role in stimulating economic growth in Canada. Entrepreneurs who obtain a Start-Up Visa can launch their businesses in Canada with a temporary work permit while concurrently applying for permanent residency.

The main concern prompting these adjustments is the quality of applications previously submitted under the program.  The volume of applications resulted in a significant backlog. The absence of quotas allowed designated organizations to accept projects liberally, sometimes those that did not adequately meet eligibility criteria. The new cap of ten projects per designated organization per year is expected to improve the quality of the submitted projects and the scrutiny they undergo. This more stringent selection process aims to benefit all parties involved: the organizations, IRCC, and eligible applicants. However, it does restrict access to the program for many applicants.