Comparing Approval Rates, Start-up Visa Emerging as Top Path for Startup Entrepreneurs

For immigrant entrepreneurs, Canada’s Start-up Visa (SUV) is rising as a premier route with high approval odds versus other economic programs like Express Entry.

In 2021, over 184,000 ITAs were issued, resulting in the permanent residence of over 108,000 individuals primarily through the Federal Skilled Worker Program and Federal Skilled Trades Program, which saw approval rates of 60% and 65% respectively.

Recent IRCC data shows the SUV had an 80% approval rate from 2016-2022, outpacing Express Entry streams such as Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades Program. Especially, Angel Investor Groups consistently achieved high approval rates, achieving 89% on average across the years. Business Incubators also displayed commendable approval rates, ranging from 69% to 90%. However, due to limited data availability, it is challenging to draw firm conclusions about the approval rates of Venture Capital Funds.

The SUV’s higher approval potential stems from the program requiring a supporting commitment from designated partners like business incubators, venture capital funds, or angel investor groups. This backing from established organizations results in greater success rates for permanent residence applications compared to Express Entry draws which assess candidates solely on human capital factors like education, work experience, and easy-reach language ability.

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, has announced several improvements to the Start-up Visa (SUV) Program as part of the country’s first-ever Tech Talent Strategy at Collision 2023.

As per IRCC’s new Tech Talent Strategy, the SUV program will be further enhanced through key improvements:

  • 3-Year Open Work Permits: Allows flexibility to work for any employer, rather than just the applicant’s startup. This helps founders earn supplemental income while establishing their business.
  • Increased Annual Quotas: The allocation of spots was recently tripled from 1,000 to 3,500 which will shorten processing times that had stretched to over 2 years in some cases.
  • Prioritized Applications: Entrepreneurs backed by strong funding commitments from VC funds, angels, or business incubators with committed capital, will benefit from faster processing predictably in less than 12 months versus the nearly 12-month average for Express Entry currently.

These changes will make the SUV program even more appealing and significantly boost approval potential for deserving immigrant founders. The combination of high success rates, improved work rights and accelerated processing creates ideal conditions for creative entrepreneurs looking to scale global ventures.

For immigrant business owners, the Start-up Visa now represents the most promising avenue in Canada’s economic class programs. With data-driven enhancements directly addressing past friction points, the revamped SUV offers an optimal path to permanent residence in Canada’s thriving startup ecosystem.

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