Talents from around the World Abandoning the US for Canada, Thanks to its Startup Visa Program

The United States has long been known as the land of opportunity, but for many foreign workers, the cumbersome process of obtaining a work visa has made Canada a more attractive destination. Highly skilled tech workers are increasingly turning to Canada, where they can apply for permanent residency and are free to change jobs, according to a report by Insider, a financial and business news website.

One of the main issues for foreign-trained tech workers in the U.S. is the H1-B visa, which is capped at 85,000 visas for most occupations and turns away almost as many applicants as it accepts annually. The application process for the H1-B visa is lengthy, requiring multiple applications and extensive documentation, including proof that the foreign worker will be paid the same as an American worker. Given the limits for each country, the process can be even longer for immigrants from India and China.

In contrast, Canada requires only a three-year permanent-residency period before applicants can apply for citizenship, which is much faster than the decade-long process in the U.S. Canada’s Start-up Visa (SUV) Program allows foreign entrepreneurs to launch innovative businesses in Canada. According to data from the Canadian government, the number of SUV applications has tripled since 2019, with the most significant growth coming from countries such as Vietnam, Hong Kong, and China. Vietnamese applicants accounted for 36% of all SUV applications, followed by Hong Kong with 34% and China with 24%.


Business incubators received the most SUV applications among the designated organizations, followed by angel investors in steep growth. For the last seven years, over 70% of SUV applicants preferred business incubators the most, although we have witnessed substantial growth in the angel investor and venture capital fund applicants in recent years.

Canada’s tech industry is also benefiting from this surge in interest, with Vancouver emerging as the hottest tech market in North America in terms of high-tech job growth, jumping by 44% in the past two years. Toronto followed with a growth of 37%. With the Global Talent Stream, the International Mobility Program, and the Start-up Visa Program in place, Canada’s tech industry is well-positioned to continue attracting highly skilled workers and innovative entrepreneurs from around the world.

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