New trends with the Start-Up Visa Program – Canada
Launched in 2018, the Start-Up Visa Program is no longer a secret for Entrepreneurs seeking to apply through this visa stream which leads straight to Permanent Residence in Canada. Whereas application processing times was merely a few months after the program was first launched, time expected to get permanent residence have increased since then. But the good news for genuine investors is that time frames could be soon reduced significantly due to upcoming measures from Immigration Canada. In this article, we will update you on current status of the SUV Program, recent trends, and what can be expected for the near future of the SUV program.
Strong political support for SUV
Can such a message from the Immigration Minister be any clearer: “Coming out of the pandemic, the clear message we are sending with the Start-Up Visa program is that Canada is open for business.”
As we had seen with former programs such as the Federal Immigrant Investor Program (FIIP) or the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), if there is no political support for a program, politicians first criticize the program openly in the media, then introduce measures to limit the intake of new application, then the program is simply shut down. In the case of the SUV Program, we don’t see any of those signs: there is strong political backing, and we can assume that this is a program here to stay for a long period of time. Most importantly for any applicant, it is important to note that there is an expressed will to address the booming popularity of the program and its impact on the immigration backlog.
Processing times to be reduced by creation of separate queues
As of September 1st 2022, Permanent Residence (PR) applications are still processed on a first-in-first-out basis. However, since the beginning of the year, Immigration Canada is working on the project to create separate queues in order to prioritize genuine Start-up projects. This summer, a legal opinion supporting the ability of the Canadian government to be legally able to prioritize projects based on committed working capital has been submitted and received by IRCC. Feedback is that committed capital together with some potential other project criteria are likely to be used to implement a strategy towards priority processing on specific projects that should put us in a favorable position given the structure we have been using at JTH Lawyers.
Can I get it cheaper?
It is normal for anyone to look for the best price. When one shops around for a commodity, price is likely to be the main criteria. But when it comes to services, should price be the main criteria? No: when you are looking for a Doctor for your child`s operation, you want a Doctor with experience, with compassion to take the time to understand what is the best possible treatment, and to act accordingly. When you want to immigrate to a new country, especially when you want to give your children a better future, just like for a Doctor you need to hire the best possible service provider: an experienced lawyer who will take the necessary time to evaluate your best options, and offer the best tailor-made solution for you and your family. For the Start-up Visa Program, your cheapest option would be the Incubator stream, for the main reason that no investment requirement exists. However, is this cheaper option your best option?
Incubator stream is the worst SUV stream
There are about 30 Incubators in Canada that are designated organizations allowed to issue Letters Of Support (LOS) to Start-up companies, allowing investors of those start-ups to apply for Permanent Residence (PR) under the Start-Up Visa (SUV) Program. These Incubators would typically charge a fee to render services, but they would typically not invest any money in the Start-up they support. Since the Incubator is not investing any money in the Start-up company, the investors are therefore not required either to invest any money in their Start-Up. For SUV applicants, this is therefore the cheapest alternatives because the investment requirement is $0. And unfortunately for applicants under the Incubator stream, a number of consulting companies would offer cheap business plans tailormade for the SUV application process, acceptable by many of the 30 Incubators. It results in a very high number of “unqualified applicants” being able to afford easily the cost of a LOS, and thus submitting their PR application under the incubator stream. If this is obvious to immigration lawyers like me, rest assured it is obvious to Immigration Canada as well: in conclusion, the integrity of the Incubator stream is greatly affected. According to recent data obtained by Immigration Canada, about 75% of SUV applicants chose this stream. The historical success rate has been about 70% according to the latest data, but Immigration Canada’s control measures are getting tighter and tighter, and we should expect a significant drop in the acceptance rate, as well as an increase in processing times because of the verification measures now in place.
Angel stream and VC stream are SUV best options
There are about 9 Canadian Angel Funds (AF) and 22 Venture Capital (VC) Funds in Canada that are designated organizations allowed to issue Letters Of Support (LOS) to Start-up companies, allowing investors of those start-ups to apply for Permanent Residence (PR) under the Start-Up Visa (SUV) Program. These designated organizations have the obligation of investing capital, with the collateral impact that they typically also require investments from the investors. These Start-up companies are typically capitalized with at least CAD200,000, in great contrast with the capital of $0 for the incubator stream companies. As we can certainly understand, Canada is working on a plan to prioritize these Start-Up companies supported by AF and VC as those start-ups have a tangible impact on Canada’s economy & job creation, creating wealth for Canada.
With the Angel Fund we work with at JTH Lawyers, 39 PR visas have been issued under the SUV program coming from applications that were submitted in 2019 and 2020 with a 100% success rate, and not a single peer review. From the 46 work permits applications submitted, 15 have been issued to date in a timing range of 3 to 12 months. We continue to see significant activity in terms of IRCC (Immigration Canada) update request letters for files submitted approximately 20 to 24 months ago. Specifically medical request / pending for COPR for files submitted in Feb/March 2020. Priority should be IRCC is committed to implement a strategy towards priority processing on specific projects that should put us in a favorable position given the structure we have been using to capitalize genuine Start-Up companies with genuine cash.
For more information about the Start-Up Visa Program or other immigration programs, please contact us at email@example.com | Tel: +1(514) 397-0995 | WhatsApp: +1(514) 647-0795.
 June 3, 2021 tweet from then Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino
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The Canadian law firm specialized in business immigration by investment