IRCC Announces Temporary Pause on Self-Employed Persons and Start-Up Visa Programs

By Vijay Lala


Ottawa — Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced a temporary halt to the Self-Employed Persons Program and the Start-Up Visa Program, a decision aimed at tackling the significant backlog and improving processing times within the system. This pause, effective April 30, 2024, will remain in place through the end of year 2026 while the department reviews and potentially reforms the program to better meet the evolving needs of the Canadian economy.

These programs have been gateways for entrepreneurs and individuals skilled in culture or sports to obtain permanent residency in Canada.

As part of the update to the Start-Up Visa Program, IRCC is introducing measures to streamline the process and prioritize high-potential businesses. Each designated venture capital firm, angel investor group, and business incubator will now be limited to supporting permanent residence applications for a maximum of ten start-ups annually. Furthermore, priority processing will be extended to entrepreneurs backed by Canadian capital or those affiliated with a business incubator that is a member of Canada’s Tech Network. This includes both existing applications and new submissions.

The Self-Employed Persons Program, traditionally a pathway for individuals skilled in cultural or athletic pursuits to gain permanent residency in Canada, will undergo a strategic evaluation to enhance its effectiveness and efficiency.

“Fast processing is critical to the success of entrepreneurs who come to Canada through our federal business programs. These necessary changes will set the Start­up Visa Program and Self-Employed Persons Program on the path to faster processing times while we look ahead to further reforms to make these programs more sustainable and effective over the long term.” explained Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

During this suspension, IRCC will continue finalizing existing applications and encourages new potential applicants to explore other immigration avenues, such as the Express Entry system or the Provincial Nominee Programs, which continue to operate and accept new applications.

For further details on these changes and updates, subscribe to our newsletter and visit IRCC’s official announcement on their website: Read the full press release.

By Vijay Lala

Vijay Lala is the founder and editor-in-chief of Dual master's degrees in Political Science and Economics, along with a decade of Canadian immigration research experience, have equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of immigration law, policy research, and settlement issues. Linkedin  Twitter

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