Breaking! Canada Halts Self-employed Persons and Puts Cap on SUV

On April 29, 2024, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a significant notice directly impacting two Canadian immigration pathways: the Canadian Self-Employed Immigration and the Canadian Start-Up Visa Immigration.




Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), announced an increase in the threshold for the Start-Up Visa (SUV) program effective April 30th:

●Each designated government entity will be restricted to issuing 10 endorsement letters. Currently, there are a total of 83 designated government entities, resulting in a global quota reduction to 830 slots annually.

●Priority will be given to applications from entrepreneurs supported by Canadian venture capital or incubators endorsed by the Canadian Technology Accelerator Network.


In addition, Minister Miller announced a complete halt to applications for the Self-Employed Immigration program. The Canadian Self-Employed program is an immigration pathway that does not require entrepreneurship, investment, or mandatory language scores. It primarily grants permanent residency to individuals with outstanding expertise in fields such as culture, arts, entertainment, and sports.


Due to a large volume of applications, processing times have extended to over 4 years. Therefore, the IRCC has decided to suspend the acceptance of new applications to streamline the processing of the existing backlog more efficiently.


This does not signify Canada’s refusal of foreign immigrants. The IRCC stated that the primary aim of these measures is to reduce waiting times for applicants in immigration channels. Immigration plays an irreplaceable role in Canada’s economic and social development. During the period of suspension, the IRCC will also modernize its services and programs.


In Canada’s immigration plan for 2024-2026, the projected number of immigrants through the mentioned pathways, namely the Federal Business Category, is expected to be 17,000 over the next three years. This is crucially positive news for applicants who have already submitted their documents. It means that the processing of existing applications for the Start-Up Visa and Self-Employed Immigration will accelerate.



However, in response, individuals planning to immigrate to Canada through self-employment may shift towards other application pathways.


Additionally, on March 14, 2024, the Saskatchewan Entrepreneur Immigration Program also announced policy changes. These include raising the language requirement to CLB 5 or above and extending the business operation requirement from 6 to at least 12 months. Applicants and their families must reside within 50 kilometers of the business location, and interviews are now mandatory without the option for translation assistance.


The alterations in multiple Canadian immigration policies might lead to an influx of applicants into the Start-Up Visa pathway. With the current quota restrictions in place, there is a significant possibility that the allocation for the Start-Up Visa will deplete rapidly if applications are not initiated promptly.


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