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Canada’s Immigration Landscape: Policy Shifts and Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

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On April 30, 2024, the Canadian government once again took a tough stance on immigration policies. It announced two immediately effective new policies, dealing a heavy blow to numerous immigration applicants.

 

1.The Canada Startup Visa (SUV) immigration policy, effective immediately, limits the number of applications from each government-designated institution for technology startups to 10. With currently 83 designated institutions, this means the global quota will shrink to 830 per year. The quota has been drastically reduced.

 

2.To address the backlog of applications already submitted in the system, the Canada Federal Self-employed Persons program officially ceased accepting new applications starting today, until the end of 2026.

 

In recent days, the Canadian Immigration Department has been actively making adjustments to various immigration policies, indicating the Canadian government’s stance on future immigration policies.

 

January

– Quebec announced new investment policies, changing the previous direct pathway to obtaining a Maple Leaf Card for investor immigrants to first applying for a work visa, residing, and achieving a French language score of 7 before applying for permanent residency.

– IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) announced a reduction in the quota for international students. The number of student visas issued in 2024 decreased to 360,000, a 35% reduction from 2023. Graduation work permits for international students and spousal work permits have also been significantly tightened.

 

February

– The post-graduation work permit policy has been tightened, with 80% of graduate international students in British Columbia losing eligibility to apply for post-graduation work permits.

– The Alberta Provincial Immigration Office announced the suspension of the Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS) applications, including the employer-sponsored program. Even if applications are later resumed, there is a high possibility of increased scoring requirements.

 

March

– The policy for spouses’ work permits for international students has been tightened, with spouses of diploma and most undergraduate students losing eligibility to apply for spousal work permits.

– British Columbia’s study-to-immigrate policy has been tightened, starting in January 2025. In addition to requiring at least one year of full-time job offer, it also increases the language requirement to CLB8 (Canadian Language Benchmark).

– Significant changes have occurred in Saskatchewan Entrepreneur Immigration program, with the new policy increasing the requirement for IELTS score to 5 points and doubling the entrepreneurial time.

 

Of course, in addition to these somewhat unfriendly policy changes, there is also some good news. On February 16, 2024, the Canadian Federal Immigration Office announced that the work permit support letters issued by provincial immigration offices for entrepreneur immigration program applicants will be directly considered as strong evidence of the feasibility of their business plans. This means that after obtaining provincial work permit support letters, the success rate of work permit applications for entrepreneur applicants will be higher.

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After the announcement of this policy, Globevisa immediately received four approval letters for entrepreneur work permits, indicating that this policy is not just empty talk; the federal government indeed has a concrete bias towards entrepreneur immigration.

 

 

And looking across Canada, Alberta Rural Etrepreneur Immigration program stands out in various aspects, boasting its own advantages:

1.Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Immigration program was launched in April 2022 as a provincial nominee immigration project. In April 2023, the Alberta government reduced the minimum investment amount for entrepreneur immigration from CAD 200,000 to CAD 100,000, officially becoming the provincial nominee entrepreneur immigration project with the lowest investment threshold. Obtaining a Maple Leaf Card for the entire family with the lowest investment amount.

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2.Unlike other entrepreneur immigration programs, Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Immigration program is currently in its early stages, with fewer applicants. There is no need for EOI (Expression of Interest) selection based on scores; as long as applicants meet the minimum eligibility criteria, they can receive an invitation to apply. This means that currently, meeting the four minimum application criteria and submitting an EOI can result in being selected (being selected through EOI locks in immigration policy and is not affected by any policy changes). The four minimum application criteria are as follows:

 

(1) Family net assets of CAD 300,000.

(2) High school diploma or higher education.

(3) Language proficiency of CLB 4, although there is a language requirement, achieving a score of 4 is considered basic proficiency.

(4)Holding shares for three years in the past ten years or having four years of executive experience. Executives only need to provide company documents such as work certificates and organizational charts to prove their experience; there is no need to provide social security and personal income tax documents.

 

3.Since the launch of Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Immigration program in 2022, Globevisa has been assisting clients with this program. We regularly communicate with the government, establishing a good relationship. The government has allocated us some expedited processing quotas, saving time and costs for our clients. Additionally, we have established a green channel for our clients to obtain support letters without interviews, enabling them to quickly lock in immigration policies.

 

Given the frequent changes in policies, our strategy is to seize the current favorable policies, submit applications promptly, and lock in the policies.

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