Statistics on Canada’s Start-up Visa Program (SUV)

Hasan Javaran

The federal Start-Up Visa program is one of Canada’s most attractive pathways for entrepreneurs to start their business in Canada and obtain permanent residency.

As business developers here in Canada, we provide advice and help entrepreneurs develop their business idea to obtain support from the designated entities required by the Canadian government and make sure their new start-up will succeed.

As part of our work, we have always monitored the trends and changes in the programs which our clientele primarily use to start and expand their businesses here in Canada.

In this short article, we would like to provide some statistics regarding the start-up program and offer some best practices based on our experience working with designated institutions and immigration lawyers.

Many changes have been made to the start-up visa program since it started as a pilot program in April 2013. At every stage, an evaluation of the program has been conducted with suggestions for the IRCC to implement, and the program has evolved and matured.

From 2021 to 2023, the government of Canada plans to accept around 500 permanent resident applicants each year for the Start-up Visa and Self-employed programs combined. This information is based on the Immigration Levels Plan report presented to the parliament of Canada in Oct 2020.

Since 2015 to date, close to 1,500 individuals have been approved for Canadian Startup visas. According to the data obtained by WealthTheory, from 2015 to the first quarter of 2021 (excluding Q1 & Q2 of 2020, which no data was available), applicants from Vietnam have been the number one nationality approved under the program.

Highest number of approvals for Start-up Visa according to nationality (2015 – Q1, 2021):

  • 17% – Vietnam
  • 16% – India
  • 15% – China
  • 8% – Iran

Looking at the approval rates per year, we can see that the average approval rate has been close to 80%.

Canada Start-up Visa approval rate by year:

  • 2015 approval rate: 85%
  • 2016 approval rate: 99%
  • 2017 approval rate: 78%
  • 2018 approval rate: 63%
  • 2019 approval rate: 80%
  • 2020 (Jan – Mar) approval rate: 72%

A breakdown of the approval rate for 2019 and the first quarter of 2020 can be seen below:

According to the data WealthTheory has obtained, the majority of applicants for the start-up visa obtain the support of Business Incubators for their ventures. From the approved applications from 2015 to 2020, 82% had obtained a letter of support from a Business Incubator. During this time, the most approved applications based on the support from the designated organization were from:

  • Empowered Startups – 243 applications
  • LaunchPad PEI Inc. – 109 applications
  • Canadian International Angel Investors – 90 Applications
Permanent Residence numbers for Start-up Business Program

As we always mention to our clients, not all letters of support for designated organizations are created equal. Due to the constant monitoring of the designated organizations by the Canadian government, some organizations will fall under scrutiny due to their practices which will affect the clients and applications ongoing with their letter of support.

If IRCC determines that a designated entity does not comply with its obligations, it can suspend or revoke their privilege to participate in the program. Applications supported by that entity will be put on hold or refused, depending on the circumstance. For instance, in December 2020, Impression Ventures and Innovation Platform Capital International LP were removed from the designated organization list. This removal with no doubt negatively affect applications submitted with a letter of approval from those organization.

For this reason, we would suggest that a client work with the best incubators, angel investors and venture capitals to ensure their application will not be negatively impacted by any review process which the designated entity might be undergoing.

Table of COPR issued for SUV program

At WealthTheory, we help develop the business idea and obtain support from the most relevant designated organization based on the nature of each business. We not only focus on business development but also have a solid understanding of the immigration process. We work perfectly with immigration lawyers and consultants to ensure each case is presented with the most robust documentation and support for starting a successful venture and obtaining permanent residency through the Canada start-up program.

4 thoughts on “Statistics on Canada’s Start-up Visa Program (SUV)”

  1. Very informative. We are working on a social media app and plan to relocate to Canada through the SUV program.
    How can you help and what would be the total amount for the whole process?

    • Hello Robinson,

      The best way to discuss how we can help is to first organize a free discovery call where we get to know more about your business idea and the team behind it.

      We also would like to know the developments stage of your business and how far you and your team have conducted your research regarding the market here in Canada.

      Once we have all the information from you, we’ll be able to provide you with a timeline and cost estimation to help you with your Start-up Visa business idea in order to relocate to Canada.

      Please contact us through this email and we’ll set a discovery call with you to help you with your business idea:
      [email protected]

    • Thank you for your interest in our latest report! We’re delighted to inform you that an updated version has already been shared with our current clients and partner organizations. We’re actively working on an in-depth article to accompany this report, which will be available on our website very soon. We anticipate publishing it by the end of the year, and we’re excited to share these valuable insights with our wider audience. Stay tuned for the upcoming release, and we appreciate your continued support.


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