Canadian officials announced initiatives to reduce backlogs and improve processing times, and updated their online tool to help new clients predict how long it will take to process a complete application.

Key Points:

  • Officials announced that they will encourage designated venture capital firms, angel investor groups and business incubators to focus on the most promising proposals to improve the Start-up Visa Program.
    • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will cap the number of permanent residence applications each year to those associated with no more than 10 start-ups per designated organization.
    • IRCC will also provide priority processing for entrepreneurs whose start-up is supported by Canadian capital or by a business incubator that is a member of Canada’s Tech Network, including applications in the inventory and new applications as they are submitted.
  • As part of this effort, the government announced a pause on application intake for the Self-Employed Persons Program to focus on processing applications from the inventory, effective immediately.
  • Finally, the government announced that forward-looking processing times are now available online for certain applications.
    • These forward-looking processing times estimate how long clients applying today should expect to wait before a final decision is made on their application.
    • The complete list of applicable applications can be found here.

Additional Information: Due to the high number of applications submitted to the Self-Employed Persons Program, processing times have increased to more than four years. The program provides a permanent residence pathway for individuals with notable experience in art, culture, recreation or sports. The government will continue finalizing applications from the backlog while assessing options for reforming the program in the future.

BAL Analysis: The Canadian government stated that the new policies are designed to create faster processing times. Continued reforms may be expected in the future to make these programs more sustainable and effective.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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