In a special announcement at the Collision Conference in Toronto on 27 June 2023, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a new strategy to attract digital talent to Canada. The strategy includes four key pillars involving additions and improvements to the programs offered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). One of the new measures is to significantly improve the existing Start-Up Visa Program to attract foreign entrepreneurs to come to Canada.

This article will discuss the key changes to the Start-Up Visa Program.

1. More quotas are allocated to the Start-Up Visa Program.

The Canadian government will allocate more spots to the Start-Up Visa Program for 2023, with further increases planned for 2024 and 2025. The government explicitly stated that it aims to process and accept more applications to help reduce the application inventory. The expansion not only reduces the backlog of applications but also enhances the chances of success for aspiring start-up founders, allowing them to establish and grow their businesses in a supportive and innovative ecosystem. The increased quotas demonstrate Canada's commitment to attracting top global talent and fostering entrepreneurship, reinforcing its position as an attractive destination for ambitious entrepreneurs.

2. Applicants will be able to apply for a work permit that is up to three years in duration instead of one year.

We anticipate that the extension of the work permit period from one year to three years will bring significant convenience to applicants under the Start-Up Visa Program. By extending the work permit duration, entrepreneurs can focus on building and scaling their businesses without the added pressure of having to renew their permits annually. This change also acknowledges the time it takes for permanent residence applications to be processed, allowing entrepreneurs to work and contribute to the Canadian economy while awaiting their status. The longer work permit duration offers a more appealing option for founders and their families, providing financial stability and the ability to earn additional income.

3. Applicants will be able to apply for an open work permit instead of one that limits them to working for their own start-up.

With an open work permit, applicants are not restricted to working solely for their own start-up, enabling them to explore other employment options or engage in additional income-generating activities. This flexibility is particularly valuable during the early stages of a start-up when financial stability can be a challenge. It reduces financial pressure on the applicants and their families by allowing them to earn additional income outside their start-up ventures. This extra income can be crucial in supporting their living expenses and further investment in their businesses. The open work permit definitely makes it more enticing for entrepreneurs to move to Canada and start working on their business while awaiting the processing of their permanence residence application.

4. The three-year open work permit will be available to each member of the entrepreneurial team instead of only those who are essential and urgently needed in Canada.

This measure will enhance the attractiveness of the Start-up Visa Program for talented individuals considering joining a start-up team in Canada. It recognizes the collaborative nature of start-up ventures and acknowledges the contributions of all team members. By allowing all members to obtain the three-year open work permit, it promotes teamwork and shared responsibility within the entrepreneurial team. It also provides opportunities for all team members move to Canada to develop their skills, gain valuable work experience, and contribute to the success of the start-up.

5. Capital committed or Tech Network supported application will be prioritized.

The Canadian government will prioritize applications that are supported by committed capital or endorsed by a business incubator that is also a member of Canada's Tech Network. The prioritization plan will be applied to both permanent residence applications currently in the backlog and to newly submitted applications. By prioritizing these applications, the government aims to ensure that applicants with strong financial backing and support are able to bring their innovative ideas to fruition in Canada. This approach not only accelerates the processing of applications but also increases the likelihood of success for start-up entrepreneurs, enabling them to establish and grow their businesses more efficiently.

Further details are yet to be released on what qualifies as committed capital and what business incubators are eligible to become members of Canada's Tech Network. We will closely monitor the news and updates on this policy to provide the best assistance and strategy to our clients under the Start-Up Visa Program.


Canada's Tech Talent Strategy 2023 introduces new improvements to the Start-Up Visa Program. The measures announced, such as increasing the program's quotas, extending work permit durations, and prioritizing applications supported by committed capital or endorsed by business incubators, have significant implications. They not only streamline the immigration process but also create a supportive environment for start-up founders to establish and grow their businesses. By enhancing the Start-Up Visa Program, Canada positions itself as a leading destination for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Our firm, Harvey Law Group, has vast experience in handling Canada's Start-Up Visa applications. If you are interested in the program, you may visit here on our website for more information and contact us at Our lawyers are based across Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to cater to your specific needs for immigration and beyond.

The press release of Canada's Tech Talent Strategy 2023 can be found in the following links:

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