Canadian Start Up Visa (SUV) Program, which is a sub-category of business immigration in Canadian system, has proved to be a pretty successful program for entrepreneurs and business owners who are willing to move their businesses to Canada. Since its commencement in 2013 its popularity has constantly been increasing. The program started as a pilot, but in 2018, it became a fixed immigration program.
According to the latest statistics published by IRCC on “Permanent Residence and Work Permit Application Processing under the Start-up Business Program” dated July 2021, between 2013 and Oct 2020 a total of 1858 start-ups applied to the program, out of which 1444 were approved, an overall success rate of 78% for the applications in this category.
The SUV program’s popularity among overseas immigrant entrepreneurs increased exponentially between 2013 and 2019. But the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is clear on the number of applications in 2020. In 2016, all applications under SUV program category were accepted. However, in 2019, the year with the highest number of SUV applications, one fifth (20%) of the SUV program applications were rejected. The highest percentage of rejection belongs to 2018 with a rejection rate of 36%.
We still need to wait for the latest statistics from the Canadian government to see the full impact of the pandemic on the number of SUV applications and their success rate.
Another interesting aspect of the data published by IRCC is where the applicant start ups came from. The majority of applications under SUV Program came from Asia(Australia included), Middle East and Europe. North America, South America and Africa comprise a total of 9% of applications.
There are 5 countries who had the highest number of applicants to the Canadian SUV program between 2013 and 2020. China, as expected, is on top of the list with the highest number of startups applying for Canadian SUV.
These five countries account for almost two thirds (61%) of Canadian SUV program applications between 2013 and 2020.
The final destination of the startups applying to Canadian SUV program is also worth mentioning because it reveals which parts of Canada have benefitted most from this program. Since the start of the pilot program, Ontario and British Colombia (BC) have been the most popular destinations, which is not a surprising finding. But, some Atlantic provinces have also attracted business and entrepreneurs through their innovative programs and incentives for startups relocating there.
Now let us have a deeper look at the numbers from the period between 2018 to Oct 2020 (7 months after the start of pandemic).
First of all, over these years there are some differences in the country of origin distribution of startups compared to the whole period. The most notable is an increase in the number of startups from Africa. This means while Africa counts for only 3% of applications over the period, it has increased its share to 10% in the last three years. With African entrepreneurs and business discovering the potential of Canada for startups, we will most likely see an even higher share of African business applying to bring their startup to Canada.
One very interesting aspect of the data is the destination province of startups that are relocating to Canada. As you can expect, the most popular provinces are Ontario and British Colombia.
But startups from some countries have a higher tendency to choose specific provinces. One interesting case is Vietnam’s. Out of 311 startups applying for Canadian permanent residence, 239 (77%) chose British Colombia as their destination. Chinese startups also had a preference for Ontario and BC.
Interestingly, Indian and Iranian startups were more attracted to Ontario, Alberta and Atlantic provinces rather than British Colombia.