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Boost to Canada’s Start-up Visa (SUV) Program in UAE: More Flexibility and Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

Expansion of the Canada Start-up Visa Program

Recent reforms announced by Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser are set to make the Canada Start-up Visa (SUV) program more attractive to professionals in the UAE who wish to migrate to Canada. Among these reforms, new open work permits will provide entrepreneurs with more flexibility while awaiting approval for permanent residence. Additionally, the Federal Business program’s intake levels will be increased by 250% annually, making the SUV program even more accessible to aspiring immigrants.

Flexibility with Open Work Permits

Before the reforms, investors entering Canada through the SUV program would apply for a work permit that only allowed them to work for the start-up they had invested in. However, with the introduction of open work permits, investors and their spouses can now take up employment in Canada while waiting for their permanent residence application to be processed. This change offers greater flexibility and freedom for entrepreneurs looking to establish themselves in Canada.

Increased Intake for Federal Business Program

In response to growing demand, Minister Fraser has also committed to increasing intake levels for the Federal Business program by 250% annually. By 2026, over 14,000 applicants will be accepted into the program each year. This expansion aims at speeding up processing times and making the SUV program more widely available for entrepreneurs.

Overview of the Canada Start-up Visa Program

The Canada SUV Program is designed to facilitate foreign investment and promote entrepreneurship and employment opportunities within the country. The program targets innovative start-up founders and experienced investors, encouraging them to collaborate and contribute their expertise and resources toward business ventures. Notably, participants of this PR pathway are allowed to maintain their residency status even if their affiliated business venture fails.

Affordable Residency by Investment

At a total cost of approximately Dh526,000 (CAD 195,000) including investment and fees, the Canada SUV program offers an affordable pathway for individuals and their families seeking alternate or additional citizenship. Other residency by investment programs typically range from Dh1 million to over Dh2 million, making Canada’s SUV program an attractive option for entrepreneurs looking to migrate to the country.

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Start-Up Founders: Experienced entrepreneurs with previous successes in developing innovative start-ups outside of Canada can apply using their existing business plan. The idea should be innovative and offer growth potential within the Canadian market.
  2. Skilled Individuals: Applicants without a start-up idea but possessing relevant skills and experience in their field can join or co-found an existing innovative start-up. By contributing to the venture’s success with their expertise, they may qualify for the program based on their profile and a minimum investment.

This inclusive approach enables applicants, their spouses, and children under 22 to be included in a single application for direct permanent residency.

Canadian Permanent Residency Benefits:

  1. Employment Flexibility: Permanent residents can legally live and work in Canada without being tied to a specific job or employer. They can even establish their own enterprise or invest in existing businesses. Additionally, they are free to travel in and out of Canada using their permanent resident card or travel documents (PRTD).
  2. Free Healthcare: Canada offers universal healthcare funded by taxes, ensuring equal access to quality healthcare services for its residents and citizens. This benefit is especially attractive for retirees or those planning to sponsor elderly parents in the future.
  3. Free Education and Tuition Benefits: As one of the world’s leading education systems, many immigrants choose the Start-Up Visa Program to secure a brighter future for their children. Primary, elementary, and secondary education is free of charge for permanent residents via the Canadian public school system. They also enjoy domestic status when applying for post-secondary institutions, avoiding international admission quotas and steep tuition fees. Furthermore, permanent residents are eligible for various scholarships and government grants unavailable to international students.

Start-Up Visa Program vs. Skilled Worker Express Entry

The Start-Up Visa Program is designed for entrepreneurs who have innovative business ideas and want to launch their companies in Canada. This program offers a pathway to permanent residency for eligible applicants with a qualifying business plan, sufficient funding from designated organizations, and language proficiency. In contrast, the Skilled Worker Express Entry program targets skilled workers with high levels of education, language proficiency, and experience in in-demand occupations.

Competition and Eligibility

In recent years, the Express Entry program has become increasingly competitive due to a high number of applications. Applicants without Canadian work experience or those above 30 years of age might find it challenging to succeed even with a strong profile. The unpredictability of being drawn from the pool can make it difficult for applicants to effectively plan their move.

On the other hand, the Start-Up Visa program offers a more predictable path to permanent residency by directly considering approved business plans and designated investments. Entrepreneurs investing in their innovative ideas can benefit from this program.

Choosing the Right Immigration Firm

Selecting an experienced immigration consulting firm is crucial when applying for either immigration program. It’s essential to verify the firm’s track record, ethical practices, industry knowledge, and relationships.

Beware of offers that guarantee Canadian permanent residency or passport for what seems like a small investment amount. Always opt for legitimate immigration methods by working with reputed advisory firms and legal teams, ensuring the success of your application now and the ability to maintain your status in Canada in the future.


The recent overhaul of Canada’s Start-up Visa (SUV) Program presents new opportunities and increased flexibility for entrepreneurs in the United Arab Emirates and beyond. With the introduction of open work permits, expanded intake levels for the Federal Business program, and a cost-effective approach to residency by investment, the SUV program is poised to become an even more attractive pathway for professionals looking to establish businesses and secure permanent residency in Canada. As a result, this will foster greater innovation, investment, and employment creation within the Canadian economy.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, exclusively written and published by IntraSource. The published information is sourced from various trusted platforms, such as news agencies and online media, mainly the Government of Canada and Canadian online media/websites, and should not be considered as legal or professional advice. IRCC’s requirements may change, so consult a lawyer/s and receive professional advice before making decisions or applications.

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