Today, Monday, April 29, 2024, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”), announced several changes to Canada’s federal business programs to help reduce processing times and the application backlog. These changes take effect on April 30, 2024.

To improve the Start-Up Visa Program, IRCC will encourage designated venture capital firms, angel investor groups and business incubators to focus on the most promising proposals by

  • capping the number of permanent residence applications IRCC will accept for processing each year to those associated with no more than 10 start-ups per designated organization
  • providing 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


In addition, Minister Miller announced a full pause on application intake for the Self­-Employed Persons Program to focus on processing applications from the inventory, starting April 30, 2024 through the end of 2026. The Self-Employed Persons Program provides a pathway to permanent residence for people with notable experience in art, culture, recreation or sports and who will contribute to Canada’s cultural vitality. Due to the high number of applications submitted for this program, processing times have increased substantially. While the pause is in place, IRCC will continue finalizing applications from the backlog while assessing options for reforming the program and ensuring its integrity.

By restricting application intake through the end of 2026, and through planned increases in admissions for the federal business category as tabled in the 2024-2026 Immigration Levels Plan, IRCC hopes to be able to reduce the backlog and bring down wait times while continuing to welcome entrepreneurial newcomers needed to continue to grow Canada’s economy.

The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, announced today that Canada will reduce the number of international student permits by 35 per cent next year as part of a temporary two-year cap on foreign enrollment.

The cap will cut the number of approved study permits in 2024 to 364,000. The 2025 limit will be reassessed at the end of this year.

He said the move would allow the Government of Canada to address institutions and “bad actors” who are charging exorbitantly high tuition fees for international students, all while increasing the number of international students they are accepting.

Students applying to masters and PhD programs will be exempt from the cap.

Cap space will be allocated by province based on population, meaning some provinces will see a sharper reduction in the number of international students permitted.

Today, Wednesday, November 1, 2023, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (“IRCC”), tabled the 2024-2026 Immigration Levels Plan.  According to the government, the plan is “tailored to support economic growth while balancing with the pressures in areas like housing, healthcare and infrastructure. It charts a responsible course for sustainable and stable population growth”.

Canada will maintain its target of 485,000 permanent residents for 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. Starting in 2026, the government will stabilize permanent resident levels at 500,000, allowing time for successful integration, while continuing to augment Canada’s labour market.

Highlights of the 2024-2026 Immigration Levels Plan include:

  • A continued long-term focus on economic growth, with over 60% of permanent resident admissions dedicated to the economic class by 2025.
  • New Francophone immigration targets to support and strengthen Francophone communities outside of Quebec.
  • Integrating housing, health care and infrastructure planning, along with other important services, into Canada’s immigration levels planning, in close collaboration with provinces, territories and municipalities.
  • Creating a Chief International Talent Officer position to more effectively align immigration programs and pathways with the labour market, including industry and sector strategies.
  • Making the IRCC website more user-friendly, so that applicants can easily find the information they need.

Starting today, Sunday, July 16, 2023, Canada will offer open work permits to any individuals in the United States on an H-1B Specialty Occupations visa.  Canada’s strategy is to lure away highly-educated foreign nationals in the United States who are frustrated by the U.S. immigration process.  In essence, Canada is capitalizing on a growing sense from international students and professionals that settling permanently in the United States is too slow and difficult.

The new recruitment strategy, which Canada unveiled at a North American technology conference held in Toronto last month, is designed to appeal to out-of-work foreign tech-sector workers in the U.S. whose immigration status is now in jeopardy after a recent series of layoffs.

The new open work permit would allow H-1B Specialty Occupations visa holders to move to Canada without a job and look for one once they arrive. The types of foreign nationals who would qualify for the program, Canadian experts say, could also quickly become permanent residents under the country’s merit-based points immigration system.

Without the fast-track program, they would either need to apply for entry under the regular Canadian process or get a Canadian employer to obtain a work permit for them.

The program will last for either one year or until the cap of 10,000 applicants has been reached. This cap is on principal applicants and does not include family members.

If you are an H-1B Specialty Occupations visa holder and are interested in applying for a Canadian open work permit, please send an e-mail to info@akcanada.com to obtain more information about the program and Abrams & Krochak’s related services and legal fees.