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.