After U.S. H-1B Visa Ban, Entrepreneurs Switch to Canada’s Start-Up Visa


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Immigrant entrepreneurs considering where to base their start-up businesses are looking closely at Donald Trump’s actions in the United States, and seeing Canada as the stable option.

Trump this week halted U.S. H-1B visas until at least December 31, 2020 – shutting off an important stream of tech workers for major Silicon Valley companies as well as start-ups looking to become the next Facebook or Google.

The visas were stopped under the guise of being part of the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, but in reality, this was an anti-immigration president forcing through another anti-immigration measure.

The message from the current U.S. administration has been clear since Trump came to power in 2016: that immigrants take American jobs. It is a protectionist message that helped the president get elected in the first place, and one he hopes will help him win a second term this fall.


For immigrant entrepreneurs considering the U.S. as a potential location for their start-up business, the uncertainties are mounting up, even away from the fact that American COVID-19 cases are beginning to rise again.

Since Trump was elected, many U.S. tech companies had already relocated staff to Canada to avoid increased red tape surrounding the H-1B. Now, with the visa banned altogether, Canada is likely to become an even more popular option.

Canada’s federal government is planning an immigration-backed economic recovery, already preparing itself for a rush of applications once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

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While officials have conceded Canada may not hit its pre-coronavirus immigration levels target of 341,000 newcomers, everything possible has been done to keep the system moving during the pandemic.

Canada’s dedicated Start-Up Visa Program, which offers permanent residence to high-calibre immigrant entrepreneurs, is growing in popularity.

In 2019, the total number of new permanent resident approved admissions reached 510, more than double the 250 welcomed in 2018. The figures have been steadily increasing over the last five years.

New Permanent Residents Through

The Start-Up Visa has been lauded and copied by other countries, held up as another example of Canada’s innovative and flexible approach to immigration.

Canada is viewed as a destination of choice for immigrant entrepreneurs despite increased competition.

Through the SUV, Canada is able to quickly bring in some of the world’s brightest talent, matching them up with local investors to turn their business ideas into reality.

Once in Canada and running their start-up business, candidates have access to the world’s most flexible immigration system, geared towards attracting technology talent.


Canada’s Global Talent Stream is a work permit program featuring two-week visa processing for targeted technology workers.

It allows Canadian companies looking to upscale access to the talent they need within 10 working days of identifying a candidate.

Once GTS candidates are in Canada, they can quickly apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry system.

With the H-1B visa banned until at least January 2021, Canada’s immigration system gives companies have a unique competitive edge to attract the best talent.

What Is Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program?

Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program offers Canadian permanent residence to qualified immigrant entrepreneurs.

The program targets innovative entrepreneurs and links them with private sector investors in Canada who will help establish their start-up business.

Candidates can initially come to Canada on a work permit supported by their designated Canada-based investor, before qualifying for permanent residence once their business is up and running.

What Are the Candidate Eligibility Requirements?

The basic candidate eligibility requirements for the Start-Up Visa are:

  1. Qualifying business.
  2. Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support from a designated entity.
  3. Sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds.
  4. Proficiency in English or French at minimum Canadian Language Benchmark level 5.

How Can Help Potential Start-Up Visa Candidates?

Through our Toronto based facilities, our firm works extensively with industry-acclaimed designated entities in the Canadian start-up ecosystem.  We provide a range of hands-on business advisory services to help intending entrepreneur immigrants and their start-up business concept meet all industry requirements.


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