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Oct 10, 2023
Start-up VisaGuide to Canada

2023 Start-up Visa Program: New Three-Year Work Permit?

Start-up Visa program aims to draw global entrepreneurs to Canada but faces implementation challenges, highlighting the need for clear commitments.

2023 Start-up Visa Program: New Three-Year Work Permit?

The Start-up Visa program, an initiative by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada), has long been viewed as a conduit for innovative entrepreneurs to anchor their ventures in Canada.

Earlier this year, Minister Fraser unveiled what seemed to be a transformative blueprint for this program at the Collision 2023 conference. However, closer scrutiny of recent updates reveals a misalignment between IRCC's verbal commitments and its subsequent actions.

The Promise

In a much-publicized announcement in June 2023, Minister Fraser expressed optimism and introduced the three-year open work permit. This strategic decision was crafted to offer international entrepreneurs a sense of security and agility to nurture their businesses in the Canadian landscape.

Disjunction between Rhetoric and Reality

Surprisingly, just two months after this promising announcement, the updated Start-up Visa optional work permit page on the IRCC website showed no signs of the proclaimed changes, leading to palpable discrepancies.

To validate our observations, we reached out to several Start-up Visa designated organizations (designated by IRCC). The feedback? A consistent message that the much-anticipated three-year open work permit might remain an unfulfilled promise. IRCC will most likely not create the three-year open work permit program.


  • Trust Deficit: Governments and regulatory bodies rely on the trust of their stakeholders. Announcements without follow-through can significantly impact the trust quotient.
  • Economic Repercussions: Entrepreneurs act as catalysts for innovation and economic growth. Ambiguities in policy could deter potential innovators, thus influencing the broader economic milieu.
  • Canada's Global Standing: Canada's Start-up Visa program showcases its position in the global entrepreneurial space. Such policy inconsistencies could challenge its global reputation.

Recommendations for Moving Forward

  • Reaffirmation of Commitments: IRCC should reassert its dedication to the declared changes or elucidate the reasons for deviations.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Engaging with Start-up Visa designated entities and potential candidates can yield insights, ensuring policies are in sync with real-world challenges.
  • Consistent Monitoring and Feedback Mechanisms: Setting up regular reviews can aid in addressing any policy divergences promptly.

The Start-up Visa program's potential remains undebated. Yet, for it to truly flourish, the bridge between commitments and actions must be fortified. With the global talent pool watching, institutions like IRCC need to ensure their words align with their deeds, reinforcing Canada's image as a top-tier entrepreneurial destination.

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Jie Chen
Co-founder & Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R#707585)Jie Chen
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