Skip links


Author: Nicolas Laurin, President of Eterna International 

The last ten years have brought about profound transformations in the investment immigration industry, shaped by geopolitical currents, wealth inequality, and intensifying debates in the West over access to housing. The European Commission’s criticism, grounded in anecdotal evidence, has painted investment immigration as a mismanaged scheme for money laundering.

Under its previous government, Portugal eliminated its property investment option, citing its impact on the real estate market, even though most promoted projects were in low-density areas distant from urban centers like Lisbon and Porto. Quebec, too, has effectively dismantled its lucrative investor program by instituting stringent language requirements despite the minuscule proportion of immigrant investors—0.02% of the population per year.

Such developments reflect a broader political shift: the increasing resistance in Western nations to wealth-based residency or citizenship. The sustainability of business immigration initiatives, therefore, depends on whether programs demand contributions beyond mere capital. In this context, Canada, with its Start-Up Visa (SUV) program, emerges once again as a pioneering model for future-focused business immigration.
The SUV Program: A Success in Numbers

Data from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) tells the success story of the SUV program. Since its launch, it has welcomed over 5,170 applicants for permanent residency and their families. In 2023, the program delivered an approval rate of 84%. These statistics attest to the program’s efficiency and increasing resonance within the global entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The SUV program extends several benefits. Unlike other immigration avenues, it has no minimum net worth requirement, making it accessible to entrepreneurs from varied economic backgrounds. The program focuses on innovation potential, requiring a letter of support from a recognized entity (business incubator, venture capital fund, or angel investor) and proficiency in English or French to a reasonable standard (CLB5). However, its most attractive proposition is the offer of permanent residency for the applicant’s entire family and providing a work permit before PR approval.

The story of ApplyBoard offers a compelling case study that illustrates the transformative impact of such immigration policies.  Founded by the Basiri brothers, who navigated the complexities of the Canadian immigration system firsthand, this SUV start-up became Canada’s first-ever educational technology unicorn with a valuation exceeding C$2 billion.

A Comparative Analysis

Compared with alternative immigration options to Canada, like the dwindling Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) or the more cumbersome Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), the SUV is distinct. It expedites the process with a direct PR route, lowers investment prerequisites, and focuses on innovation over passive investment and prior entrepreneurial experience over net worth.

Since its inception in 2013, the Canada Start-Up Visa program has initiated a worldwide trend. Thirty-nine nations, including 16 of the 27 EU member states, now offer analogous visas tailored for start-up entrepreneurs and digital nomads.

This global embrace of innovation in immigration policy signals a pivotal shift that the Canadian government cleverly anticipated. As we move forward, the imperative for business immigration programs to align with the values of innovation and contribution to the host country’s economy becomes increasingly apparent, positioning Canada’s approach as both a model and a beacon for future developments in the field.

Eterna International is a part of Eterna Group, a financial conglomerate with a history dating back to 1928, specializing in global mobility services. The company operates on a B2B model, collaborating with professionals to offer various investment immigration programs. Eterna International has offices in key cities across the globe and a seasoned team of professionals, including lawyers, PhDs, consultants, processing experts, and project managers. It aims to provide quality offerings to its clients through programs like the Canada Start-up Visa Program, US EB-5, Portugal Golden Visa, and others, leveraging nearly two decades of experience in the field.


Foreign Direct Investment

Upcoming Events

You May Also Like