Canada seeks to boost economy with launch of Startup-Visa Program

By February 01, 2013
sign saying welcome to Canada

The new immigration program will make it easier for non-Canadian entrepreneurs to start their businesses in the country. The first of its kind, the program aims to create Canadian jobs, stimulate long-term economic growth and make Canada a competitive global innovative force.

Canada will launch the first Start-Up Visa Program in the world on April 1, in order to recruit immigrant entrepreneurs, create new jobs and cultivate economic growth. The Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney aims to make Canada a global innovation company destination, providing support to new businesses and additional avenues towards Canadian residency and future citizenship. The program is “part of a series of transformational changes to Canada’s immigration system that will make it faster, more flexible and focused on Canada’s economic needs.” Making it simpler for entrepreneurs to create their companies in the country could attract them not only from their native countries, but countries where they are currently in school, in temporary work environments, or in an otherwise less conducive immigration status.

The program will be supported by capital fund groups looking for high-quality projects

In order to apply for the Startup-up Visa Program, entrepreneurs must gain the support of a Canadian angel investor group or venture capital fund first. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will collaborate with two capital fund umbrella groups, Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association and the National Angel Capital Organization, as well as the Canadian Association of Business Incubation to work with angel groups and attract high-quality entrepreneurs. “Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity remain priorities for the Government of Canada, and this new Start-Up Visa Program underscores our commitment to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the Canadian labour market,” Minister Kenney concluded.

A similar visa program was unable to gain the support of the United States Congress

In the US, President Obama has stated his support for similar reform to immigration law for foreign-born entrepreneurs. Many international students at US universities have had difficulty obtaining visas or green cards. These innovators have either been faced with the possibility of deportation or simply returned to their own countries to start their businesses. President Obama points out the inconsistencies of providing skills to students, then forcing them out of the country only to create jobs in other countries and additional foreign competition. A startup visa bill was introduced last year in Congress, but failed to pass.

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