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New Start-Up Visa Program Aims to Attract Foreign Entrepreneurs to Canada

From Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism

Innovation requires, first of all, innovators: people with the creativity and talent to come up with plans and projects, products and services, that had not occurred to anyone else before. Innovation in the globalizing world requires increased flexibility, knowledge of foreign markets, and the capacity to adapt to changing technologies and circumstances.

Enter a new immigration initiative from the federal government. Announced last week, the Start-Up Visa Program is a pilot project that will run for five years, with 2,750 visas available each year for immigrant entrepreneurs and their family members.  The goal is to attract entrepreneurs and entice them to start new businesses -- and by extension creating new jobs -- here in Canada. To be eligible, applicants must have some funding from Canadian backers lined up: a minimum of $75,000 from an angel investor or $200,000 from a venture capital firm. If accepted, applicants will become permanent residents. The Start-Up Visa Program is the successor to the defunct Federal Entrepreneur Program, a previous immigration stream that the government halted in 2011.

"Recruiting dynamic entrepreneurs from around the world will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy," said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney when announcing the program. In order to help support the program, the government will be working with Canada's Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), who will help line up potential investors.