Canada plans to create a new class of visa it hopes will attract high-tech and other entrepreneurs to immigrate to the country to start new companies, officials said Tuesday.
It has put a moratorium on issuing its existing entrepreneur visa, which only required an immigrant to hire one person for one year, and intends to initiate a visa that would be issued to people identified by venture capital funds as candidates to create startup firms in Canada. The venture funds would be required to invest in the startups.
The startup visa is one of several changes being undertaken by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in what he says is an effort to make the immigration system more responsive to Canada’s economic needs. “Canada seeks young, ambitious, innovative immigrants who will contribute to Canada’s job growth and further drive our economy,” said Mr. Kenney’s press secretary, Alexis Pavlich.
“The startup visa is an initiative that the government of Canada is exploring to assist in transforming our immigration system into a fast, fair and flexible system that will meet the needs of our economy and help grow our country.”
Venture investment funds would choose entrepreneurs to invest in, and the government would try to clear them for entry into Canada within weeks. The idea is to unite Canadian money and foreign brains. An initial source of candidates could be frustrated foreigners in the high-tech sector in the United States who have not been able to land resident status there.
“This program will link brilliant, job-creating, immigrant entrepreneurs with Canadian investors. We want the world’s best and brightest to come to Canada – to start businesses and to create jobs in Canada,” Ms. Pavlich said.
The program, expected to be unveiled in detail later this year, would set up external safeguards and spot checks to make sure the venture funds are investing as promised. The government will set aside 2,750 visas a year for startup entrepreneurs and their families. Last year it issued about 700 visas under the old entrepreneur class, under which an immigrant could do something as simple as buy a corner store and hire one person, and then get out of the business after a year.
Read more at the Globe & Mail