Canada wants to make start-up visa program permanent
The federal government of Canada is seeking to make permanent the Start-up Visa Program, an immigration pilot project, which offers a pathway to permanent residency to overseas entrepreneurs who are willing shift their companies to this North American country.
Ahmed Hussen, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, was quoted by The Globe and Mail as saying on 28 July that their government’s plan for innovation and skills had recognised fostering of entrepreneurship and the growth of start-ups as crucial to the Canadian economy and making permanent the Start-up Visa Program backs this particular agenda.
The Start-up Visa Program, which was flagged off in 2013 during Harper government’s tenure, was slated to expire in 2018, but it has now been decided to make it a part of IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) policy.
Since its inception, these start-up visas were granted to 117 people, who represented 68 companies. Two of them had been purchased by American companies.
An applicant for this program should have a commitment from one of the qualified Canadian investors, be they venture-capital companies, angel investors, and start-up incubators. Only applicants who procure an investment from these sources will be considered by IRCC for their visa application, the processing of which can take up to six months.
To hasten this process, Mr. Hussen said that a change his department will undertake is to develop a more customer-friendly online portal that will eliminate the unqualified applicants before they can start seeking investors. There is also a proposal to allow Canadian consular officials to become more directly involved in linking start-up and accelerator networks and directing those entrepreneurs toward the program.
Navdeep Bains, the Minister for Innovation, Science, and Economic Development said that extending the program along with the recently unveiled Global Skills Strategy is a proposal to demonstrate that Canada’s doors are open to international talent.
He said that they were focused truly on throwing open doors and generating opportunities for people to come to Canada and help create and develop its businesses.