Canada’s New Start-Up Visa

Beginning April 1st, 2013, Canada will stand alone in the global economy as the only country to provide permanent residency to immigrant entrepreneurs and linking them with successful private companies.


The new Start-Up Visa Program aims to recruit innovative foreign entrepreneurs to make Canada competitive in the world marketplace, while creating jobs across the country.


The pilot program is set to run for five years and is expected to provide 2,750 visas to aspiring entrepreneurs per year.


How the Start-up Visa Program works


The Program differs from other visas by issuing immediate permanent residency to Canada so entrepreneurs can focus on their ventures upon approval. The former Federal Entrepreneur Program (FEP) granted conditional citizenship based on a variety of criteria to fulfill.


Immigrants will be initially selected by Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO). These investors, and others, will fund successful candidates in a variety of commitments.
The Canadian Association of Business Incubation (CABI) is also expected to participate in the Program as part of their effort in supporting emerging businesses.


To start, the Program will seek both individuals and teams of 3-5 entrepreneurs. While some will apply with intentions of starting their own business, others may be selected by leading private sector firms.


Entrepreneurs will have access to industry-specific business assistance upon arriving in Canada to best launch their company.


A Boost for Canada’s Labour Market


The Start-Up Visa Program will attract the world’s most talented entrepreneurs to Canada by reducing citizenship headaches and facilitating the initial funding.


While similar programs exist in Australia and the United Kingdom, Canada’s Program is the only to provide immediate permanent residency. Program organizers will look to lure foreign entrepreneurs working in the United States with uncertain residence status, including technology experts in California’s Silicon Valley.


Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says, “Our new Start-Up Visa will help make Canada the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest to launch their companies.”
In 2011 Canada issued over 3,000 permanent residencies to immigrants categorized as investors and entrepreneurs, and 700 visas under the FEP.


Who is Eligible and How to Apply


Full eligibility criteria will be announced in spring 2013, but applicants must demonstrate strong English or French language ability and have completed at least one year of post-secondary education.


Entrepreneurs must also qualify to receive $200,000 in financial backing from a Venture Capital organization or $75,000 from an Angel Investor. Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) will announce qualified investors on its website soon.


Application forms are expected to be available soon and those interested can visit the CIC website for updates on the Program.


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