On Thursday January 24th 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that it is to launch a new visa for entrepreneurs. It will open for applications on April 1st 2013 and will be known as the Start-Up Visa.
Jason Kenney, the Canadian immigration minister and head of CIC said 'Our new Start-Up visa will help make Canada the destination of choice for the world's best and brightest to launch their companies. Recruiting dynamic entrepreneurs from around the world will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy.'
Scheme links entrepreneurs with private sector financeThe scheme will, according to the CIC press release 'link immigrant entrepreneurs with private sector organisations in Canada that have experience working with start-ups and who can provide essential resources.'
The plan is to bring the non-Canadian entrepreneur together with Canadian venture capitalists, who may be able to provide funding, before the visa is granted. To that end, CIC has arranged to collaborate initially with two venture capital associations; Canada's Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organisation (NACO). CIC says that it is also working with the Canadian Association of Business Incubation so that they too can become involved soon.
CIC trumpets the Start-Up visa as 'the first of its kind in the world' and says it will be 'a powerful incentive to attract individuals with potential who will have a real impact on the Canadian economy.'
Canada to be 'destination of choice'Details of the scheme are sketchy at this point but CIC says 'By providing sought-after immigrant entrepreneurs with permanent residency and immediate access to a wide range of business partners, Canada will position itself as a destination of choice for start-ups.'
CIC has not yet announced how many visas or funding will be available. Nor has it explained how the entrepreneur's suitability will be assessed. It is also not clear now much capital entrepreneurs will need to commit in order to qualify.
Sanwar Ali of workpermit.com said 'I am very keen to see the details of the new visa. When CIC began consulting on this proposal last year, it proposed that it would be able to issue up to 2,750 visas a year for an initial period of five years.
'Clearly, the establishment of a new visa sounds like great news for entrepreneurs but we need to know the details. Once we have those, we can prepare to help our clients with applications as soon as the visa stream is open for applications.'
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