Canada proposes changes to immigrant entrepreneur visa program

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Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced the department would be discussing the possibility of bringing in changes to the immigrant entrepreneur scheme. Citizenship and Immigration Canada's current immigrant entrepreneur program has been suspended since 1 July 2011.

"Our Government's top priority remains jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Canada cannot afford to lose out in the competition for foreign entrepreneurs among immigrant-receiving countries," said Kenney. "We need to proactively target a new type of immigrant entrepreneur who has the potential to build innovative companies that can compete on a global scale and create jobs for Canadians."

In the coming months, CIC said they plan to consult with industry associations in the development of a new "startup" visa program for entrepreneurs. These proposed changes will help immigrant entrepreneurs connect with private sector organizations that have experience and expertise working with startups.

"This "startup" visa initiative is an example of the type of small-scale programs that would allow CIC to try innovative approaches to economic immigration," said a government press release.

Canadian immigration also hinted at the possibility of creating other short-term visa programs under the Economic Immigration Class. The proposal is that these visa programs would be limited to no more than 2,750 applications per year and would end after five years. If a program is successful during the five-year trial period, then CIC could choose to extend it.

"Our Government is committed to strengthening the immigration system to make it truly proactive, targeted, fast and efficient in a way that will sustain Canada's economic growth and deliver prosperity for the future," said Kenney.

Immigration Minister Kenney also announced on 13 April that they would begin consultations on changing the immigrant investor program, which currently requires a five-year investment of $800,000.

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