Canada Issues First Start-Up Visas To Entrepreneurs

By Dex Tennyson, for ExpatBriefing.com 18 August, 2014

Canada's Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander, has met with business leaders to promote a new visa that is aimed at bringing together entrepreneurs from abroad with Canadian venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubators.

The Start-up Visa Program was established last year, and the first two successful applicants were welcomed to Canada last month after gaining the support of GrowLab Ventures of Vancouver. The Government describes the scheme as "the first of its kind in the world."

Alexander held a roundtable with business incubator Communitech and other business leaders in Kitchener-Waterloo in Ontario to discuss the visa. He encouraged organizations to continue their efforts, and with the help of the scheme identify new start-up opportunities and reach out to the entrepreneurs behind them.

He explained: "Our government is focused on long-term prosperity and economic growth for all Canadians. The Start-up Visa Program is helping to attract innovative entrepreneurs to Canada who can help create jobs and meet the needs of Canada's labor market. We will continue to work with business leaders who can support creative business ideas and help Canada compete on a global scale."

To apply for permanent resident status in Canada, the foreign entrepreneur must first secure a significant investment commitment from a designated Canadian angel investor group, venture capital fund, or business incubator. Applicants must also demonstrate language proficiency skills at a Canadian Language Benchmark 5 in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, and have at least one year of education at a post-secondary institution.

The Start-Up Visa Program is a pilot program that will run for five years.

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