by Marina Falkina, Envoy Canadian Immigration Specialist
As part of the Economic Action Plan 2012, Canada has expressed its commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and world class innovators. To meet the new and emerging needs of Canadian economy, a new Canada Startup Business Class pilot program was officially launched by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in April 2013 with 2,750 visas allocated to this special category per year.
While a bill similar to Canada’s Startup Visa is still being reviewed by the United States Congress, Canada Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is hoping to attract the best and the brightest from around the world (Silicon Valley tech gurus included), who are currently completing their temporary assignments in the US and are not too keen on returning home, or who is looking to get a boost to their innovative ideas and set up shop outside of their home countries.
As per recently published by CIC Start-Up Visa requirements, a start-up business must be a new business intended to be operated in Canada and must meet certain criteria to be a qualifying business. In order to be eligible for membership in the Start-Up Business Class pilot program, the application must first have a Commitment Certificate issued by a designated entity.
So far, about 20 venture capital groups have signed up to receive business plans from prospective applicants. Among these organizations are the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) and Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA).
In a nut shell, to qualify for Canada’s Start Up visa the applicant must:
- have received a commitment certificate from a designated angel investor group or venture capital fund in Canada
- meet the language requirements
- meet the education requirements (at least one year of post-secondary education)
- have sufficient settlement funds to support himself/herself in Canada
It is not clear how many Startpp visas have been issued since the launch of the pilot in April as this is a very “freshly minted visa category. However, it is expected that up to 6 months would be required in order for applicants to secure funding and obtain the required “commitment certificate before an application could be launched with CIC.
Minister Kenney indicated that the goal here is to attract “future Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, but it remains to be seen how eager the best and the brightest business prospects will be to get to Canada via this one-of-a-king new pilot.
For more information about Start-Up Visa Pilot, please visit CIC’s website.
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