Canada’s Startup Visa Program is Here to Stay

A pilot program to help foreign talent launch startups in Canada is now becoming permanent.

At the Ryerson DMZ, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced the Startup Visa program will be added to Canada’s immigration policy next year. The Visa grants permanent residency to entrepreneurs if a Canadian venture capital fund or angel investor group invests in their business, or if they are accepted into a business incubator.

“Every company launched in Canada with the help of the Startup Visa Program has the potential to be a big win for Canadians,” said Hussen in a statement. He called both entrepreneurship and the growth of startups vital to the country’s economy.

Since the program kicked off in April 2013, 117 applicants were approved for permanent residency, launching 68 startups with a combined $3.7 million in investment capital.

“Canadians benefit through the jobs that are created when entrepreneurs come from all corners of the globe to start businesses in this country,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

Minister Bains said the program will help attract more innovative entrepreneurs, creating new business opportunities and jobs.

The program has faced ongoing criticism for failing to live up to its initial goal of attracting the world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs. While the program offers up 2,750 Visas every year, only 117 have been granted in the past four years—far from a success.

In a bid to attract overseas talent with a simplified immigration process, the government launched a fast-track Visa program last month as part of its highly anticipated Global Skills Strategy.