Startup Visa Program to Launch April 1 in Canada

A new class of visa aimed at attracting immigrant entrepreneurs to transform Canada into a global startup hub was given an official launch date by the federal government today. That date is April 1.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the government will issue visas to immigrants selected by venture capitalists, who will then be able to launch startups in Canada. The government is parnering with Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association and the National Angel Capital Organization to identify candidates.

“Our new startup visa will help make Canada the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest to launch their companies,” Kenney said at a press conference in Toronto. “Recruiting dynamic entrepreneurs from around the world will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy.”

The government will set aside 2,750 visas per year for this program. That’s significantly more than the 700 visas it issued in 2011 under the old program. It’s currently pegged as a five-year pilot project, but could be made permanent should it prove successful.

Needless to say, nearly everyone in Canada’s startup scene is stoked about the potential of this new program.

“This program is sure to raise Canada’s profile within the global technology community, sending a signal to the best and brightest that we’re open for business. In addition, Startup Visa will create good Canadian jobs,” affirms Boris Wertz, founder of Version One Ventures and one of the country’s most prominent angel investors, on his blog.

“Startup ecosystems are competing globally for the best and brightest people,” he added. “I am excited that the Canadian ecosystems are now in a much better position to attract the next generation of tech entrepreneurs to this country.”

Bijan Vaez, cofounder of EventMobi, which hosted the announcement, said that “even though the idea started in Silicon Valley, we made it a reality right here in Canada, which is a great testament to show we have all the resources we need to build amazing companies right here in Canada.”

Photo: Adrian Wyld, The Canadian Press