Canada plans to formally start issuing visas for startup entrepreneurs in 2018, following a pilot of the program that was launched in 2013.
“The start-up visa program will become a regular feature of Canada’s immigration landscape in 2018,” said Canada’s federal government in a statement last week.
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 by providing middle-class jobs and strengthening our economy,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
“Our government’s ‘Innovation and Skills Plan’ has identified the nurturing of entrepreneurship and the growth of startups as vitally important to Canada’s present and future economy.”
The pilot has so far led to the launch of 68 startups, brought a combined $3.7 million (US$2.9 million) in investment capital, and granted Canadian residency to as many as 117 foreigners.
The government said it has urged more than 50 Canadian venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubators to participate in the program, which will soon become permanent.
“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.
The news is in stark contrast to the US, which is reportedly preparing to end a similar visa program.