Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney has announced an upcoming visit to Silicon Valley to promote his new Start-up Visa Program, targeted at immigrant entrepreneurs. Launched in April of this year, the Start-up Visa is set to increase Canada’s competitiveness in the fierce rivalry between developed nations to attract innovative talents from around the world. With the Start-up Visa, Canada may project an image as a much more appealing destination to settle for top-notch tech experts beaten down by the American immigration system.
The basis of the program’s appeal is that the Start-up Visa grants immigrant entrepreneurs permanent residency and access to local business networks. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) works with Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and with the National Angel Capital Group (NACO) to provide corporate and financial support to new immigrant entrepreneurs. Prospective immigrants are eligible to apply once they have received a significant financial commitment from an venture capital or angel investment group experienced in entrepreneurial start-ups that is approved by CIC. Applicants also need to satisfy basic requirements on the level of education and language proficiency.
“With our new Start-up Visa, we are opening doors to new and exciting opportunities for Canada’s economy to grow and prosper. This is part of our government’s transformational changes to Canada’s immigration system that will make it fast, flexible, and focused on Canada’s economic needs,” stated Kenney.
The immigration minister aims to spread the word among the innovative population in Silicon Valley by attending TiEcon 2013, the world’s largest conference for entrepreneurs,as well as by meeting with immigration experts, and speaking at Standford University. To complement his trip, Kenney’s administration has also tapped into local media, setting up a large billboard on a highway linking the San Fransisco airport and the Silicon Valley that urges those troubled by the American immigration system to move to Canada.
Even though the highly advertised visit may be an aggressive move to grab talents, many are optimistic about Kenney’s trip. In order to deliver his promise to strengthen the Canadian economy by welcoming “the best and the brightest” into the country, Kenney is surely working hard.
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