Canada makes visa scheme permanent

Following a five-year pilot program to help immigrants launch startups and become permanent residents, the government has decided to make the scheme permanent.

Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s federal minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, announced on Friday that the government’s Startup Visa Program is to become permanent following a five-year trial.

The scheme was launched in 2013 to help immigrants launch startups and allow them to apply for permanent residency once they secured capital from a Canadian VC fund or angel investor group. The program will be permanent from 2018, when the pilot is set to end on March 31.

The decision follows a recent evaluation that showed the program had led to more than 50 domestic VC funds, angel groups and incubators taking part in the program and having invested more than C$3.7m in equity ($3m) in the first three years.

A total of 117 applicants have been approved for permanent residency, representing 68 startups.

The initiative forms part of the Innovation and Skills Plan, the government’s drive to foster a tech-friendly innovation ecosystem.

Hussen said: “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.

“Our government’s Innovation and Skills Plan has identified the nurturing of entrepreneurship and the growth of start-ups as vitally important to Canada’s present and future economy. Making the Startup Visa Program permanent supports that agenda.”

See more from this Government Report: Canada

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