Start-Up Visa Program Targets US H1-B Holders

CIC News
Published: May 16, 2013

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney will be heading south to the US to promote Canada’s newest business immigration program, the Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa. In an upcoming visit to Silicon Valley, the Minister is set to meet with some of America’s most promising business innovators in an effort to spread the word about Canada’s attraction for immigrants.

The Start-Up Visa was created to make Canada more attractive for entrepreneurs whose ideas have the potential to grow the Canadian economy. It is a proactive step by a government keen on attracting immigrants who are drawn to technology hubs like Silicon Valley, only to have great difficulty navigating the US’ restrictive immigration system.

The Start-Up Visa

The Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa is a first-of-its-kind program that grants Canadian Permanent Residency to successful applicants. To help ensure that individuals granted a visa under the program succeed once in Canada, it links applicants to Canadian investors who will act as mentors for the newly arrived entrepreneurs.

Venture capital organizations and angel investor groups have already been designated as partner organizations for this program. Successful applicants will receive funding and guidance from the organization they have partnered with.

Entrepreneurs with business plans in any field are welcome to apply.

Outreach in US

Minister Kenney has a full schedule planned for his trip to the US. He will be attending the TiECON conference, an entrepreneur meetup with strong links to businesses and professionals from South Asia. He will also speak to students and professors at Stanford University, known for producing some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.

The message of Minister Kenney’s trip is clear: immigrant entrepreneurs in the US should seriously consider living and working in Canada instead. Many professional immigrants in the US come as temporary workers holding H1-B visas, with the intent to settle permanently. However, US immigration law can be incredibly restrictive, and many find themselves stuck in limbo, constantly renewing their temporary status without a clear path for achieving US Permanent Residency.

Minister Kenney’s trip will reach out to these valuable professionals. To drive the point home, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has even erected a billboard near San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley. It reads: “H1-B problems? Pivot to Canada. New Start-Up Visa. Low Taxes.”

The program has thus far been met with widespread support and popularity. “Entrepreneurs around the world are excited to hear that Canada has made special provisions for them,” said immigration Attorney David Cohen. “I expect this excitement will only build as more and more people hear about this unique opportunity.”

Applications are already being accepted for the Start-Up Visa program. With promises of fast processing times, qualified individuals may find themselves in Canada and launching their businesses in record time. If the Canadian government is successful in meeting its goals for the program, the upcoming years will see a boom of new industry in Canada, helping it to lead in innovation for the future.

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