With no end in sight to the battle over immigration reform in the U.S., other countries are capitalizing on Washington’s backlog by launching visa programs designed to attract top-tier innovators. This month, Canada joined the pack with one of the most comprehensive immigration packages available to entrepreneur immigrants: The Start-Up Visa Program.
“The Start-up Visa Program is the first of its kind in the world,” said Paul Northcott, a spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. “The government is looking to target a new type of immigrant entrepreneur who has the potential to build innovative companies that can compete on a global scale and create new jobs for Canadians.”
Singapore, Australia, Chile and the U.K. have all launched programs designed to attract foreign talent and investment, yet the Canadian program has two unusual qualifications.
First, the program covers the entire cost of investment, as long as the applicant secures funding from one of the venture capital funds or angel investment groups that are partners with the government.
In addition, the government offers permanent residency up front, a powerful incentive for immigrants. Universal health care, a multicultural society and a thriving economy don’t hurt, either.
Studies also show that Canada is one of the easiest places to do business in the world.
“A Canadian visa is already a highly sought after item, and now the country is offering an even bigger incentive,” said Marisa Feil, a Montreal-based immigration attorney. “I see this working well for the handful of people with big ideas who don’t try to use it as an immigration strategy,”
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