Investors Laud Canada’s New Startup Visa Program

The new visa promises to fast-track immigration for foreign entrepreneurs with funding from designated Canadian investors

Non-resident entrepreneurs can now apply for immediate permanent residency status with the support of accredited venture capital funds or angel investor groups, provided they are proficient in English or French and have at least one year of post-secondary education.
 
Candidates will need to have obtained a minimum $200,000 investment from a designated venture capital fund, or $75,000 from one of three angel investor groups.
 
Vancouver-based Yaletown Venture Partners, Version One Ventures and Vanedge Capital Limited are among the venture capital funds eligible to participate in the program, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
 
The startup visa replaces the Federal Entrepreneur Program, an economic immigration scheme launched in the 1970s that involved a long approval process and required personal fixed assets of at least $300,000. The program had a six- to eight-year wait time before it was cancelled in 2011.
 
The program is in part the product of three years of lobbying from B.C. tech investors Boris Wertz, found of Version One Ventures, and Perch CEO Danny Robinson.
 
When Internet startup Summify, founded by former Google interns Cristian Strat and Mircea Paşoi from Romania, got accepted into a 2009 accelerator program in Vancouver, its co-founders faced denied applications and work visa issues.
 
Twitter bought out Summify in 2012, and Robinson believes new rules could draw more tech talent to B.C.

“We can dramatically increase the number of companies started by enabling talented entrepreneurs like Cristian and Mircea to come to Canada and start their business,” said Robinson in a blog post.
 
Interested foreign entrepreneurs will have to fill out a series of applications for funding and immigration status in a process expected to take three to six months.
 
The program’s initial run will issue 2,750 visas for startup founders and their families.