The Canadian government announced that the Startup Visa program would now become a core part of the country’s immigration policy starting in 2018.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen made the announcement at the DMZ in Toronto.
The government first launched the visa as a pilot in 2013. The Visa allows entrepreneurs to become permanent residents in Canada if a Canadian venture capital fund or angel investor group makes a financial commitment in their business.
So far, 117 entrepreneurs have become permanent residents through the Startup Visa, and over 50 Canadian VC funds, angel investor groups, and incubators are designated to participate. Entrepreneurs received $3.7 million in investment capital during the first three years of the program.
However, the public perception of the Startup Visa hasn’t all been positive, as there has been criticism that the process is too time-consuming.
“It just wasn’t working for what we expected,” Eddie Kadri, an immigration lawyer, told the CBC last year. “We were forced to divert clients to other programs that were light years ahead of where the Start-up Visa was and where it is now.”
When asked if the government would take steps to address this criticism, Hussen said that the program was focused on quality, not quantity, which was reflected in its numbers. He did not indicate that the government would take steps to address the criticisms.
“Part of the criteria and integrity of the program is based on the fact that the entrepreneur can convince investors in Canada to invest in their idea,” he said. “And that is what IRCC looks at when we’re processing applications. You have to have that seal of approval and credibility from your peers and investors before we even take you seriously.”