The Canadian Start-Up Visa program initially started as a five-year pilot scheme. Coming about as a response to the US Start-Up Visa Act of 2011, the program’s initiative was to attract entrepreneurs who would otherwise have landed across the border in the US. In April 2013, the program replaced Canada’s existing Entrepreneur Class Visa.
In its infancy, the program only attracted a handful of immigrants, although was still hailed a success. One of the program’s architects, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney spoke at Stanford University, in the heart of Silicon Valley about the potential opportunities the program presented.
South of the border, the United States’stringent requirements meant lengthy processing times with temporary visas, investment capital, and proven net worth all stipulations of their program. Canada’s Start-Up Visa (SUV)remains virtually restriction-free, requiring only proficiency in English or French, a minimum of one-year post-secondary education, and an innovative idea.
With the unconditional permanent residency status available for successful applicants immediately, the program certainly outshines the US proposition. There are no provincial restrictions to Canada’s SUV, allowing settlement anywhere in the country. Additionally, rather than making an investment, venture capital firms and angel investors are waiting to invest in the applicant’s prospective business model.
By removing the red tape from the process, to date, the program is held responsible for over two hundred successful start-ups. Included among them is Apply Board. Founded in 2015 by Iranian brothers Meti, Martin, and MassiBasiri, the application brings together students, academic institutions, and recruitment partners in one platform. Here more than 200,000 students have found assistance applying to educational institutions worldwide.
With 900 employees, 27 investors and named by Deloitte as one of Canada’s fastest-growing businesses, ApplyBoardis the perfect example of the program’s success.
As the Canada start-up visa program further evolves, the government now allows for applicants who attain certain skills but perhaps not an innovative business idea, to be grouped under founder’s with an innovative idea and thereby contribute to the start-up and obtain a visa.
Of course, many more success stories can be directly attributed to the program which was made permanent in 2018. Toronto has now established itself as one of the top 5 tech talent markets in North America. With the drive to attract more FinTech, EdTech, Healthcare Tech, and aerospace innovators continuing through programs such as the SUV, it will undoubtedly continue for many years to come.
Along with Canada’s excellent eco-system, stable economy, highly rated living standards, and diverse population, the program offers a great opportunity for would-be entrepreneurs. Canada, in return, reaps the benefits of innovative businesses and corporations settling throughout its provinces and boosts job markets and economic growth across the nation.