On January 24, 2013, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, announced a pilot Immigration program, which will likely permanently replace the former Entrepreneur Category of the Business Class, which ceased to accept new Applications as of July 1, 2011.

The new pilot program, “The Start-up Visa Program”, will run for up to five years. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, initially, the number of Applications will be limited because of the program’s narrow focus.

The Start-up Visa Program will link immigrant entrepreneurs with experienced Canadian private sector organizations that have expertise in working with start-ups and who can provide essential resources.

Foreign entrepreneurs will require the support of a Canadian angel investor group, venture capital fund or a business incubator before they can apply to the Start-up Visa Program. In addition to that, foreign entrepreneurs will also have to meet certain criteria regarding language proficiency and educational qualifications.

According to the Government, no longer will entrepreneurs be able to limit investment to small, safe enterprises. Instead, they will now be required to invest in “innovative”, “dynamic” ones that “can compete on a global scale”.

The full set of criteria will be published in the spring of 2013. The Program will open for applications on April 1, 2013. As soon as the criteria are published, they will appear on our website.