James Metcalfe – Pace Immigration: Citizenship and Immigration Canada has launched a new program called the Start-Up Visa to replace the old Entrepreneur program which slowly slipped into history 2 years ago. The Entrepreneur program was discontinued because it did not meet the objective of creating the type of economic activity desired by the government. There was poor enforcement by the department responsible for ensuring applicants met the terms and conditions of the issuance of their visas. Consequently, the program was discontinued.
The new Start-Up Visa will require a more objective analysis of the business plan of the applicant. The program will concentrate on new ideas, new processes, and new products.
The government has enlisted the help of two organizations – one representing so-called Angel Investors, and the 2nd representing Venture Capitalists. These people will assess the proposals and, if they are deemed viable, will be prepared to financially support the projects. By doing so, the government hopes that new opportunities will be created in Canada in various areas, including the high-tech industries.
Whether this new program will be successful can only be judged in the fullness of time. The government expects that they will process about 2700 applications per year in this category. However, I am not optimistic that they will reach that number of successful applicants. Hopefully, as applicants become familiar with the program, it will snowball and we will be hearing success stories. Realistically, though, I don’t expect to see anything substantial until the 3rd or 4th year of the program.