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Citizenship and Immigration Canada Announces Start-up Visa Program

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Citizen Jason Kenney (the Immigration Minister) has announced that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will launch a Start-Up Visa Program to recruit innovative immigrant entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and spur economic growth. A “start-up” visa program differs from existing investor and entrepreneur options to the extent that the entrepreneur would not need to be the source of investment capital. Such a program would enable entrepreneurs who establish start-up businesses using capital contributed by third parties, such as venture capital firms or angel investors, to seek permanent residence in Canada. Pursuant to agreements signed with CIC, these organizations will recommend which of their members should be designated as eligible to participate in the Start-Up Visa Program, establish expert peer review panels to assist CIC officers in case determinations, and provide assurance that industry standards of due diligence were followed. Foreign entrepreneurs will have to meet certain criteria regarding language proficiency and educational qualifications. The Start-Up Visa Program is a pilot program that will commence on April 1, 2013, and will run for five years.

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