April 18, 2012 – Citizenship and Immigration Canada may be testing a new stream of applications for permanent residence in the Economic Immigration Class within a few months. The ‘start-up’ visa, for Business Class applications, would pair new permanent residents with business organizations that have experience mentoring start-up companies. Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenny announced that the start-up visa idea will be shaped by consultations with industry followed by a five-year trial period of the new program. Only 2,750 applications will be accepted in each of these five years.
The current Entrepreneur Class has been subject to a temporary moratorium since July 1, 2011 due to its popularity and a backlog in applications. Additionally, the federal investor program, another stream of economic immigration, was capped at 700 and is also not currently accepting any new applications.
Successful candidates of the Entrepreneur Class, as it is currently defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, would own and manage at least one third of a newly established business in Canada as a permanent resident and create at least one full-time job offered to either a Canadian citizen or permanent resident outside the family. These conditions must be met and continue for at least one year within the first three years of permanent resident status.
Although the government has put such programs on hold, Citizenship and Immigration Canada places great emphasis on the economic benefits of immigration and is focused on policies that maximize this benefit. Between 2006 and 2010, the percentage of permanent residents admitted under the Economic Immigrant Class, in comparison to other classes, has increased approximately ten per cent.