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Canada plans to create new class of visa to attract start-up entrepreneurs

OTTAWA--Canada plans to create a new class of visa that it hopes will attract high-tech and other entrepreneurs to immigrate to the country to start new companies, officials said on Tuesday.

It has put a moratorium on issuing its existing entrepreneur visa, which only required an immigrant to hire one person for one year, and intends to initiate a visa that would be issued to people identified by venture capital funds as candidates to create start-up firms in Canada. The venture funds would be required to invest in the start-ups.

The start-up visa is one of several changes being undertaken by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in what he says is an effort to make the immigration system more responsive to Canada's economic needs.

“Canada seeks young, ambitious, innovative immigrants who will contribute to Canada's job growth and further drive our economy,” said Kenney's press secretary, Alexis Pavlich.

“The start-up visa is an initiative that the government of Canada is exploring to assist in transforming our immigration system into a fast, fair and flexible system that will meet the needs of our economy and help grow our country.”

Venture investment funds would choose entrepreneurs in whom they would invest, and the government would try to clear them for entry into Canada within weeks.

The idea is to unite Canadian money and foreign brains.

An initial source of candidates could be frustrated foreigners in the high-tech sector in the United States who have not been able to land resident status there.

“This program will link brilliant, job-creating, immigrant entrepreneurs with Canadian investors. We want the world's best and brightest to come to Canada — to start businesses and to create jobs in Canada,” Pavlich said.

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