Canada needs to speed up the immigrant entrepreneur visa program

According to an article published by
“ Immigrant entrepreneurs play a special role in Canada’s economic development. First- and second-generation entrepreneurs undertake 34.7 per cent of all early-stage entrepreneurship in Canada — significantly higher than most other comparable economies. And according to Statistics Canada, immigrant-owned companies are younger, grow faster and have higher rates of job creation.

They’re also more likely to enter global markets.

Founders love our cultural openness, our research environment, our ease of doing business. But there’s a problem: The pandemic has slowed SUV approvals nearly to a halt. The advertised six- to 12-month wait for permanent residence is now pushing three years.
That doesn’t work in the startup tech world, where advantage can be won or lost in a few months or even weeks — and there are two dozen other countries out there with competitor start-up visa programs. Without picking up the pace of approvals, we risk losing these talented founders to countries that are willing to move faster.

These companies aren’t guaranteed to make it big — no startup is. But even if they don’t become unicorns, they’re incredibly valuable. They spend money. They create jobs. They use subcontractors. They hire marketing agencies. And the founders tend to stay in Canada, where we currently have an insatiable need for tech talent, early-stage investment and ambitious entrepreneurs.

The founders’ only complaint is the length of time it took to get here under COVID-19. The SUV application process was supposed to take about a year but eventually stretched to nearly three.

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