TORONTO - A new program designed to lure start-up companies and entrepreneurs to Canada will launch in April.
The start-up visa will be limited to those who already have the backing of a venture capital firm in Canada.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says it's aimed at enticing the best and brightest minds around the world to start new businesses in Canada.
The government will grant a maximum of 2,750 visas a year for each of the five years of the pilot program.
But Kenney says he only expects to see a few hundred people come through the program in the first year as companies figure out how it works.
The program is billed as the first of its kind because it offers applicants permanent residency, as opposed to programs in other countries which only offer temporary status.
The new visa seeks to replaces two older immigration programs aimed at would-be business owners.
The investor program and entrepreneur program were put on hold after the government decided they weren't luring enough real business to Canada.
But some caught up in a backlog of applications under those old programs are now suing the government, demanding their applications be processed.
William Lin owns the Best Convenience store in Toronto.
Lin moved to Canada in 1999 from Gutian county, in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian.
He had almost 10 years of experience as a mechanical engineer and a bachelor's degree from one of the most prestigious schools in China.
In the points system that Canada uses to determine eligible skilled immigrants, Lin scored above average, and Canada listed his profession as in-demand.
Lin remembers scoring about 10 points in the language category, a low mark for which he was able to compensate with stronger performances in the other sections. The new minimum threshold means an applicant would have to score the equivalent of 16 points even to be considered.
Lin only had one interview, a 10-minute meeting in downtown Toronto for a computer-aided design job. He never got a call back.
Though he knows he is more than qualified to do the work, Lin keeps thinking of all his disadvantages: the fact that he hasn't been practising for a few years, and namely, that he isn't Canadian.
Lin says he would move to China in a second and resume his professional career.
But his family's roots, including two sons, are now planted in Canada.
Lin cares about his son's academic success. His 15-year-old son Andy goes to sea cadet training, and on Sundays, he takes piano lessons, working his way toward Grade 10 certification. Yin works hard so his sons may have jobs that would justify his decision to move to Canada