04/18/2012 11:20 EDT | Updated 06/18/2012 05:12 EDT

Canada Considers Immigrant Stream For Entrepreneurs


Canada is looking at opening a special immigration stream for entrepreneurs with good startup ideas, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said today.

Kenney has launched consultations with industry associations about the possible program and ways to link immigrant entrepreneurs with private-sector groups.

If it goes ahead, the program would run for five years and be limited to 2,750 applications a year. If that tryout is successful, Citizenship and Immigration Canada could introduce it formally through regulatory changes.

"We need to proactively target a new type of immigrant entrepreneur who has the potential to build innovative companies that can compete on a global scale and create jobs for Canadians," Kenney said in a news release.

The government is looking at a number of small, short-term programs to attract entrepreneurs.

Last week, Kenney announced consultations on changing the immigrant investor program, which requires a five-year investment of $800,000.

This week, he said the government is cutting in half — from 24 to 12 months — the required Canadian work experience needed for foreign workers to apply for citizenship.

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