01/24/2013 11:51 EST | Updated 03/26/2013 05:12 EDT

Start-Up Visa: Canada To Launch New Immigration Program In April


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.

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