Immigration expert warns that Canada’s new visa program could cost U.S. in “war for global talent”

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Canada's newest immigration policy — the Start-up Visa Program — is being lauded by analysts in the United States.

As April 1st, foreign start-up entrepreneurs can apply for immigration if they have a start-up business idea and a funding commitment from a designated Venture Capital Organization or Angel Investor in Canada.

[ Related: Ottawa's Startup Visa Program will fast-track new Canadians ]

The rationale behind the program, of course, is to attract newcomers who can create jobs in Canada.

A writer for CNN Money asks, "on immigration, should America be more like Canada?"

As debates over U.S. immigration policy reform continue, it's worth asking if the U.S should take Canada's lead. On Monday, our northern neighbor launched a new visa program designed to lure the best and the brightest entrepreneurs from around the world.

It's clear foreigners have an interest in doing more business in the U.S. The question is, however: Is America willing -- and more importantly, able -- to compete with the rest of the world? Canada included.

According to VentureBeat.com, the new program could cost the U.S. in the "war for talent" and lead to a "Silicon Valley North."

Foreign entrepreneurs are in demand, particularly those with engineering skills. Canadian policymakers hopes its new program will support new ventures, stimulate jobs creation, and bolster the region’s claim as a technology hub.

"The U.S. will lose the war for global talent if it does not follow suit and reform the U.S. immigration system to include a visa program for startups and foreign entrepreneurs," said Susan J. Cohen, resident immigration expert at legal firm Mintz Levin.

[ Related: Canada's immigration number peaking for seventh consecutive year ]

For the past decade, the U.K., New Zealand and Australia, in particular, have been proactive in luring entrepreneurial migrants, and thus have made the business of immigration increasingly competitive.

Immigration attorney Michael Niren thinks the Start-up Visa program does indeed give Canada a leg-up on the United States.

"I think the Start Up Visa program is a great development for Canada amidst of some very negative policy initiatives," he told Yahoo! Canada News.

"American's should worry that Canada and other countries with similar programs will be attracting away the best and the brightest. The US is behind when to comes to its business immigration program which needs a serious make over especially in light of its economic crises."

Niren adds that his law firm is already getting a lot of calls about the new program.

"I would not be surprised if it becomes the main means business applicants come to Canada," he said.

"But it remains to be seen how [Citizenship and Immigration Canada] will process these cases in terms of efficiency and adjudication. Lot's of high hopes but until we have the numbers, we won't know if the program is a success."

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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