stock-photo-peace-bridge-at-sunset-buffalo-ny-an-international-border-crossing-connecting-united-states-and-95360212The US/Canada Peace Bridge may become a path for north-to-south brain-drain

To attract the innovative entrepreneurs other countries don’t seem to value, Canada launched its Start-Up Visa program.  Unlike similar programs, this one offers permanent Canadian residency to entrepreneurs who want to move their startup business to Canada.

Applicants must secure investments of $200,000 from a designated venture capital fund or $75,000 from a designated angel investor.

In a March article in Bloomberg Businessweek, Canada’s immigration head, Jason Kenney, said, “We’re very conscious of the presence of thousands of brilliant young IT specialists and entrepreneurs in the States who are on temporary visas, running out of runway.  Many of them have developed business concepts but can’t get permanent residency in the US.”

Despite many attempts, the US has failed to create a similar program to permanently increase its brain/technical/$$ base.  The current program has an onerous application process, requires a minimum of $500,000 investment and grants only two years of residency.

Elizabeth Stern, head of Baker & McKenzie’s Global Immigration & Mobility Practice Group, says it’s easy to overstate Canada’s advantage over the US because Canada has traditionally been more welcoming of immigrants, particularly entrepreneurial immigrants, than has the US.

Stern said, “Canada’s program is probably the most generous that I’ve seen.”

“If you look at established companies, they’re typically not expanding their workforce in the US and other developed markets.  (Canada is) recognizing that the new growth in developed markets is coming from startups and new businesses.”

My Take on the situation:  Our well-earned loss; Canada’s gain.

Sources:   Smart Planet Daily, April 1, 2013        Quartz, April 1, 2013


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