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The Globe and Mail

Kenney pushes new visa plan in Silicon Valley

Billboard erected by the Canadian government in Silicon Valley.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is heading to Silicon Valley this weekend to lure high-tech immigrant entrepreneurs to Canada, dangling a new recruitment program that offers immediate permanent residency to qualifying foreigners.

Canada has designed its new Start-up Visa program to make the country more attractive than the United States, where many foreign high-tech workers languish with temporary U.S. visas.

Canada finds itself under pressure to more efficiently and quickly recruit skilled immigrants because it's now in increased competition with other industrialized countries looking for the same people and trying to make up for low birth rates.

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During his trip, Mr. Kenney is attending the TiECON conference, a major gathering of entrepreneurs with strong ties to the South Asian business community, including India.

He'll speak with high-tech executives, meet with venture capitalists and address students and teachers at Stanford University.

To drive home its point, the Canadian government has erected a big billboard on a highway that connects the San Francisco airport and Silicon Valley.

Featuring a huge maple leaf, the billboard says: "H1-B problems?" referring to a common U.S. visa for high-tech workers. "Pivot to Canada. New Start-up Visa. Low Taxes," it reads, offering a Web address to read about the visa.

The program offers permanent residency to immigrant entrepreneurs who are able to secure funding from Canadian investors.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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