New immigration program nets 2,000 foreign workers since June
Uncertain about the prospects of gay marriage in Australia a year ago, Jordan and Lee Brighton were determined to find a new country in which to settle with their two children and launch their third startup.
“Canada is a beautiful bubble, and we love it,” said Jordan, CEO and co-founder of Vancouver-based virtual reality firm Virtro Entertainment Inc.
After doing some reconnaissance in Vancouver and Toronto, the couple applied to get into Canada in December 2016 through the Start-up Visa pilot.
The program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the promise of permanent residency if they get support from a venture capital group, an angel investor group or a business incubator to launch a startup in Canada.
The Start-up Visa pilot was introduced in April 2013.
It delivered 117 visas to applicants over four years before the federal government announced in July it would make the program permanent next year. As of September 30, another 21 applicants have been approved.
There’s no precise data on the number of immigrants who have founded tech startups in Canada but a 2016 study from the National Foundation for American Policy determined immigrants founded 44 out of 87 U.S. startups valued at US$1 billion or more.
Next month will mark the launch of Virtro’s first product: Run Dorothy Run, a VR game following players as they zip through fantasy worlds inspired by The Wizard of Oz.
The quick turnaround comes even after the Brightons had to sit out of business operations as they awaited permanent residency while on visitor visas.
“The business employed people, but I wasn’t an active participant in the first few months,” Jordan Brighton said. “It’s tricky doing an immigration process and a business process at the same time because they’re a little at odds with each other.”
Virtro employs five full-time and five part-time workers, and Jordan expects to ramp up hiring in January. Read the entire article in Business in Vancouver