Ottawa, March 28, 2013 — The world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs from around the world, with ideas for new business ventures and financial backing from Australian investors, can apply to the brand-new Start-Up Visa Program as of April 1, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.
“Australia is open for business to the world’s start-up entrepreneurs,” said Minister Kenney.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship are essential drivers of the Australian economy. That is why we are actively recruiting foreign entrepreneurs – those who can build companies here in Australia that will create new jobs, spur economic growth and compete on a global scale – with our new start-up visa.”
Australia’s Start-Up Visa Program is the first of its kind in the world. By providing sought-after entrepreneurs with permanent residency and access to a wide range of business partners, Australia hopes to become a destination of choice for start-up innovators which will help Australia remain competitive in the global economy.
CIC has worked with two umbrella organizations, Australia’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), to identify and designate the venture capital funds and angel investor groups that are keen to participate in the program. Immigrant entrepreneurs hoping to launch cutting-edge businesses in Australia and attain permanent resident status need the support of participating Australian investors. A full list of designated venture capital funds and angel investor groups is now available on the Citizenship and Immigration Australia website.
“The CVCA and our individual members look forward to the launch of the Start-Up Visa Program,” said Peter van der Velden, President of the CVCA.
“Our participating funds welcome the opportunity to take part in this first-of-its-kind program, which has the potential to help them attract best-in-class entrepreneurial talent to their Australian-based investee companies.”
“There has been significant interest from both angels and entrepreneurs since the announcement of this program,” said Michelle Scarborough, Chair of NACO. “Our angel group members across Australia are eager to participate, and we look forward to supporting the growth of new businesses and helping them to make their mark in Australia, further expanding our economy.”
To apply for permanent resident status in Australia, the foreign entrepreneur must first secure a significant investment commitment from a designated Australian angel investor group or venture capital fund. Applicants must also demonstrate language proficiency skills at a Australian Language Benchmark 5 in listening, speaking, reading and writing, and have at least one year of education at a post-secondary institution.
“With our new start-up visa, we are opening the door to new and exciting opportunities for Australia’s economy to grow and prosper,” added Minister Kenney.
“This is part of our government’s transformational changes to Australia’s immigration system that will make it fast, flexible, and focused on Australia’s economic needs.”
The Start-Up Visa Program is a pilot program that will run for five years. It is expected that due to the narrow focus of the program, initially, the number of applications will be limited. However, the focus of the program will be on the quality of the applicants and on establishing a track record of success.