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.