Potential immigrants with the skills and ability to innovate and add to the growth of the economy will be the targets of a new immigration plan being set up by the government, according to Citizenship and Immigration minister Jason Kenney.
The plan to hasten the immigration process for “high value innovators” will replace the immigrant entrepreneur program which the government stopped last year, according to a report from the Globe and Mail.
“We want the next Bill Gates or the next Steve Jobs. We want those folks with the brilliant ideas that are going to generate sustainable jobs for a long time to come,” Kenney said in an interview with the newspaper.
He said immigrants who can develop small business will still be encouraged to apply but the new program will focus on immigrants with the potential add to the economy by more than just “openning up an convenience store.”
Kenney said Ottawa had to replace the old immigration entrepreneur program because it had become burdensome and overwhelming in terms of results. By the time it was shelved last July, the program had a backlog of nearly 10,000 applicants and had an average approval of 1,000 to 1,500 a year.
“We want to create a policy which is more likely to attract entrepreneurs in areas like technology, energy and environmental innovations. These areas have a lot more potential than just running a kiosk at the mall,” Kenney said.
The new program will be in addition to existing categories in provincial nominee programs which allow provinces to nominate individuals for citizenship based on the provinces own criteria of how they can contribute to the economy and society.