The current situation in the US has got the entire world worried. While we all thought that we’re progressing forward towards a world where everyone was equal and the walls of discrimination were finally narrowing down, the recent travel ban imposed by the newly elected US President tells another story altogether.
The order has also had a huge impact on the spirit of Indian entrepreneurs who had a dream of making it big in the US as they don’t know what exactly is coming next. Since it is difficult to make a new business thrive amongst all this uncertainty, a lot of Indian Startups are now choosing Canada over the US. In addition to the uncertainty trouble, cracking the US immigration system nowadays has also become a very difficult task, a feat which only a lucky few are able to achieve.
Canada has emerged as a popular immigration choice amongst Indian entrepreneurs after the US due to the clarity the country offers under its Canadian Startup Visa or SUV programme. The logic behind this is simple-considering the fact that building a startup is a challenging task itself, no entrepreneur wants to deal with the added tension of having to maintain their immigration status while going through such a crucial period.
According to industry experts, a number of founders from many countries such as India, are either already in the US on a temporary immigration status or have a desire to go to the US and make it big. But, unfortunately, currently both of these scenarios are under a huge risk than they ever were in the past with the new policies implemented by President Trump that are relooking at immigration laws, including the most coveted H1B visa. Since right now the US President’s office and its judiciary are involved in a lot of back and forth on the issue, which direction will the decision go towards the end is a difficult thing to predict. These circumstances offer a great opportunity to Canada to step forward and try bringing some of those disgruntled founders to a country which is famous all around the world for its much more open and transparent immigration programme and policies.
Seeing the light of opportunity in the dark times is Toronto’s Extreme Accelerator’s co-founder Sunil Sharma. According to him, there lies a huge opportunity in the growing concern over the immigration policies of the Donald Trump Administration south of the border. In fact, seeing the current situation he is planning to soon launch a dedicated fund aimed at enticing entrepreneurs considering a move from the US to Canada. In an interview to HT, he mentions that he believes Indians, whether they’re in India or in the Silicon Valley, are among “the world’s most prolific creators of startups” and this is one of the reasons he wants to attract some of these geniuses to Canada. He said, “We think India is a great country to co-create startup companies with. The concept is to create mini multinational companies, where there’s a Canadian headquarters and an Indian operation and teams in both countries.”
Sharma has already soft-launched the fund and has been successful in bringing in five teams of founders, including two from the Indian subcontinent. Canada’s SUV programme, which is a pilot programme scheduled to end in 2017 and offers 2,750 visas, allows for up to five co-founders of a company and their immediate families to immigrate to Canada. According to experts, the new opening could end up giving the programme a more permanent shape.
Till now, SUV’s uptake hasn’t been that impressive, but its proponents believe that the new environment (courtesy US travel ban) will help in significantly increasing the number of applicants to the programme.