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Canada welcomes Pakistani tech start-ups with open arms

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News Desk |

According to a new visa programme offered by the Canadian government, Pakistani tech start-ups and entrepreneurs will be given greater access to the Toronto-Waterloo region, often branded as the Silicon Valley of the North and home to thousands of tech start-ups and international companies.

“Momentum Pakistan” founder Amir Jafri told the press that a representative of Accelerator Centre based in the Canadian Silicon Valley had unveiled features of the visa programme for Pakistani tech start-ups and entrepreneurs at the Momentum Pakistan 2018.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has advocated a new category of post-study work visas. In his blueprint paper ’Immigration, a future approach’, Khan had pointed to dwindling international student numbers.

Momentum Pakistan is a leading tech-entrepreneurial incubator that held its first conference in February 2017. The event had all of 6800 plus in attendance, 48 startup exhibitors and more than 50 expert speakers for the two-day conference which opened to positive reviews from the press.

The Canadian government is offering to provide a 52-week work permit or permanent residency to Pakistani tech start-ups. The mega event, Momentum Pakistan 2018, is bringing the digital world’s giants like Facebook, Amazon Web Services, IBM, Microsoft and several others to Karachi on February 19th and 20th where their representatives will engage in mentoring and supporting Pakistani entrepreneurs and start-ups professionally and financially.

Read more: Daughter of Pakistan shines at Oxford University

Apart from this, Premier Pakistani and international companies will discuss sharing their APIs (Application Programming Interface) with other start-ups. With international tech companies reaching out to Pakistani start-ups, the Canadian government’s visa programme will act like a catalyst for Pakistani start-ups to develop their respective brands and build their businesses in international markets.

“The new rule will enable them to apply for a Tier-2 visa a few months earlier than what would otherwise have been possible,” elaborated a newsletter by EY-UK, one of the big 4 business consultancies.

“The start-ups need not relocate to Canada at all,” Jafri said, quoting Cam Wind of the Accelerator Centre’s Startup Visa Programme. The Canadian incubator’s representative is likely to attend the Momentum Pakistan 2018 event in Karachi to interact with and support the start-ups. Its officials will also address Pakistani start-ups’ concerns about the visa programme once a month through a video session using the Momentum Pakistan 2018 platform.

Quoting Cam Wind, Jafri said Pakistani start-ups could keep their operations in Pakistan while the visa would facilitate them in working under Canadian entrepreneurial-friendly systems.

Read more: This 10 year old has a plan to clean Pakistan

Those granted visas will have access to all Canadian corporate programmes, mentors and other resources during the 52-week stay in Canada. Cam Wind said preference would be given to start-ups with innovative technology-based initiatives, not services, and with a history of impressive revenue generation, a strong founding team, a clear future vision and a growth perspective. Jafri also said the start-ups could accelerate rapidly in collaboration with the international market and penetration in the Canadian market.

This gave students only a small timeframe to find a job while still in the UK. For instance, students opting for higher education, such as a PG degree, had to wait for their thesis to be marked or a degree to be awarded.

Since getting a visa for developed countries has become difficult for Pakistani entrepreneurs, the Canadian government’s offer could be a game changer, he said, adding the presence of the Canadian Silicon Valley’s representatives would open new avenues for the local start-ups.

On the British end of things, the UK government has relaxed its policy for International students in the UK who will soon enjoy more flexibility in switching over to work visas, with new immigration rules set to be introduced from January 11th, a publication reported.

As per the new regulations, foreign students will be able to switch over to Tier-2 visas (or skilled worker visa) as soon as they complete their respective course. According to current norms, the students must wait until they obtain a degree to apply for the Tier-2 visa.

Read more: New research shows that number ‘zero’ was invented in Pakistan…

Quoting Cam Wind, Jafri said Pakistani start-ups could keep their operations in Pakistan while the visa would facilitate them in working under Canadian entrepreneurial-friendly systems.

This gave students only a small timeframe to find a job while still in the UK. For instance, students opting for higher education, such as a PG degree, had to wait for their thesis to be marked or a degree to be awarded after completing their course before they could apply for a work visa.

“The new rule will enable them to apply for a Tier-2 visa a few months earlier than what would otherwise have been possible,” elaborated a newsletter by EY-UK, one of the big 4 business consultancies. Association of Certified Chartered Accountancy takes the largest number of international students to the UK per year.

Read more: Why boundaries in music exist between India & Pakistan?

London mayor Sadiq Khan has advocated a new category of post-study work visas. In his blueprint paper ’Immigration, a future approach’, Khan had pointed to dwindling international student numbers. His suggestion was that a post-study work visa should be distinct from the Tier-2 route and should enable students to work in the UK for 12-24 months, after graduation.


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