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Canada seeks 50 millionaire immigrant investors under pilot program
The Canadian government will give permanent residency to approximately 50 millionaire immigrant investors and their families under a pilot program set to begin in the new year. Under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital pilot program announced Tuesday, each investor will be required to make a non-guaranteed investment of $2 million over 15 years and have a net worth of $10 million. “Through the launch of this pilot program, we are attracting investors who can make a significant investment and who have the education and proven business or investment experience necessary to achieve success in Canada,” Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said in a news release Tuesday. “The funds will be invested in innovative Canadian-based start-ups with high growth potential.” Industry Minister James Moore said the pilot program was part of Canada’s efforts “to attract experienced business leaders to Canada while leveraging their business expertise and personal investments.” The government said it will begin accepting applications under the pilot project in late January. GO PUBLIC | Permanent residency spouse sponsorship delays leave thousands in limbo This is the second pilot program announced by Alexander’s office this week. The government announced Monday it will be launching a one year pilot project to help the spouses of Canadians who have applied for permanent residency. The announcement came after the CBC Go Public team reported that thousands of Canadian families are living in limbo, unable to work and without health coverage, due to lengthy processing times. “Citizenship and Immigration Canada will take the necessary steps to speed up processing for work permit applicants in the inland spousal class while maintaining program integrity,” Kevin Ménard told CBC News in an email. “This pilot program will ensure that, during the processing period, applicants will be able to work, provide for their families and contribute to the Canadian economy.” ‘Cash for citizenship’ The Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) pilot program comes after the government scrapped both the immigrant investor program and the entrepreneur program earlier this year. Launched in 1986, the immigrant investor program offered visas to business people with a net worth of at least $1.6 million who were willing to lend $800,000 to the Canadian government for a term of five years. The government said it cancelled the immigrant investor program — which critics had described as “cash for citizenship” — because it had been riddled with fraud. The program had also been put on hold in 2012 due to a huge backlog of applications. Thousands of millionaires who had been waiting for permanent residency under the program sued the federal government after it wiped out the backlog of applications. A Federal Court judge ruled against the more than 1,000 would-be investor immigrants in June. The government promises to have more details once the pilot program is launched.
Scrapped ‘millionaire visa’ could become subject of lawsuit
Representatives of some 40 organizations in Metro Vancouver say they are considering taking legal action against the federal government after it scrapped the Immigrant Investor Program. The Immigrant Investor Program, launched in 1986, offered visas to business people whose net worth totaled at least $1.6 million and who were willing to lend the Canadian government $800,000 interest-free over the course of five years. Last month, the government announced it was ending the program, and scrapping up to 65,000 “millionaire visa” applications backlogged worldwide. B.C. property market hazy after ‘millionaire visa’ scrapped “This was not a program that was generating jobs, growth, opportunity in Canada and it was certainly not a program that was getting the immigrant investors we wanted,” said Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander. Now representatives of Lower Mainland organizations are angry, and are considering taking legal against the federal government. “There’s a doctrine of legitimate expectation. People put in the application expecting that something’s going to happen, but all of a sudden all they knew everything’s cancelled, funds refunded,” said immigration lawyer Chris Ho. ‘Everybody is suffering’ Immigration consultant Sophia Huang has helped people navigate the immigration process for 22 years, and says she deals with some 2,000 people annually. She says the cancellation of the Immigrant Investor Program is bad news for her business. “Absolutely. Everybody is suffering,” she said. “On investor program we charge about 10,000 Canadian dollars. This is standard fee,” she said. Realtor Samuel Cheung says Vancouver has been a popular destination for people immigrating to Canada under the Immigrant Investor Program, particularly from China. “They bought houses from here because they’re ready for immigration, because they apply for more than three years. They almost here. Almost the last step is coming to Canada.” Without the millionaire visa program, some say that last step has been made a little bit harder. ‘You close one window, there’s 44 left’ However, at least one immigration policy analyst says wealthy foreigners still have other ways to immigrate to Canada. “It’s like a house with 45 windows. You close one window, there’s 44 left,” said Richard Kurland. “They can come under provincial immigration programs, business economic programs, the new start up visa program. There’s no end to this stuff.” With files from the CBC’s Belle Puri
60 Millionaire Immigrant Investors To Be Offered Permanent Residency
Canada will start accepting applications from millionaire immigrant investors and their families on Wednesday under a revamped version of a program critics once denounced as “cash for citizenship.” The government announced in December it would give permanent residency to international investors who can invest $2 million in Canada, in an effort to attract experienced business people who could give the Canadian economy a boost. The new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital program will open on Jan. 28 to Feb. 11 or until a maximum of 500 applications are received, the government quietly announced before MPs returned to Ottawa this week. “This pilot program is designed to attract immigrant investors who will significantly benefit the Canadian economy and better integrate into our society, which will contribute to our long-term prosperity and economic growth,” Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said in a written statement. No more than 60 principal applicants will receive permanent resident visas under the pilot program, even though the government says it will accept up to 500 applications. Each investor will be required to make a non-guaranteed investment of $2 million over approximately 15 years into a fund managed principally by BDC Capital, the investment arm of the Business Development Bank of Canada. The government said the fund “will invest in innovative Canadian startups with high growth potential.” “Proceeds from the IIVC fund will be distributed to the immigrant investors periodically… based on the performance of the investments,” a spokesman for Alexander said in an email to CBC News. The details of the program along with the selection criteria to apply appear in the latest ministerial instructions published in a government publication over the weekend. Investors contributed ‘little’ The government is hoping to have better luck with this program than it did with the last one. “Under the former Immigrant Investor Program (IIP), immigrant investors had to invest $800,000 in Canada’s economy in the form of a repayable loan, without meeting skills and abilities requirements of most of Canada’s economic immigration programs,” the government acknowledged in a public statement before MPs returned to Ottawa this week. “Research indicated that immigrant investors under the previous program were less likely than other immigrants to stay in Canada over the medium to long term. Also, they contributed relatively little to the Canadian economy, earning very little income and paying very little tax.” The pilot immigrant investor program comes after the government said it scrapped the old program — which critics had described as “cash for citizenship — because it had been riddled with fraud. The program had also been put on hold in 2012 because of a huge backlog of applications. Thousands of millionaires who had been waiting for permanent residency under the program sued the federal government after it wiped out the backlog of applications. A Federal Court judge ruled against the more than 1,000 would-be investor immigrants last June.