A Canadian Investment Oddity

Over the last few months, we’ve looked at the investment routes into the UK so in this weeks blog, Antonio Lam, an investor visa specialist at Newland Chase, looks at Canada’s investor visa route.

Canada has always been one of the most favoured destinations for migrants to settle. The reasons are almost self-explanatory, great health system, a safe and beautiful haven and one of the best places to live in the world.

More importantly, high-net-worth individuals view Canada as one of the best countries to move to because the investment amount has always been one of the lowest in the world. Previously with only $400,000 CDN, and a net-worth of $800,000 CDN, an investor can enter Canada as a Permanent Resident immediately upon arrival. The only condition is for them to invest their $400,000CDN into a zero-rate loan to the government which is returnable after 5 years. Quotas are filled in a matter of days every time the CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) announced a quota.

The investment frenzy has been on-going for many years and the Government has put up the investment fund from $400,000CDN to $800,000CDN in an attempt to curb the popularity whilst maintaining a balance of investments. However, the increase of popularity actually appeared to have risen rather than dropped. As a last resort, the Federal Immigration Investment option has been put to a halt from 1 July 2012 as mounting applications created a huge backlog on decisions in Ottawa. The Canadian government has yet to announce a re-opening date for the Federal Investment Immigration programme.

In the meantime, the Francophone province does not appear to be experiencing Ottawa’s woes as they only need to deal with their own applications (unlike Ottawa which deals with all other applications). Quebec’s own Provincial Investment Immigration programme continues to operate and thrive, attracting tens of millions of dollars for the Quebecois government to invest as they wish.

In fact, the programme is so popular that the Quebecois government also announced a short window from 1 August 2013 to 15 August 2013 to open up a quota of about 1,750 applications. No doubt this quota is being filled as we report.

However, other provinces are raising their eyebrows and their eyes are green with envy. Quebec is receiving all the investments whilst they are “lumped with the migrants” was the apparent message from one of the provinces: 

In a recent article from the Vancouver Sun on 2 August 2013, it reflected a sentiment that Quebec is getting all the perks but not migrants themselves. This sentiment appeared to be shared by the current Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. It appears to show that British Colombia and other provinces appear to be the final destination of these investor migrants using the Quebec’s investment immigration programme as a stepping stone to the rest of Canada rather than remaining or even passing through Quebec.

This is a deep routed problem which has only now begun to surface due to the huge influx of investor migrants applying to Quebec after the suspension of the federal Investor Immigration programme.

The fight between the provinces will also hot up as Quebec announces that they expect 5,000 – 7,000 business and investment migrants coming through to Canada in 2013.

Ottawa ought to ensure federal and provincial rules are in place to protect Quebec and other provinces without sending the wrong message to the world that Canadian Investment Immigration programmes are uncontrollable and uninviting.

On the same note, investors are unlikely to worry themselves with Canada’s internal turmoil and no doubt will continue to file in their applications as quota are announced.

If you have any queries about this blog or have an interest in immigration to Canada, contact us or call +44 (0) 207 001 2121.

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