Last week Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, visited Hong Kong to promote Canada as an option to wealth Chinese citizens. A new pilot program is being introduced for affluent individuals which Chris Alexander explained would be released to the public in the upcoming months. The complete interview with the South China Morning Post can be found here.
The budget announced by the federal government in February discontinued the current immigrant investor and entrepreneur programs. Reasons given where to decrease the existing backlog and reduce waiting times for future investor programs. Previously, the investor program was used for individuals who were willing to lend the Canadian government $800,000 free of interest. As a result, these individuals would be given permanent residence in Canada.
The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration is also trying to decrease fraud as individuals who apply for such programs are expected to have the desire to actually move and live in Canada. However, it is possible for individuals to leave Canada and not return once they have fully obtained Canadian citizenship.
According to the budget laid down in February, “there is … little evidence that immigrant investors as a class are maintaining ties to Canada or making a positive economic contribution to the country. Overall, immigrant investors report employment and investment income below Canadian averages and pay significantly lower taxes over a lifetime than other categories of economic immigrants,” And for these reasons the program at the time was closed.
However, in Hong Kong last week Alexander explained that the new pilot program for investors would be available soon. It would have individuals investing at least double the amount as under the old program over a five-year period. Further details regarding the program should be available in the following months.