After canceling its previous Investor Immigration Program last year due to complaints that it brought little benefit to both Canada and its citizenry, the Conservative government has now begun to accept applications from up to 500 foreign millionaires interested in investing—and relocating—to Canada.
The Conservative government claims that the replacement for the previous immigrant investor program—titled the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital program—will bring greater benefits to Canada while welcoming needed foreign investment capital. The initial applications for this program will be accepted between January 28th and February 11th, or until the government receives 500 applicants.
In making the announcement, Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said that—unlike the prior immigrant investor program—the new initiative will help ensure that immigrant investors coming to Canada will both benefit the larger Canadian economy and better integrate into Canadian society.
Although the government will be accepting up to 500 applicants under this program, Alexander said that—at least initially—Canada will provide permanent residency to only 60 millionaire investors. The reason for this is that the government hopes to evaluate how well the initial 60 millionaire investors benefit the country’s economy, and integrate into the society before expanding it to hundreds of other applicants.
Under the new program, foreign investors seeking to immigrate to Canada will be required to have a minimum net worth of at least $10 million; in addition, they will be required to make a non-guaranteed investment in Canada of at least $2 million over the course of about 15 years. The funds will be managed by BDC Capital, the business investment arm of the Business Development Bank of Canada.
According to the government, another distinct difference between the new immigrant investor program and its predecessor is that the funds from this program will be primarily distributed to “innovative Canadian startups with high growth potentials.”
At its core, the government believes, the primary objective for this program is to generate jobs within Canada. It remains to be seen if this new immigration program, unlike its predecessor, will accomplish that goal.
For their part, the opposition parties in Canada’s parliament remain skeptical that this new program can or will achieve its goals. In addition, some critics of the new policy –who have deemed this initiative as “cash for citizenship”–say this program gives unfair preference to wealthy immigrants at the expense of poorer immigrants.
New Democratic Party multiculturalism critic Andrew Cash said that this new immigration program is particularly unfair to hundreds of live-in caregiver immigrants who have been unable to attain permanent residency in Canada, some waiting for up to three years for decisions on their immigration applications.4