Wealthy Chinese immigrant investors, along with wealthy immigrants worldwide, have shown virtually no interest in a highly touted new Canadian immigration program designed to attract wealthy investors from around the world.
In the wake of the cancellation of the prior Canadian Immigrant Investor Program (IIP), which even the government agreed failed to attract either long-term investments or immigrants willing to both permanently relocate or invest in Canada, the Canadian government introduced the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital program to attract wealthy immigrant investors—most of whom had in the past been Chinese.
Just how little interest has there been so far in the new Canadian immigrant investor program?
According to a report in the South China Morning Post, a request for information from the government confirmed the new program has garnered a grand total of only six applications worldwide since its inception earlier this year.
It’s also worth noting that the program’s predecessor, Canada’s IIP program, was among the world’s most popular immigration program for wealthy immigrants, as seen by the thousands of backlog applications the program had on file before it was ended.
Critics of the new immigration program were quick to pounce on the perceived flaws, with many pointing out that it called for wealthy immigrants to make long-term economic and personal commitments without appropriate promises of returns on their investments.
Hong Kong immigration lawyer Jean-Francois Harvey said the new Canadian immigration program was “ridiculous”, in that it required applicants with personal wealth of more than $10 million to invest at least $2 million in Canadian ‘start-up’ businesses in exchange for permanent residency in Canada. However, applicants would face strict audits of their personal wealth, as well as having to meet high standards for their education and language skills.
Harvey, whose immigration law firm works in various countries worldwide, said the new Canadian wealthy immigrant program failed to meet the standards of similar programs offered in other countries. He cited as one example the immigration program offered by Portugal, which offered permanent residency for immigrants willing to invest at least 500,000 Euros (approximately $700,000 US dollars) in Portuguese real estate that they retained for at least five years.
Under the previous Canadian program, immigrant investors had to invest $800,000 for five years, which was guaranteed to be returned in full. Under the new replacement program, the required $2 million investment is held by the Canadian government for up to 15 years, and no return is guaranteed.
In fact, Harvey said he believed the new Canadian immigration program was specifically designed to discourage Chinese immigrants from considering Canada as a destination, and that the program was a “not so-subtle way to block the Chinese applicant.”
According to government data, despite pushing the application date back until the end of the year, the number of applicants for the new Canadian wealthy immigrant investor program remains in the single digits.
While there continues to be a good deal of paperwork involved in the application process for those seeking to immigrate to Canada, the days of using actual paper to complete the immigration process are rapidly coming to an end.
The advent of the Internet has, of course, changed the way business is conducted around the world—including the business of governments. That is especially true when it comes to immigrating to Canada, given the recent changes to Canadian immigration law, and most notably the Express Entry immigration system.
Under Express Entry—from the very outset—the immigration process begins online. Would-be immigrants to Canada create an Express Entry online ‘profile’, outlining their personal history, including education, employment, language ability as well as other abilities. If the candidate meets the government’s criteria, then the immigration applicant’s name is placed in an—online—pool of candidates.
In keeping with the computerized immigration process, applicants without a Canadian job offer or a nomination from a province or territory must then register—online—with the federal government’s job bank; that web site offers an online search tool designed to match candidates with jobs in Canada based on their skills, knowledge and experience.
In addition, those selected from the pool applying for permanent residence in Canada, will also be using their computer to proceed in the application process. Those chosen to proceed will be asked to submit an electronic application in order to move forward in the permanent residence process.
The most recent example of how critically important the Internet has become to the immigration procedures in Canada is Saskatchewan’s move to online applications for its new “Saskatchewan Express Entry” program.
The new Saskatchewan immigration category is expected to add 775 immigrant positions to the province’s immigrant nominee program. Instead of utilizing the previous ‘first come, first served’ system, the new online program is designed to try and match immigrants to the current job openings in the province.
Much like the federal Express Entry system, the online applications of Saskatchewan’s new program are expected to be processed much faster than applications were in the past.
However, online immigration applications do not necessarily guarantee rapid processing.
One of the more prominent examples of this continues to be Canadian immigration officials’ slow processing of visa applications from international students seeking to study in Canada. A recent Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) report found that international student visas are taking weeks longer to process in Canada than in other Western countries such as the United States or Great Britain.
The CIC report cites a lack of available federal resources needed to meet the growing demand for international student visas to Canada; critics point out that rapid processing of student visa applications is seen as a critical element in order to attract the top tier of international students.
Coming on the heels of the introduction of the Express Entry program, the CIC report appears to indicate that while online, computerized applications—such as Express Entry’s–can help to cut processing times, it may all be for naught if additional resources aren’t delegated to immigration programs.
A growing chorus of government critics and advocates of Canadian immigrants are calling on reforms to the country’s immigration bureaucracy that they accuse of making large mistakes in processing applications.
Recent internal government reviews of the Canadian Immigration & Citizenship (CIC) revealed what was described as a “high error rate” in processing permanent residency applications and refugee permits. The consequences of the CIC “human errors” is often quite severe, often resulting in preventing immigrants from successfully completing their immigration to Canada. Although there were multiple areas identified as problems, the most concerning were CIC immigration letters—many either not sent, or sent as incomplete—that have negatively impacted many immigration applications.
In a recent high-profile report, The Toronto Star—Canada’s largest newspaper—found that the recent casualties of CIC immigration errors included:
- A man facing deportation to China after his application for a spousal sponsorship was rejected because he hadn’t responded to requests for more documentation—both he and his lawyer insist they never received any letter
- A foreign student from India who received a new student visa that had already expired and
- A Jamaican man who received a notice of his application being processed, only to be told months later that no one knew where his file was located.
In the wake of these bureaucratic mistakes, many critics are calling on the Canadian government to introduce tighter controls on how immigration applications are processed; given the potential consequences of these errors, critics say that government needs to do all it can to minimize the number of mistakes that occur during the application process.
Critics point to the particular case of Chinese immigrant De Wei Gao as a classic example of the serious consequences resulting from bureaucratic error. Last November, Gao received an emailed rejection letter on his spousal sponsorship that said he had failed to respond to requests for his passport and police clearance documents. Gao’s attorney claims that he had never received the government request for information and therefore could not have been expected to respond.
As a result of this situation, Gao is now facing deportation back to China. After his attorney spoke to the press and raised the specter of taking his case to court, the government agreed to review his case one more time.
An internal examination of the immigration processing center in Vegreville, Alberta, revealed that of the 996 cases reviewed, officials found “human errors” by bureaucrats in 617 of the request letters sent to immigration applicants. The type of mistakes that were found ranged from failing to use the correct form letters, to missing documents, and providing immigration applicants with incorrect deadlines for their applications.
Yet, despite all the bureaucratic errors found by officials, a CIC representative still claimed that the department “has moved to a system of ensuring perfected applications are handed in at the beginning of the process”, and added that “with this practice, we have been able to identify missing or invalid information earlier.”
When your name officially changes you will have to have your name changed on all of your official documentation including your PR Card.
While you and the people who are close enough can recognize that you are the same person as before your name change, a government official is unlikely to be that familiar with who you are. That’s why it’s important to have a trail of documentation.
For most people, the reason for changing one’s name is typically a marriage. The name change is documented in the marriage certificate and is an important part of showing that your name has changed legally.
If there is another reason for why you are changing your name, you will have to provide similar documentation more appropriate for your case.
Why Get a New PR Card
Getting a new PR Card is something that most immigrants in Canada should do regularly. Although a person’s immigration status does not disappear as their PR Card expires, it does make it somewhat difficult to do certain things without a PR Card.
You’ll need a PR Card to
- Apply for Employment Insurance
- Health Care
- Get a driver’s license (in fact, PR Cards are great forms of personal identification)
PR Cards typically expire every 10 years (unless you have a conditional PR Card, in which case it will expire earlier), but you may have to have it replaced earlier. As is the case if it is lost, stolen, damaged or if any of the information on it has changed.
Changing your name is among those reasons.
How to Get a New PR Card
Citizenship and Immigration Canada conveniently uses largely only one application for PR Cards.
If you need to get a new PR Card you should use Form IMM 5444. There will be a field on this form for why you need a new PR Card. If your name has changed you will check that reason on the form.
You will also need to submit identification that shows that you have changed your name as mentioned previously in this post.
How Much Does it Cost and How Long will it take?
Getting a new PR Card comes with a fee of $50 dollars for name change.
The processing time listed by the CIC is the amount of time that it takes to process 80% of PR Cards. This listing is helpful for finding out how long it will take for you to receive your new PR Card after you have filed.
The processing time for a new PR Card is 89 days, or about three months.
However, there are other ways to return to Canada and renew one’s permanent resident card once one has returned.
Renewing Before Your Trip
Citizenship and Immigration Canada encourages Permanent Residents to arrange for their PR Cards to be current for the entire time that you are outside of the country.
If it looks like your PR Card may expire while you are abroad it might be a good idea to apply for a renewal before you leave on your trip.
If you already have your ticket arranged for travels or some other proof of your trip you can use that as evidence for an expedited PR Card renewal!
Renewing a PR Card is easier than the process of getting back into Canada from abroad without a PR Card. However, there are some situations in which that problem is unavoidable.
What to Do if Your PR Card Expires While You Are Abroad
If you are outside of Canada when your PR Card expires or if it gets lost, stolen or destroyed somehow you can’t have it replaced immediately. You can follow the process of replacing a PR Card once you’ve come back into the country, however.
Instead, you must get a travel document from the Canadian government in order to come back into Canada.
The documents that you will need to include in your application for a travel document include:
- IMM 5627. This form is the document checklist. It outlines the sort of documentation you will need to submit in order to get a travel document.
- IMM 5524. The Application for a Travel Document (Permanent Resident Abroad). This is the actual application.
- IMM 5529. This form is the instructions associated with a Travel Document application.
- IMM 5476, Use of a Representative, is only necessary if you are using legal representation.
Each visa office has its own rules for how permanent residents may go about applying for Travel Documents, so it is a good idea to check with the local visa office for what they want specifically.
Moving Past the PR Card
One way to avoid all of this PR Card confusion is to become a citizen of Canada.
- Citizens do not need to show a PR Card at the border to re-enter Canada
- Citizens can hold Canadian passports which automatically speak to their status in the country
- Citizenship status does not expire and there will be no need to renew your citizenship certificate.
If you have been a permanent resident for more than three out of the past four years it would behoove you to look into becoming a citizen.
Permanent Resident Cards are immigration documents that give non-Canadian citizens the right to live and work in Canada indefinitely.
Immigrants must apply for an initial Permanent Resident Card before they can apply for a renewal or replacement.
There are a number of different ways to get Permanent Residency such as through family members or through a job in Canada.
Permanent Residents who are able to meet certain residency requirements might be able to apply for Canadian citizenship. Citizenship does not have a document that regularly expires like a PR Card.
This article will discuss topics having to do with replacing or renewing a PR Card.
Immigrants will simply fill out and file Form IMM 5444, the Application for a Permanent Resident Card, and pay the associated fees to renew or replace their Permanent Resident Cards.
Reasons to Get a New PR Card
There are a number of reasons for why a Permanent Resident may be looking to replace his or her PR Card:
- The PR Card has been lost, stolen or destroyed
- The PR Card has already expired
- The PR Card is about to expire
Depending on what has happened to the PR Card, immigrants will have to follow different instructions.
However, it should be noted that, ultimately, regardless of the status of the card, there is only one form which replaces the PR Card. This form is also the same for first time applicants.
What to do if the PR Card Has Been Lost or Stolen
If the Permanent Resident Card has been lost, stolen or damaged, immigrants must call the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Help Centre to notify the organization of the PR Card’s fate.
The number for the help centre is 1-888-242‑2100. This number should only be called if the immigrant is still in Canada. There are different circumstances for immigrants currently outside of Canada.
Section G, a special part of the Permanent Resident Card application, will need to be filled out by immigrants who have had their PR Cards lost, stolen or damaged.
What to do if the PR Card Has Incorrect Information on it
Mistakes happen sometimes and you may discover that your Permanent Resident Card has incorrect information on it. This would prove to be problematic as if the information on your PR Card does not match your other information, people will doubt it being a genuine document.
To fix this problem, immigrants are directed to file Form IMM 5531, Request to Reissue a Permanent Residence Card. This process does not have an associated fee.
What to do if you’re Outside of Canada
Permanent Residents outside of Canada who have had their PR Cards lost, stolen or destroyed will need to report the loss to the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate and begin the process of getting a travel document.
Permanent Resident Cards will not be shipped to non-Canadian addresses, so immigrants will need to obtain travel documents to re-enter Canada.
The Provincial Nominee Program allows potential immigrants to Canada the chance to apply with a specific province or territory for permission to immigrate.
Most other immigration programs are much more general and are on a federal scale. However, with the Provincial Nominee Program, provinces and territories have the opportunity to work with individuals with skill sets they need to bring them where their skills are most needed.
Once someone has a nomination from a Canadian province or territory they can apply with the federal government for permanent residency.
Permanent Residency has a number of benefits such as the right to live and work in the country. However, Provincial Nominees will likely be required to fulfil a contract as part of their immigration for work.
Permanent residents can bring their family members into the country and can even become citizens after about four years.
Permanent residency is a coveted status because it represents stability and security within Canada, one of the most stable and secure countries in the world.
Where to Settle
There are 11 different provinces and territories in which immigrants can apply for provincial nomination. In order to apply or even to qualify, will take some research on the part of the applicant as each province is different.
Below are the different provinces and territories of Canada:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
There is a great deal of geographic diversity throughout Canada and each province and territory is a little different.
Many of the communities on the eastern and western coasts support their economic systems with fishing industry. Northern territories rely more on mining and the like.
The prairie provinces, located in the south-central part of the country are home to enormous sections of farmland that stretches for thousands of miles.
Applying for a permanent resident card
After becoming a provincial nominee, one can simply apply for a permanent resident card with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Permanent Resident Cards are the immigration documents given to newcomers that affirms their immigration status.
With these documents, newcomers to Canada can apply for social benefits, jobs, health insurance and other services. A Permanent Resident Card also works as a basic identification card for new immigrants.
These cards expire after five years and it is suggested that immigrants apply for their replacement card six months in advance of the expiry date.
A Permanent Resident Card is the physical proof of an immigrant’s right to live and work in Canada for as long as they may choose.
These cards, typically called PR Cards, expire every five years, at which time immigrant should renew them.
You can see the date on which your Permanent Resident Card will expire on the actual card. You should apply for a new card six month in advance of the expiry date.
Why Renew My PR Card?
Permanent Resident Cards are important documents for immigrants because it is proof of one’s status.
Applying for a job, health benefits or employment insurance all requires some sort of proof of status in Canada. For immigrants, this proof is the PR Card.
There are a few different forms required for application for a new PR Card:
- Form IMM 5444, Application for a Permanent Resident Card, must be filled out completely and accurately.
- Form IMM 5455, Supplementary Identification. This form asks for an immigrant’s full name, birthdate, height, eye color and the date on which they became a Permanent Resident.
- Photograph specifications, please see the below section about photographs for more information.
- Form IMM 5476, Use of a Representative. This form only needs to be filled out if the application is filed by someone other than the Permanent Resident.
When applying for a new Permanent Resident Card, photographs must be included. The photograph specifications worksheet, available on CIC’s website gives the detailed requirements for immigration photographs.
Many people choose to use a professional’s help when taking these photographs to make sure that they are correct and so that their application will not be rejected.
Here are some of the basic requirements for application photos:
- White backgrounds only
- Glasses cannot get in the way of seeing the person’s eyes
- The face cannot be covered (in some circumstances head coverings are allowed for religious reasons
- The person’s mouth must be closed and with a blank expression
Renewing a Permanent Resident Card is relatively inexpensive and it only requires a $50 fee.
This fee can be paid online or at a Canadian financial institution (such as a Canadian bank).
It takes about three months for a renewal application to be processed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. According to the CIC it takes about 99 calendar days to process the application.
Processing times are not a precise measurement, however. These applications may be approved before or after the 99 days. What determines the length of time of processing is how difficult or complicated the application is.
There are a couple of special circumstances that have to do with applying for renewals:
- If you don’t tell your address to CIC within 180 days of becoming a Permanent Resident, you will need to apply for a Permanent Resident Card using this process.
- If your Permanent Resident Card expires when you are outside of Canada, you cannot apply for a PR Card to be delivered to a foreign address. Instead, you should apply for a re-entry document at a Canadian consulate and apply for renewal when you return to Canada.
There are many different options for immigrating to Canada, but one of the most popular pathways is through family relationships.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the immigration agency in the Canadian government, supports the idea of helping immigrant’s family members come to Canada.
Many studies have suggested that not only do immigrants with family members in Canada do better economically, but also socially.
Here we will discuss some of the salient features of the family-based immigration program.
The Value of a Permanent Resident Card
Immigration to Canada implies that one will receive a Permanent Resident Card and this is really the end goal of immigrating for many people.
With a Permanent Resident Card, immigrants have the right to live and work in Canada indefinitely. They also have access to many of the same government programs that are available to Canadian citizens such as health care and the Canadian school system.
Permanent Residents also have a much easier time travelling abroad and returning to Canada than temporary residents who may have to re-apply for visas to return.
It is important to note that Permanent Residents will need to replace their PR Cards if they ever become lost, stolen or damaged.
Only certain relatives are eligible to become family-based immigrants. Closer family members are preferred over more distant relatives.
Relatives eligible for immigration include:
- Spouses, common law partners or partners in general
- Children, adopted and natural are both accepted for immigration purposes, however, there are some age restrictions
- Brothers and sisters
- Parents in some circumstances
Cousins, grandparents, uncles or aunts are not eligible through the family definition.
The application process for family based immigration begins with the Permanent Resident or citizen relative in Canada filing a petition on their relative’s behalf.
This application is filed with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and should also come with an affidavit promising that the Permanent Resident or citizen relative will ensure that the immigrant will not become a public charge of the state.
The immigrant relative will then apply for an immigrant visa at a Canadian foreign consulate.
This process also involves a visa interview. In this interview an immigration officer will examine an applicant’s application, their supporting documentation and collect biometric samples (fingerprints).
After being granted an immigration visa, the immigrant will be allowed to apply for entry to Canada and file for Permanent Residency.
There are other options available for immigration as well. Below are some examples:
- FSWP – Federal Skilled Worker Program participants can immigrate to Canada for work and receive Permanent Resident Cards
- Asylum – People who suffer from persecution in their home countries can apply for immigration to Canada in some cases
- Canadian Experience Class – International students at Canadian universities can apply for full immigration after their studies have concluded and they have been hired by an employer in Canada.
Permanent Residency is an immigration status that grants people the right to live and work in Canada for as long as they please.
After a brief hiatus to analyze the efficacy of the program, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has brought the Federal Skilled Worker Program back.
Eligibility for the program is based on the job that the immigrant wishes to do in Canada and six selection factors.
Each selection factor is given a maximum number of points possible. The total for all selection factors is 100 points.
Immigrants interested in becoming Federal Skilled Workers figure out how many points they score for each factor and then add them up.
A score of 67 points or higher qualifies a person for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Applicants who score higher are more likely to get a visa and Permanent Residency.
Below are the six selection factors and brief explanations of their point systems.
Adaptability is probably the least straight-forward of the selection factors. However, all it really measures is how well someone might get used to living in Canada.
Having family members or previous experience living in Canada can contribute to the adaptability score.
A total of ten points can be awarded for this factor.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program encourages younger, skilled people to get jobs in Canada and therefore awards points to younger people.
Applicants between the ages of 18 and 46 are able to score points based on their age. 18-35 year olds get the most points for this factor at 12 points total.
Points awarded for people older than 35 decreases by one point every year.
An applicant is said to have arranged employment if they already have an employment offer to a company in their field in Canada.
The CIC awards points to people who are ready to start working as soon as they enter Canada because people who struggle to find employment after immigrating put a certain amount of strain on the country.
A total of ten points can be awarded for arranged employment in Canada.
A person’s education can also contribute to the total number of points awarded to an immigrants application.
The scale is graduated, meaning that the higher degree of education the higher number of points one receives.
A high school education scores relatively few points (5).
A four year undergraduate degree can score a very decent amount of points (21-23).
A Doctorate scores the highest number of points (25).
The Federal Skilled Worker Program only accepts applicants from certain professions listed on the National Occupation Classification (NOC).
The number of years one has worked in one of those fields impacts the experience factor score.
One year of experience garners nine points. Two to three years of experience grants 11 points. Four to five years takes 13 points and six or more, 15.
Federal Skilled Workers are expected to be competent in one of the official languages of Canada, English or French.
The points scale for the language factor is quite complicated and for that reason we have discussed it in greater detail on a different page.