Bad news for disillusioned post-Trump Americans and illegals as Canada looks set to suspend Immigrant Investor Visa Program from February 2017
First Vancouver brought an end to its part of the Canada Investor Visa program back in 2014, now it looks like Quebec may also pull the plug on its program as of February 2017. The reason? Apparently the program has been so popular it has destabilized the Canadian economy!
Canada was the most talked-about destination when American democrats and liberals spoke – more often than not joked – about abandoning America and “getting out while the going’s good.” However, had those Americans done their homework (as those serious about leaving no-doubt did) they would have discovered that moving to Canada is no longer as easy as the movies make it, when the doomed fugitive couple on the run always “head for Canada.”
Skilled Americans Only Need Apply
Americans must now apply for permanent Canadian residency with the office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. They must also present skills, trade or qualifications that will be of benefit to Canada and its economy. There is even worse news for wealthy illegal Americans concerned for their future under president Trump. If they were hoping to start afresh via Canada’s Investor Visa program, they should know that the program looks set be completely suspended as of February 2017.
It brings to a formal end an immigrant investor program that has been running in Canada in one form or another since 1986 – just two years after St. Kitts and Nevis brought out the world’s first Citizenship by Investment program, and changed the way wealthy individuals from second and third world countries viewed second citizenship forever.
The Chinese Invasion… Of Vancouver
In 1986 the Canadian government announced an investor visa program designed to a) attract wealthy foreign citizens to Canada and b) get them to loan the Canadian government a large sum of money – interest-free, which would be repaid several years later.
- Applicants had to have a minimum net worth of $1.6
- Applicants had to have two years of managerial experience
- Applicants would invest $800,000 in an interest free loan to the Canadian government
- The loan would be repaid after five years
- In return, applicants were granted permeant residence in Canada
- After three years an investor could apply for Canadian citizenship
The program proved an enormous success, with an estimated 100,000 Chinese millionaires settling in Vancouver alone. A subculture was created surrounding the affluent young offsprings of these wealthy Chinese families, resulting in a hit reality TV show – Ultra-Rich Asian Girls, a kind of Chinese version of the UK show “Made in Chelsea.”
The downside of this massive influx of Chinese money into Vancouver – a city of just 600,000 people – was the real estate market exploding to such an extent that locals could no longer afford to purchase property there. New high-end luxury developments sprang up all over town, but even the sleepy Vancouver suburbs saw Chinese investors snap up two-thirds of any property on the market. More frustrating for young locals looking to get on the property market is that much of the property would be kept empty and used as “wealth-preserving investments.”
When Vancouver came second in a poll entitled “Most Unaffordable City In The World” in four of the previous five years, the Canadian government decided enough was enough, and decided to bring a halt to the investor program in February 2014. When the Canadian government pulled the plug on their investor program, some 65,000 pending applications were left in the lurch, of which 70% were Chinese applicants, according to the Chinese broadsheet the South China Morning Post.
Quebec Allowed To Continue Program – Until Now?
Because the French-speaking province of Quebec and the federal government of Canada both enjoy jurisdiction over immigration, it was allowed to continue with its own QIIP (Quebec Immigrant Investor Program) post-2014. The requirements of investors were exactly the same, but the Quebec program did not run continuously and instead had an intake period of several months when potential investors could apply.
The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program briefly reopened for business with a nine month window for new applications that ran from May 30, 2016 until February 28, 2017. The amount of new applicants to be accepted was capped at 1,900, and all jokes about post-Trump Americans fleeing the country en-mas via the Northbound border aside, based on previous demand for this program, it must be assumed that quota will be filled mainly by Chinese investors, and that very few of them will be learning French and remaining in Quebec.
Vancouver remains the no.1 target for Chinese immigrant investors targeting Canada. It was estimated that wealthy Chinese transferred $450 billion away from the country in 2016 alone, using it to invest in a multitude of countries including many from the EU, the USA, Malaysia, Singapore, and of course, Canada. However if the Canadian government have their way, and finally get Quebec to see things from their point of view, the 1,900 successful applicants from the most recent intake period could be the last for a long time.