The Canadian government has given rich potential immigrants just two weeks within which they can apply for Canada’s new millionaire visa program. In a move that will likely be causing a rush to apply by the world’s super rich seeking Canadian permanent residency, applications will only be accepted from January 28 to February 11, 2015.
Experts have criticized the small time-window, saying it does not give applicants enough time to fulfil the requirements and file their applications. The time-window may even shrink further if the quota of 500 applications is fulfilled before the cut-off date.
Applicants to the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) scheme must have a net worth of at least C$10 million and must also invest C$2 million in companies selected by the Canadian government. Applicants must possess an academic qualification equivalent to a Canadian tertiary educational qualification, though super-rich applicants worth at least C$50 million are exempt from this requirement. All applicants however must be proficient in either English or French.
A maximum of 60 of the 500 applications received will be selected for further assessment through a lottery and permanent residency will be issued to immigrants who have their applications approved. The application deadlines and selection process were announced by immigration minister Chris Alexander through Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
Chinese millionaires made up the majority of wealthy immigrants who came to Canada under the old Immigrant Investor Program, which was launched in 1986. That scheme was scrapped last year because of a huge backlog of several thousand applications that formed at Canada’s consulate in Hong Kong, with doubts also being raised about the benefit of the scheme to the Canadian economy.
While the IIP required applicants to make a C$800,000 investment in the form of a interest-free loan to Canada, the C$2 million investment required under the new IIVC scheme will be invested in Canadian start-ups for about 15 years, and as such will not be risk-free investments.
The new replacement scheme has also come under fire for its small quota size and higher language requirements, which will prove to be especially problematic for Chinese applicants.
“The C$50 million option to avoid the education requirement is one of interest but offers little help in view of the reality on the ground, since the language requirement is still there. Therefore … I believe that applicants from China and Southeast Asia are greatly penalized,” says Jean-Francois Harvey, a Hong Kong-based immigration lawyer.
Despite the fact that the scheme has been labelled as a pilot scheme, the new requirements will stay in place until 2020, dashing any hopes that the bar may be lowered in the near future.
Six accounting firms have been selected to carry out forensic financial audits of the selected applicants to verify that they meet the scheme’s monetary requirements, and that their wealth has been “lawfully acquired through business or investment activity”. The selected firms are Ernst & Young, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Consulting, Deloitte Forensic, BDO USA, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and KPMG.
CIC has stated that the IIVC scheme’s overarching aim is to attract immigrant investors willing to contribute to the Canadian business landscape and integrate into society.
Source: www.scmp.comGeneral Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
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