Hong Kong audience hears of plans for a new Canadian immigrant investor program

posted on March 20, 2014

By Matthew Robinson, Vancouver Sun | Link to Article

By Matthew Robinson, Vancouver Sun | Link to Article

Canada’s immigration minister was in Hong Kong Wednesday, where he gave Chinese media a sneak peek of a federal pilot program to attract wealthy immigrants to the country, just weeks after the government scrapped its immigrant investor program.

Officials are brewing a revamped immigration investor venture capital pilot program set to be unveiled in the coming months, Chris Alexander, the minister for Citizenship and Immigration, told the South China Morning Post in a lengthy interview.

“We want Chinese investors in Canada and the door is open,” Alexander told the Post. “We are making these changes for them.”

The federal government had announced in the February budget it was axing its immigrant investor and entrepreneur programs, wiping from a backlogged waiting list tens of thousands of people who had been willing to lend $800,000 interest-free in return for permanent residence.

“There is … little evidence that immigrant investors as a class are maintaining ties to Canada or making a positive economic contribution to the country,” the budget stated. “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.”

But Alexander told the Post this week a new pilot program to attract wealthy immigrants was on its way.

Under the pilot, wealthy immigrants would lend for more than five years at least double the cash they were made to pay under the old program, according to the Post article. The money would be privately managed under the immigration investor venture capital pilot program.

“In return for permanent residence, in return for the opportunity to do business with status from Canada, we’re taking your money for a good long time to help create jobs, growth, opportunity in Canada,” Alexander told the Post.

Diane Laursen, a spokeswoman at Citizenship and Immigration Canada, told The Sun that further details about the pilot program would be announced in the coming months.

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