Venture Capitalists Welcomed By Canada'

January 29, 2015

Canada will commence a programme of accepting applications from super-rich immigrant investors from 28th January. The scheme will be open to those individuals - and their families – who can invest CA$2 million in the country. However, the immigration authorities in the Canadian capital of Ottawa who are responsible for the programme say that it could provide a valuable economic boost for regions of the country. The government had previously announced at the end of 2014 that it would offer permanent residency to international investors with sufficient capital funds in an effort to bring more experienced business people to the country.

The newly unveiled Immigrant Investor Venture Capital programme will run only until 11 February, so would-be applicants will need to get a move on if they want to take part. Furthermore, the programme will close as soon as 500 applications are received, which is the maximum number that the government has limited the scheme to. “This pilot programme has been designed to attract migrant investors who have the ability to significantly benefit the domestic economy,” said Chris Alexander, the Canadian Immigration Minister. “We want to encourage immigrants who can better integrate into our society and who will fully contribute to the country's long-term prosperity and economic growth,” he added in a written statement.

Although the authorities will accept up to 500 applications under the programme it has already stated that only 60 of these will will be offered permanent residency visas. In the future, of course, that figure may change, if the programme is extended. A senior government spokesman said that the figure of 60 has been so that the government can properly evaluate the new pilot programme. “We need to see whether it is achieving the goals that has been set for it and to make sure that it is also functioning in the best interest of the economy," he continued. “The whole programme could be expanded after the review of this initial step.”

Immigration Requirements

Anyone thinking of applying under the pilot Immigrant Investor Venture Capital programme will be required to meet certain criteria laid out under the scheme. For example, each migrant investor will be need to be able to prove that they are worth a net figure of CA$10 million. In addition, they will be required to make a non-guaranteed investment in the Canadian economy of CA$2 million. This commitment to invest will be spread out over an approximate 15 year period and the programme of investment will be fund managed by BDC Capital which is the investment section of the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Like other migrant investor programmes around the world, applicants will need to demonstrate to Canadian officials that their net worth has been legally obtained. An individual with a net worth of at least CA$50 million will have the right to ask to be exempted from one of the four different requirements that come under the pilot scheme. Further details of application requirements - along with the specific selection criteria – can be found in the ministerial instructions which were published by the Canadian government in January. 

The Economic Benefits

The Ottawa government said that proceeds from the funds invested by immigrants under the pilot scheme will be distributed periodically. The fund itself will invest in what the government refers to as innovative Canadian start-up businesses which possess a “high growth potential”. According to Costas Menegakis, the parliamentary secretary of the Immigration Minister, the pilot scheme will inevitably create jobs. “This will bring about new employment opportunities,” he said during a new television interview. “However, it is a pilot programme and it is fair to say that we are testing it to see how it goes.” 

Despite the economic advantages of attracting rich foreigners, some Canadian politicians have pointed out that, although they are not against attracting overseas investors, offering permanent residency to wealthier immigrants under their own application process is unfair to foreign-born skilled workers in less well-paid sectors of the economy, such as care professionals and nannies. In spite the views of some opposition politicians, the pilot scheme is currently under way and may well be expanded, depending on its success. However, the government will be hoping to have better fortune with this investor-based immigration programme than how the last one fared. The government acknowledged in a public statement that under the former Immigrant Investor Programme that overseas investors only had to invest about CA$800,000 into the economy. This was in the form of a repayable loan and the investors did not need to meet any skills or ability requirements, let alone have a track record of business success, which led to quite a short-term attitude among some who took up residency under it.


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