Wealthy Chinese seeking refuge from Beijing’s smog and Shanghai’s crowds will once again find a welcome in Canada as the North American nation is expected to soon introduce a new investor visa program.
The new program would offer Canadian residency visas to prospective immigrants who invest at least C$1 million ($890,000) into a venture capital fund that would support startup businesses, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The new VC-driven visa plan would effectively replace Canada’s former investor visa program which was cancelled in February of this year after it was criticised for offering a pool of primarily Chinese applicants with Canadian residency without making a significant contribution to the nation’s economy.
Following Through on February Promise
The introduction of the new venture-capital visa program is consistent with indications made by the Canadian government at the time the previous visa scheme was cancelled, however, full details of the new program will have to await its formal announcement.
However, the Journal reported that investors in the new program aren’t guaranteed any return and can suffer losses.
Fixing a Visa Program That Proved Too Popular
The new venture capital approach to the investor visa addresses one of the major concerns regarding Canada’s former program, which provided visas to foreign nationals who agreed to loan 800,000 Canadian dollars (US$700,460) interest-free to any of the country’s provinces for five years.
The loan program was seen by many Canadians as selling residency on the cheap. In the US, the country’s EB-5 investor visa program requires applicants to make a minimum investment of $500,000 into specially designated investment programs targetted at lower-income or depressed communities. In Australia, the country’s Significant Investor Visa program requires investors to put at least A$5 million (US$4,254,000) into the country to earn residency.
How Popular Will Canada’s New Program Be?
When Canada’s former visa program was officially cancelled, media reports indicated that out of 59,000 pending application, 45,000 came from mainland Chinese. Data from some Canadian provinces indicated that 99 percent of applicants came from the mainland.
While Canada’s new program is significantly more expensive than its former offering, it is still much cheaper than the opportunity offered by Australia, and appears competitive with the US.
In general, Chinese applicants appear to be dominating the competition for investor visas, with an estimated 85 percent of America’s EB-5 visas during the last year having been awarded to Chinese nationals.
And with the US having exhausted its quota of investor visas last year, and Chinese investor immigration continuing to rise, it’s likely that Canada will find a welcoming audience for its new investor visa program.