Canadian Investor Immigration Program Cancelled

By James Metcalfe | March 3, 2014

James Metcalfe | Pace Law Firm | Director of Immigration: The cancellation of the Federal Immigration Investor Program’s (FIIP) was announced in the recent federal budget. In reality, this was old news, as the program had been suspended several years ago. However, the government also announced that they would be wiping out the backlog of ageing applications by cancelling those applications already in process.

This should not have come as surprise to anyone who follows Canadian immigration, as the same situation occurred several years ago when the backlog in the Federal Skilled Worker Program reached similar unmanageable numbers. The result was the cancellation and return of processing fees to about 40,000 people around the world.

Recognizing the Coming StormWith the success of this move (if it can be called a success), Citizenship and Immigration Canada learned a lesson that has withstood court challenges, and they will apply the same formula to investors. Pace Law Firm backed off putting clients in the Federal Immigration Investor Program in 2009, as we recognized the coming storm of too many applicants and the inefficiency of the system in place to deal with the large quantity of applications. In addition, we recognized the problem of the inability of visa offices to analyze complex financial documents.We looked at other programs available to high net worth individuals, including provincial nominee programs, the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), as well as Economic Citizenship programs available from many countries. The result was that we have only one applicant caught in the backlog which will be eliminated. There is truth to the old saying about “Not putting all your eggs in one basket”.

Quebec and Provincial Programs: Options for InvestorsWhat will the future hold for investors interested in Canada? Quebec is still open for business, but the Quebec program will be limited to manageable numbers and operate on a lottery system. There will also be a limit to the number of applicants from any one country. We expect the program to reopen to new applicants by mid-2014 and continue to operate for at least another two years.

Quebec puts its investor client’s money to work for the good of the province and must pay back old investors with money from new investors. We also expect Quebec to announce new programs which will parallel the federal programs once Canada and Quebec reach a new accord on investor immigration. Quebec currently has no restrictions on applicants who can speak, read and write in French. Although this exception was due to expire at the end of March 2014, we anticipate it will be extended.

In addition to the passive QIIP, there are opportunities for experienced business persons inprovincial programs, however most require a good agility in English or French and a solid business plan to establish a viable business in Canada.

Work PermitsThere are also opportunities for business persons who wish to establish subsidiaries of existing foreign companies in Canada and take advantage of coming to Canada on a Work Permit to run their associated Canadian company. Pace Law Firm has assisted a number of business persons to become established in Canada and to become Permanent Residents using this approach.
Venture Capital Fund and Infrastructure FundTo replace the FIIP, the government intends to introduce two programs, a Venture Capital Fund and an Infrastructure Fund. We believe that subscription amounts to qualify will be increased significantly to as much as $5 million, given the demand for immigration under these programs and the alternatives available around the world.In conclusion, it is important for persons to think beyond passive investment programs and contribute directly to the economy of Canada. Pace Law Firm takes a broad view of assisting business persons.If you require further information, please contact us to start a dialogue.