US and Canadian Immigration Lawyer Andy Semotiuk: The new Canadian investor immigration program hasn’t exactly been a success right out of the gate:
Canada’s newest immigration scheme for wealthy international investors has proven so popular that just six – count ‘em, six — people have signed up for it since it was launched in late January.
The Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program was supposed to draw 60 well-heeled newcomers to Canada out of a pool of up to 500 eligible applicants. But an access to information request by a Vancouver immigration lawyer revealed only six applications had been received by June 8, even with repeated extensions of the original deadline first set for mid-February.
The best thing Canada can do is introduce a competitive and realistic investor program that addresses the problem of Canadian infrastructure maintenance for the benefit of all Canadians at this time of low interest rates. Asking people to invest millions of dollars in unproven start-ups, as the current failing Venture Visa program does, is akin to asking a professional gambler to risk it all on an inside straight. No, thanks.
Infrastructure projects backed by the government would attract prudent – read: smart and successful – investors. Such a program should aim to attract the best and brightest investors from around the world and encourage them to settle here with their families while making their entry and integration into Canadian life as accommodating as possible. Through a vetting program staffed by top accounting professionals, it should avoid criminals and various oligarchs who have plundered the wealth of others or made their money through corrupt means.
The notion of investing in infrastructure is a wise long-term policy. It might not have much wow factor, but infrastructure investment can nonetheless do so much good for the country. Have you walked underneath the chipped and decaying Gardiner Expressway in Toronto lately? I don’t blame you if you haven’t. I know you haven’t walked across the Gordie Howe Bridge in Windsor/Detroit yet, as it hasn’t been built. But remember once you do that the Canadian taxpayer footed the entire bill of over 2 billion dollars (and counting).
Such a program should strive to become the best investor immigration program in the world by providing investors the best returns on the money they invest, and giving jobs to thousands of Canadians.
Canada must realize immigration is a competition. We are competing in the international marketplace for the best of the best and must act accordingly.