Le 28 novembre 2017 – Intervenant pour Andrew Nichols, M. Singer, l’avocat canadien en immigration et associé directeur d’immigration.ca, discute de la façon dont Ottawa réagit face à l’augmentation des demandes de statut de réfugié provenant des passages frontaliers irréguliers suite aux changements dans la politique d’immigration américaine.
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Review Attorney Colin Singer’s award winning written commentaries published in major media and law journals:
- Hitting the Immigration wall (Published by Lawyers Weekly | October 23, 2015)
- Canada losing lucrative Immigrant Investors (Published by Financial Post|February 9, 2015)
- Canada Raises Immigration Levels Under New Express Entry System (Published by Mondaq|February 9, 2015)
- Canada Immigration Lawyer Says Harper Should Follow Obama’s Example on Illegal Immigration (Published by Yahoo|November 21, 2014)
- Understanding Quebec’s Economic Immigration Stream (Published by Immigration & Citizenship Bulletin|September, 2013)
- Canada can’t afford New Immigration Plan (Published by Financial Post|April 17, 2012)
- Quebec Immigration Rules: Skilled Workers Update (Published by Immigration & Citizenship Bulletin|November, 2009)
- Immigration Quotas Cause the Backlog (Published by National Post|May 21, 2008)
- The New Immigration Law: A dangerous piece of work (Published by National Post|APRIL 4, 2006)
Want to move to Canada? Here’s what you need to know (Published by CNN|Mar 18, 2016)
- Moving to Canada Googling spikes as Trump gains support (Published by BNN|Mar 7, 2016)
Colin Singer, Canadian immigration lawyer and managing partner at immigration.ca discusses a
rising interest through web searches in how to move to Canada, as the U.S. primaries ramp up.
- Program designed to woo wealthy immigrant investors a « charade » (Published by BNN|Feb 17, 2015)
Former Harper Government’s Business Immigration Program is a Charade
The previous Conservative government’s Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program aims to raise $120-million from 60 eligible ultra-high net worth investors. The funds are intended to be invested in Canada-based startups with high growth potential. Ironically, the new program unofficially confirms Canada’s definitive retreat from the global residence-through-investment industry, which it created in 1986 with the Quebec government.
Under the program, approved applicants with a personal net worth of $10 million must invest at least $2 million into a government-approved venture capital fund for a minimum period of 15 years, with no guarantee for return of capital.
Applicants must demonstrate their net worth threshold was obtained from lawful, profit-making management, business or investment activities providing capital or equity gains. Inheritances or assets from principle residential real estate are excluded.
Additional requirements include mandatory language testing and proof of completed Canadian post-secondary education of at least one year, or proof of a foreign educational equivalent. Education assessment can be exempted for applicants with a personal net worth of more than $50 million.
Applicants are charged a modest processing fee of $1,050. Selected applicants must also submit a comprehensive due diligence report prepared by a designated service provider to ensure the source of wealth is generated from lawful business or investment activities. The fund is managed by BDC Capital, the investment arm of the Federal Business Development Bank of Canada and by government selected fund managers.
Canada’s Foreign Investment Conundrum: Reviving the Immigrant Investor’s Program
Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) Among World’s Most Popular (Audio)
Canada Losing Wealthy Immigrant Investors (Audio)
This IIVC program is a charade. The previous Conservative government had a dubious history in the immigrant investor industry. In February 2014, after a two-year pause on new applications, it terminated the previous Immigrant Investor Program geared to entry-level millionaires, cancelling more than 15,000 unprocessed applications mostly from Chinese nationals. Many had been waiting up to six years to invest $800,000 per applicant.
To meet IIVC requirements, the delays to complete mandatory language testing, education equivalence assessment as well as to secure the comprehensive financial documentation will take far longer than the short solicitation window.
By imposing mandatory language testing, the only immigrant investor program in the world to do so, Canada is not even be a consideration for the vast majority of the world’s ultra high net worth individuals who reside in China, accounting for 80 per cent of the market. This factor alone renders IIVC a non-player in the residence by investment industry, which it has dominated for almost 30 years.
U.S. EB-5 the Industry Leader
The leading countries offering ultra-high net worth permanent residence programs include the U.S., U.K., Malta and Australia. Each offers far more attractive terms and conditions that include much shorter investment terms, substantially lower net worth criteria, open ended subscription periods and no language proficiency requirements. The U.S., which became the default leader in the industry once Canada terminated its highly popular program in 2014, offers its EB-5 conditional residence visa which requires an investment of US$1 million or US$500,000 in an approved Regional Center and no minimum net worth requirement.
The immigrant investor industry has proven to be a highly lucrative business bringing billions of dollars to governments including Canada for infrastructure investment. Canada had a stronghold on the mid-level investor market largely dominated by China and the Middle East. The province of Quebec continues to successfully promote its own immigrant investor program with a threshold of $800,000. Each applicant must pay a processing fee of $10,000. These fees alone will fund the Quebec government’s entire annual immigration program.
Previous Federal Program
The previous federal Immigrant Investor program, a five-year interest-free passive investment, was established in response to the demand for investment capital by Canadian businesses. During the 1990s Canada received a much greater benefit from the investment capital attributed to higher interest rate environments.
However, even at the current low rates, Canada would remain the most popular destination for the mid-level immigrant investor market, allowing for tremendous revenue potential to governments and the private sector.
Time For a New Federal Investor Program
Under a revised passive immigrant investor program at $2 million, with suitable legislation and a centralized processing centre, Canada could easily subscribe and efficiently process 1,000 applications each year and charge a subscription fee of $25,000 per applicant. Aside from the obvious massive direct monetary benefits are the indirect economic “consumption” benefits that objective studies have assessed at $700,000 per family during a five-year term, which the government dismisses. Most importantly, the children of immigrant investors will, in many instances, provide invaluable links to the international business community, which is an immeasurable benefit from effective immigration policy.
There are currently more than 25 global residence and citizenship based investment programs. The industry will experience significant growth in the years ahead. Perhaps there are other reasons why this government chooses to close Canada’s doors to a largely Asian and Middle Eastern immigrant investor clientele. In the current rapidly changing economic environment, Canada’s business community should demand an immediate, objective reconsideration.
Statistics confirm that Canada’s current net labour market growth is predominantly dependent on immigration. It appears almost certain that by 2030 Canada will be entirely reliant on immigration for population growth.
However, the latest policy pronouncements of Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, suggests new obstacles blocking Canada’s future economic successes are in the works. Despite some notable improvements in the system under Mr. Kenney, the most recent initiatives are guaranteed to permanently harm our country’s international reputation. Here is why.
First, he claims to be repairing the current dysfunctional immigration system, including clearing up the most controversial problem, namely the existing backlog of 300,000 applicants under the Federal Skilled Worker Program. The Minister’s stated goal is to implement a new system that, by 2018, would feature a “made in Canada” international database of pre-screened, employment credentialled candidates suitable to apply for admission to Canada. Since 2008, the department’s policy objective has been to shift from admitting applicants to Canada without a sponsoring employer and toward an employer-driven immigration program. The direction was right. But now the government is backpedalling on its promises. The plan, announced in the recent federal budget, is to vaporize the existing backlog of skilled worker applicants by refusing the majority of applications filed prior to February 2008.
Forcing applicants to wait close to 10 years and then implementing retroactive legislation refusing the pending backlog of applicants is the greatest sham in the history of Canadian immigration policy. Close to 300,000 applicants who were all promised that their credentials would be evaluated under previous criteria will now be refused. It will occur even though the Federal Court blocked a similar attempt in 2003, when department officials were found to be misleading the standing committee on citizenship and immigration in its attempt to pass legislation that would retroactively wipe out a much smaller inventory.
This initiative severely contrasts with the image of an immigration department that vigorously pursues efforts to warn the public against dealing with crooked immigration consultants. Canadians should be demanding answers to the following questions: Who is regulating the Harper government? How could the Immigration department claim with credibility that it can build a new skilled worker program with promises to attract the best and brightest to fuel our labour market growth? The government’s history is to blatantly repudiate similar promises.
Another issue is the government’s plan for a new system modelled on the programs of Australia and New Zealand, two countries which are not comparable to Canada. New Zealand has a population equal to British Columbia and Australia has a constitutional framework and demographics that are inapplicable to Canada.
Australia has immigration levels on par with Canada and a similar points-based immigration system. It also imposes a restrictive English-language requirement and a pre-screening of employment credentials. The new skilled-worker program in Canada will likely feature both these elements. But a study by University of Waterloo professor Mikal Skuterud and his Australian co-author, Andrew Clarke, concludes that immigrants to Australia enjoy higher earnings than Canada because there has been a clear shift in source country distribution in Australia toward English-speaking countries.
Australia has a national credential recognition program. But in Canada professional credential recognition is an exclusive provincial jurisdiction. In New Zealand, the government implemented a national job bank of potential foreign workers where employers can cherry pick the best pre-screened candidates. Embracing an international recruitment model used by a marginal low-population player such as New Zealand makes no sense for Canada‹unless Mr. Kenney intends to become the world’s largest international recruiter of human capital.
Since Confederation, immigration in Canada has been a matter of joint responsibility between the federal government and the provinces. Every province and the Yukon Territory has implemented its own immigration programs, in order to promote immigration policies best suited to a province’s particular needs. Mr. Kenney would be well advised to direct department policies toward Canada’s short-term immigration programs and delegate the bulk of its long-term immigration intake and employment credential-related pre-screening programs entirely to the provinces. They, in turn, can implement binding contractual promises and a myriad of financial incentives to ensure settlement. There is ample precedent that such measures succeed in this area.
As Canada enters a period of economic expansion, Canadian employers are now dependent, more than ever, on the influx of foreign workers in many industries to develop a knowledge-based economy and to maintain their international competitive edge. Immigration is essential in most OECD countries, but especially in Canada, in part to offset demographic developments, including low fertility rates, an aging population, a growing elderly dependency ratio, a shrinking labour force and high out-migration rates.
Developing nations that were once primarily sources of skilled labour for Canada are now experiencing a boom in their own right that is beginning to increase their attractiveness for highly educated migrants.
The current federal immigration system needs fixing. But refusing the current backlog of skilled-worker applicants, the largest in Canada’s history, reneging on the most basic previous contractual promises, and adopting policies largely based on a patchwork of measures from other much less relevant models, is ethically dubious, short sighted and will likely create a program that once again replicates the defects prevalent under previous ministers. Only this time, it will cement our reputation as an unreliable, untrustworthy player in the global migration industry, which neither Canadian employers, nor the provinces, can afford.