A Federal Court judge has ruled against more than 1,000 Chinese millionaires who tried to immigrate to Canada under the now-scrapped immigrant investor program and then tried to force their way in through the courts.
As Canada’s immigrant investor program became increasingly popular with China’s newly affluent population, the Canadian consulate in Hong Kong was inundated by eager applicants. Over 80,000 applications applied, with about 80 per cent in Hong Kong being wealthy would-be immigrants from mainland China.
In the last federal budget, the government killed the program, prompting more than 1,000 court orders filed on behalf of wealthy Chinese, Turkey and elsewhere, who argued that their applications should still be processed.
This week, a Federal Court judge dismissed the cases en masse.
Justice Mary Gleason ruled that would-be investor immigrants to Canada had no legitimate expectation of a visa or Canadian residency, and that the government acted within the law. First, the program was closed to new applicants as it was inundated, and the government eventually ended the existing program entirely.
The federal immigrant investor program allowed foreigners with a net worth of at least $1.6-million to gain a visa and eventually Canadian residency by offering the government an interest-free loan of $800,000. The government said the program was susceptible to fraud.
The program, which was broadly criticized as flawed and inefficient, is being replaced by new programs. These are likely to be launched in the fall of 2014 with a higher net worth threshold and a much larger loan which would be invested with Canadian start-ups or venture capital firms, says Richard Kurland, an immigration lawyer in Vancouver.
Mr. Kurland said the large number of applicants was a result of immigration agents, mainly in Hong Kong and China, who were pushing the cases in a desperate attempt to gain their commissions.
Source: The Globe And Mail