The continuous rise of property prices in Vancouver led Canada to cancel its popular immigrant investor program last year, as it was believed that foreign purchases of property was causing the price rise. However, even ten months after the scrapping of the IIP, the property price rise has not halted, and neither have the rich investor immigrants stopped arriving in Vancouver.
There are number of factors behind the continuing inflow of investor immigrants into Vancouver. For one, under the program the candidates were given up to a year to activate their permanent residency after they had undergone their medical assessments. Moreover there were several approved immigrant investors who had not undergone the medical checks at the time IIP was scrapped on February 11, 2014, implying that their arrivals in Canada could stretch to another year. And finally, there are also a few applicants who were granted residencies on or after February 11, but before June 19, when IIP was legally removed. It is predicted by immigration experts that most of these investor immigrants from the previous program would have arrived in Canada by mid-2015.
However, in addition to this backlog of IIP applicants, several new investor immigrants will also continue to arrive in Vancouver through Quebec’s still functional version of the IIP. It has been reported that many potential investors have in the past used Quebec’s program to get entry into Canada, migrating from Quebec to other provinces upon arrival.
Statistics show that between 2008 and 2012, about 27,490 permanent residencies were granted under the Quebec IIP. However, the majority of these investors did not settle in Quebec as promised and most ended up moving to Ottawa, with 89% of Quebec’s investor immigrants showing non-Quebec residential addresses when they renew their permanent residency cards after five years.
The issue had become quite obvious, leading to Jason Kenney saying in 2013 parliamentary committee that Quebec’s immigration program should not be “about taking money from Chinese millionaires so that they settle in Vancouver”.
“Quebec is taking the money of immigrant investors and using it, but the British Columbia taxpayers must pay the price for the social services provided to immigrants selected by Quebec,” he had said.
It is expected that in 2015 Quebec will accept 1,750 primary investor immigrants, representing a total of 6,200 people, including family members. If 89% of these new arrivals were to relocate in five years, it means that about 5,500 immigrants will move to other provinces. Considering that 68% of applicants wanted to move to British Columbia when IIP was fully functional across all provinces, Vancouver might receive a similar percentage of these 5,500 investors in the coming years.
This indicates that despite the scrapping of IIP at the federal level, Quebec’s running investor program will contribute in a big way to steady arrival of rich immigrants into Vancouver. In fact the total number of arrivals in BC may not even be halved but rather at most be reduced by a third compared to previous levels.