Canada recently unveiled elements of a proposal to attract wealthy immigrants, provided they invest a minimum 2 million Canadian dollars ($1.7 million) into a venture-capital fund. The Canadian government said this would start as a pilot program and would accept applications starting in January.
The program is similar to what other western countries have used to attract wealthy newcomers. Canada’s immigration minister, Chris Alexander, said the nation would accept up to 500 applications from prospective immigrants with a net worth of C$10 million. Canada will grant residency visas to at least 50 people on the condition they invest C$2 million into a venture-capital fund that will in turn use the cash to backstop Canadian startups. The government added that there will be no guarantee that prospective immigrants will get a return on their investment.
This immigration program tied to venture-capital investment replaces a visa program that granted permanent residency to those who committed C$800,000 to a Canadian province through a five-year, zero-interest loan. Canada ended the program last February and in doing so, canceled a backlog of tens of thousands of mainly Chinese applicants.
Before Canada halted its investor immigration program earlier this year, it was the second-most popular immigration destination for Chinese immigrants, according to the Center for China & Globalization, a nonprofit research firm in Beijing.
Besides the minimum investment and net-worth requirements, immigration lawyers said the new program has strict conditions for entry. For instance, applicants must be proficient in either English or French and hold an education diploma that is the equivalent of a Canadian postsecondary degree.
Language has been part of the requirement for immigrating to Canada, but not for investment-based immigration. China has seen an increased popularity of French language institutes, as wealthy Chinese discovered a back door into Canada that involves applying for entry into Quebec, as long as the applicants have a working knowledge of French.
Source: Wall Street Journal