Manitoba has revised the requirements of its provincial nominee program for business, increasing the required deposit amount from foreign investors to $100,000. In addition, investors will have to pay a non-refundable processing fee and will be subject to regular assessments of their businesses.
The changes are a result of the increasing number of non-Canadians accessing the program as a relatively inexpensive way to get permanent residency for themselves and their immediate families.
Under the old rules, immigrants interested in getting into business in Manitoba were given permanent residence in return for a $75,000 deposit, which would be refunded if they invested up to $150,000 in a business within two years of landing.
But an increase in the number of nominees who forfeited their deposits and moved to other provinces has prompted the latest change to the rules and led to an increase in the required deposit amount.
Experts remain unconvinced that these changes will be sufficient to prevent nominees from leaving the province as previously.
Attorney Colin Singer Commentary:
The intention component of submitting an application under a provincial program remains one of the biggest challenge for policy makers. It is doubtful that these changes will impact on the current retention rates for Manitoba.
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.
Quebec’s Department of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion intends to accept a maximum of 1,750 new investment immigration applications between 20th January 2015 and 20th March 2015. The province shall accept a maximum of 1,200 applications from investors from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Macao.
Under Quebec’s investment immigration program, investors are required to apply for issue of the selection certificates. Interested investors are free to apply for residency permit. The cases shall be analyzed and 1750 most-suitable cases shall be retained for issue of the selection certificate. In 2013, Quebec had accepted 1,250 applications from the total 5,000 applications that it had received.
Under the program, applicants with minimum net assets of $1.6 million are required to invest $800,000 through Investissement Québec into non-interest bearing government-backed Quebec government note with tenure of five years. The Quebec program requires investors to settle and reside in the province in the initial period after grant of residence.
The proceeds from the program are used to promote creation of jobs and economic growth through development of Quebec companies.
Attorney Colin Singer Commentary:
Since the Federal government eliminated its investor program in 2014, Quebec has become the face of Canada’s passive immigrant investor industry. At current thresholds this program is one of the cheapest in the residence through investment industry. Stakeholders expect the Quebec government to increase qualifying and investment thresholds from current levels when the program re-opens in the future.