On February 11, 2014, the Government of Canada announced its
intention to terminate the Federal Immigrant Investor Program
("IIP") and Federal Entrepreneur Program ("EP")
and eliminate the large backlog of applications. These
immigration-related announcements were contained in the Canadian
Government's 2014 Budget (the "Economic Action Plan
The Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to terminate IIP and EP
applications filed on or before February 11, 2014, and to return
the filing fees paid to those applicants. However, before this plan
can be implemented, the Budget Implementation Act must
still be passed by Parliament and receive Royal Assent.
There has been no announcement regarding which cases currently
in the backlog will be processed to completion. Based on the
process used by CIC when it eliminated the backlog of Federal
Skilled Worker cases, it is likely that the Budget
Implementation Act will terminate all applications that have
not reached a specific stage of approval by a specified cut-off
date. Unfortunately, there is no information available regarding
what stage of completion and what cut-off date will be used.
According to the Canadian Government, the global economy has
changed significantly since the IIP was created three decades ago.
Investment capital flows increasingly freely across borders, and
interest rates are low. Other peer countries have already adapted
by increasing the investment and commitment required under their
The Canadian Government has also stated that the EP was designed
in the 1970s when Canada's economic priorities were different
from what they are today. At that time, the focus was on protecting
jobs in Canada. However, a more globalized economy requires a shift
towards innovation, productivity and creating better jobs and
stronger businesses that can compete on a global scale.
In place of the these programs, the Canadian Government will
introduce a new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Fund pilot
program, which will require immigrants to make a real and
significant investment in the Canadian economy. The Government will
also undertake consultations on a potential Business Skills pilot
These new pilot programs will be implemented by way of
Ministerial Instructions, pursuant to Section 14.1 of the
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
("IRPA")1, in the same manner as the
Start-Up Visa Program. Under Section 14.1, no more than 2,750
applications may be processed each year under a pilot program. In
addition, a pilot program may only be implemented for a maximum
period of five years, after which the Canadian Government must
amend IRPA if it wishes to establish a permanent program.
1. S.C. 2001, c. 27.
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