July 24, 2015 – Canada's new program aimed at
attracting high net-worth immigrants is a failure, according to
documents obtained through an access-to-information request. The
Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Program (IIVCP) was
launched to much self-congratulation in January 2015 and billed as
a replacement for the Immigrant Investor Program (IIP),
which had been cancelled by the Conservative Government in 2014.
Documents show that the IIVCP has received only six applications, a
far cry from the 60 spots allocated to the program and the 500
applications that had been anticipated.
That might have something to do with new program requirements,
according to Eren Sari, Business Development Manager at Green and
Spiegel LLP. The IIP provided Permanent Residence to investors and
their dependents in exchange for a 5-year, non-interest bearing
$800,000 investment in Canada. When cancelled, the program had a
backlog of about 60,000 applicants. In contrast, the IIVCP requires
a 15-year investment of $2,000,000, with whole investment being
"at-risk" – meaning investors risk losing their
"The program looks as though it was designed in a
vacuum" says Eren Sari. "Not only did they not consider
the nature of the program it was replacing, they completely ignored
the market for these kinds of "Citizenship-by-Investment
Programs" offered by other countries. I wouldn't even call
it a failure – it never had any hope of success".
A cursory examination of competing international programs shows
that IIVCP requirements are outliers in the global competition for
immigrant investors. Eren Sari asks "why would an investor
risk $2,000,000 to come to Canada, when they can risk far less
– as little as US$500,000 – to secure a US Green Card?
With a broad array of international programs to choose from,
I'm amazed that they received as many applications as they
Competition for immigrant investors is fierce, with many
countries offering residency and eventual citizenship in exchange
for investments in their economies. In Europe, for example,
investors may obtain residency in Spain or Portugal in exchange for
maintaining a €500,000 5-year investment in real-estate.
Residency in Antigua and Barbuda can be had for as little as
$250,000. By comparison, Canada's 15-year commitment of
$2,000,000 is simply too rich, even for high net-worth
Despite a lacklustre program at the Federal level, immigrant
investors hoping to call Canada home have options by way of a
provincial program in Quebec. The Quebec program closely resembles
the now-cancelled IIP. Qualified investors may obtain Permanent
Residence in Canada in exchange for a 5-year non-interest bearing
investment of $800,000 (an amount that may be financed) and an
undertaking that they intend to reside in Quebec.
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