Canada’s Federal Investor Program for Immigrants in Limbo

The size of the loan applicants are required to make under the Federal Immigrant Investor Program increased from $400,000 to $800,000 in 2010, and is expected to increase again in the near future, due to huge demand for Canadian permanent residency status from wealthy individuals abroad.

The Federal Immigrant Investor Program (FIIP), which allows foreign individuals with net worths of more than $1.6 million to become Canadian permanent residents by lending a provincial government $800,000 for five years without interest, is scheduled to start accepting applications in two weeks to fill a new annual quota, but it is still not clear as to whether the federal government will suspend, modify, or allow the program to continue as it is until a new program has been designed to replace it.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had previously said that the FIIP should be changed to require applicants to make more active and long-term investments in Canada than the current five year loan requirement, or increase the sum they must lend without interest, given the huge demand for the program and room the government has to increase the investment required under it.

Last year, the program’s quota of 700 was filled in 30 minutes, with some wealthy foreigners chartering private jets to be the first to submit their applications to the Sydney NS office when it started accepting applications.

The Minister said that the size of the investment that the program would require would depend in part on whether the US government renews its investor program in September. If it doesn’t, Canada would see even greater demand for permanent residence from wealthy foreigners, and be able to increase the price by a greater margin.

The recently passed budget bill also grants the Department of Immigration and Citizenship the power to craft its own short term immigration programs, each limited to 2,750 applications per year,  to meet the demands of changing economic conditions, and the department is looking to use this new power to create complementary investor programs with alternative requirements for applicants, like making an investment in a Canadian startup.

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