Canada abolishes its investor visa program

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The Canadian Immigration authority Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced that it intends to abolish Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) and the Federal Entrepreneur Program (FEP). The aim of the move is to eliminate the large backlog of applications that already exists for those two programs and to pave the way for new pilot programs that are expected to bring high-quality foreign investments to the country. All applications that have been made up to this moment will be terminated and the paid fees will be returned. The IIP allowed wealthy foreign citizens worth more than CAN$1,600,000 (£885,000, US$1,455,000) to apply for Canadian permanent resident visas if they lent $800,000 ( (£443,000, US$733,000) to the Canadian government for three years. According to the former Immigration minister of Canada, the program significantly undervalues Canadian Citizenship and fails to attract foreign entrepreneurs who are willing to actively invest in the Canadian economy. For a while a rumors have circulated that Citizenship and Immigration Canada might keep in place the IIP program but these rumours proved to be false. The research of CIC shows that immigrant investors on average pay less taxes than other types of immigrants and are more likely to leave Canada in the medium and long term. At the same time the other investor program – The FEP was suspended in 2011. At that time, there was a backlog of 10,000 applications pending, which would have taken about eight years to clear. FEP applications will also be terminated and Government fees refunded. One of the substitute program which will come in place of the old foreign investor visas is the Start up visa whose aim is to connect foreign entrepreneurs with Canadian venture capitalists. If entrepreneurs can attract sufficient investment then, providing they meet Canada’s general immigration criteria, they will receive permanent residence visas.

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