Canada Terminates Its Popular Investor Visa Similar to U.S. EB-5

Categories: Immigration Lawyer Blog San Diego

In its 2014 budget report the Canadian Ministry of Finance announced that its immigrant investor program, similar to the United States’ EB-5 program, would be terminated.  The report states that “[f]or decades, [the program] has significantly undervalued Canadian permanent residence, providing a pathway to Canadian citizenship in exchange for a guaranteed loan that is significantly less than our peer countries require.”  The Canadian program required that immigrant investors seeking permanent residency had a minimum net worth of 1.6 million Canadian dollars (approximately $1.5 million) and invested 800,000 Canadian dollars as a multi-year, interest-free loan to the Canadian government.  The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand require between $5 to $10 million and do not offer up-front permanent residency according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

While Canada has terminated its investor program the United States maintains its EB-5 program.  This program offers foreign nationals the opportunity to invest $1,000,000 (or at least $500,000 in a “Targeted Employment Area” as designated by the U.S.) to create or preserve at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers not including the investor and his/her immediate family.  This program allows the investor to obtain a two year, conditional green card.  At the end of this conditional permanent residency the investor must file appropriate paperwork to demonstrate that the investment has created or preserved at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers.  This program allows investors to gain permanent residency while sidestepping the backlogs for employment-based permanent residency in other categories which date as far back as September 1, 2003 in certain categories.