As the U.S. government wrestles with its controversial investor-visa program, Canadians are killing theirs.
Like America’s EB-5 system, Canada’s Immigrant Investor Program made thousands of foreign nationals eligible for residency in exchange for cash investments.
But the Ottawa government scrapped its program after finding it provided little economic benefit.
“For decades, it has significantly undervalued Canadian permanent residence,” the Canadian Ministry of Finance wrote in its 2014 budget report.
“There is also little evidence that immigrant investors as a class are maintaining ties to Canada or making a positive economic contribution to the country.”
All 65,000 pending applications, which the government estimates would have taken six years to process, will be returned and paid fees refunded. About 70 percent of the backlog came from Chinese applicants, CNN reported.
The Canadian program differed from its U.S. counterpart in three key ways:
- It required investors to have a minimum net worth of $1.6 million (Canadian dollars; $1.5 million U.S.). America’s EB-5 program has no net-worth standard.
- It set an $800,000 (Canadian) investment level, compared with as little as $500,000 in the U.S.
- Instead of being targeted for private companies through middlemen called “regional centers,” the Canadian cash was routed into five-year, interest-free loans to the government.
Canada’s decision to end its IIP comes amid more criticism of America’s EB-5 program.
Citing internal documents, the Washington Times reported last week the EB-5 system is “rife with fraud and corruption.”
“With hundreds of millions of dollars improperly diverted … government officials lamented a persistent lack of oversight and an inability to investigate or prosecute the perpetrators,” the Times stated.
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