Canadian Withdrawal of Investor Visa Scheme Hardly Upsets Chinese Millionaires, Turns to Other Nations
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 18, 2014 1:23 PM EST
Chinese millionaires whose applications have been withdrawn after Canada scraped its Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) were hardly upset. They can always turn to the U.S. and Europe to expand and migrate anyway.
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On Wednesday, Canada announced it will be scrapping the IIP following reports it had been abused by wealthy Chinese people wanting to secure fast and immediate residency in the country.
Under the IIP, launched in 1986, business or wealthy people with a net worth of at least $1.6 million were offered visas in exchange for lending $800,000 to the Canadian government for five years. The investment across Canada usually came in the form of real estate.
Sonia Lesage, spokeswomen for the Canadian immigration authority, told the Sunday edition of the Beijing Youth Daily that the scheme still did not contribute much to the Canadian economy.
"Except the $800,000 interest-free loans, immigrants from the investor program contributed little to the economy," Ms Lesage said. She said new immigrants paid few taxes.
An investor immigrant paid $200,000 less in taxes under IIP over 20 years than a technical immigrant, the People's Daily Online said.
The cancellation of the IIP effectively withheld the applications for visas of some 46,000 people. Canadian government said their fees will be refunded.
"I think I made a good choice," Hu Xiaofeng told the South China Morning Post. Hu is a banker who obtained permanent residency in the U.S. in 2013 through an investment program. "I wanted to move to Canada, but my agent told me the process was more complicated and the chances of obtaining Canadian residency status were slim."
Canada had since frozen in 2012 new applications for the visa category to clear existing backlog of cases.
In a poll by microblogging platform Sina Weibo, Chinese netizens continued to be hopeful. They tried to look at the cancellation as a means to revisit and revise the statute.
"Don't worry, Canada is working out and alternative scheme to attract real investment," Weibo user 'fuyinqingting' wrote.
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