• Wed
  • Nov 19, 2014
  • Updated: 8:22am
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MIGRATION

Canada immigration chief admits mainlanders flouting rules was one reason for visa axe

New visa scheme doubles minimum investment and has stricter criteria, says immigration chief

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 March, 2014, 4:31pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 10:49am
 

Canada's immigration chief admitted yesterday that the flouting of residency rules by mainlanders was one of the reasons its investor visa scheme was axed.

But Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander was quick to point out that it was not the "principle reason" and that Canada's door was still open to Chinese migrants.

Announcing stricter criteria for a new investor scheme to be launched later this year, Alexander told the South China Morning Post during an interview in Hong Kong that the required amount needed to qualify for the new immigrant investor venture capital pilot would be more than double that of the previous visa's C$800,000 (HK$5.6 million).

"We want Chinese investors in Canada and the door is open, the pathways are multiple," Alexander said. "We are making these changes for them."

Canada scrapped its investor visa last month, dumping 65,000 applications, about 45,500 of which were filed by mainlanders applying in Hong Kong.

Alexander said the new fund would be privately managed and a competition would be held to select the managers. The funds would be invested in "at-risk" start-ups for more than five years, longer than the previous scheme.

He said money would be directed into industries such as the internet, biotechnology, entertainment, animation, film and television.

"We have very vigorous start-up hubs in Vancouver, in Calgary, in Toronto, in Montreal and in many smaller Canadian cities like Waterloo," he said.

Alexander said there would be one pooled fund for the pilot programme, so investors had little control over where their money went, but this could change when the programme launches.

Quebec continues to accept 1,750 applications a year for its parallel investor visa, with a maximum of 1,200 applications from any single country.

Alexander said investors, especially those from the mainland, not meeting residency requirements had been a factor in the termination of the original visa programme, but the main reason was the size and productivity of the investments.

It was not so much of an issue with Hong Kong applicants as it was with mainlanders, and there were thousands of investigations under way into immigrants who had gained Canadian citizenship, not just on the investment visa, without meeting residency requirements, he said.

"A significant number of people found ways to get around the residency requirement and that essentially means you're giving people status in Canada without actually benefiting from their presence," he said.

"The amount was small. The investment performance was weak," he said. "Last time we did the numbers, only about half of the resources distributed to the provinces had been actually invested in productive projects."

Alexander said another factor was the "almost insuperable" backlog of applicants, who would have to wait a minimum of six to seven years. He said the total backlog of visa applicants had fallen from nearly one million to less than 400,000 since scrapping the investment visa and the backlog of federal skilled worker visa applicants.

Alexander added that mainland investors' impact on rising home prices in cities such as Vancouver was "negligible to zero".

He also dismissed any growing resentment of rich Chinese immigrants for buying their way into the country. "You'll hear all kinds of anecdotal information, but the reality of Canada is that immigration is seen as part of our national vocation," he said. "There are voices in the United States, there are certainly voices in Europe, there are voices in Asia that really are negative about immigration. You will not find that point of view organised or prominent in Canada at any level."

Nearly 100 disappointed mainland investor applicants, some of who have been on the waiting list for several years, have filed a lawsuit against the Canadian government over its decision to scrap the scheme. "We face litigation all the time," Alexander said, adding that many mainland immigration consultants openly admitted to helping investors who had no intention of meeting residency requirements.

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15

This article is now closed to comments

daily
Oh Shiete...........hope Canada is not changing their minds again and finding another way to let those annoying mainlanders into Canada again.............it is just going to devalue the country's culture.
donniemcm
'Alexander added that mainland investors' impact on rising home prices in cities such as Vancouver was "negligible to zero".'
Yes and the surging numbers of supercars on the street is negligible to zero. You cannot see them, hear them, right.
whoaman
Talk about spin....
.
I think there's a lot more mainlanders flouting residency rules than this guy is letting on. And saying that they haven't affected home prices in Vancouver....give me a break.
andreaswagner
I think there are far too many chinese crooks in Canada already. It's bad for quality of life.
tksiow
Only need HKD 5.6 mio.----less than USD 1 mio or only 600 google shares to qualify for a Canadian visa is absurd. The Canadian govt. must be very desperate for such an insignificant sum of money.
Many of the uncultured Chinese farmers can also qualify.
They must be laughing their head off at all the fuss and the sheer stupidity of Canada selling their "beloved" country to unruly peasants from China.
daily
Even doubling the money requirement will not solve the problem because the Chinese that plan on immigrating there have that kind of money to "buy" the passport..............The biggest issue is that these so-called "investor immigrants" from mainland China, do nothing more than "buy" the passport while contributing nothing and I mean absolutely nothing to Canada other than drive the prices up of properties and etc...............I think this minister still doesn't know what he's talking about.
guy.pant
It's really an excuse for developers, home builders/sellers, banks, realtors, lawyers and a whole money driven industry who are in the game and raking in the dough from mainlanders - some of whom may be unaware of the underhanded deals/hype within the industry which can drive up price.
chaz_hen
Wouldn't you too if your "leaders" and government did as well??
goncalo
Mainlanders are specialists in circumventing rules of any kind.
hardhang
making a nuisance of themselves
lucifer
You know many countries, like the US, they look at where the most immigrants are coming from and then they bar them from certain immigration schemes. For example, Honkeys can participate in the visa lottery and Mainlanders cannot.
chaz_hen
True...they ought to return to Hong Kong, where they originated from!
suchiu
"Honkeys" is discriminatory comment - please refrain from using it
Formerly ******
Yeah, imagine, Canadians who can't play hockey.
是啊,試想,加拿大人誰不能玩曲棍球。
liukuei
"principle reason" should be "principal reason." A common mistake.

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