• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 10:16am
NewsWorld

Canada scraps millionaire visa scheme, ‘dumps 46,000 Chinese applications’

Tens of thousands of Chinese millionaires in the queue will have their applications scrapped and their application fees returned

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 February, 2014, 6:26am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 February, 2014, 12:23pm

Tens of thousands of Chinese millionaires face an uncertain future after Canada's government moved to scrap its controversial investor visa scheme, which has allowed waves of rich Hongkongers and mainland Chinese to immigrate since 1986.

The surprise announcement was made in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget, delivered to parliament in Ottawa on Tuesday. An estimated 45,500 mainland Chinese in the queue for visas in Hong Kong will have their applications "eliminated" and their fees returned.

[The scheme] has undervalued Canadian permanent residence
FINANCE MINISTER JIM FLAHERTY

The announcement came less than a week after the South China Morning Post revealed how the scheme was overwhelmed by an influx of applications from mainland millionaires at Canada's Hong Kong consulate. Applications to the scheme were frozen in 2012 as a result, as immigration staff struggled to clear the backlog.

"For decades, [the investor scheme] 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," Flaherty's budget said.

Under the scheme, would-be migrants worth a minimum of C$1.6 million (HK$11.2 million) loaned the government C$800,000 interest-free for a period of five years. The simplicity and low relative cost of the risk-free scheme made it the world's most popular wealth migration programme.

A parallel investor migration scheme run by Quebec remains open, although it has been capped at a modest 1,750 applicants per year, with a maximum 1,200 from any one country.

Flaherty also announced the scrapping of a smaller economic migration scheme for entrepreneurs. Citizenship and Immigration Canada said yesterday that the investor queue stood at 65,000, and 70 per cent of the backlog, as of January last year, was made up of mainlanders whose applications were being processed in Hong Kong. That suggests about 45,500 mainlanders queuing via the SAR will have their applications scrapped.

The Immigrant Investor Programme, which has brought about 185,000 migrants to Canada, was instrumental in facilitating an exodus of rich Hongkongers in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and in the run-up to the handover. More than 30,000 Hongkongers immigrated using the scheme. About 67,000 mainlanders have migrated to Canada under the IIP.

Ma Xiaoxue, an agent with immigration consultancy firm Well Trend in Beijing, said the change would have little effect as most firms started adjusting the direction of their businesses two years ago when the scheme was frozen.

"We haven't handled investment immigration to Canada for a long time. We don't care about the new rule," said Ma.

Additional reporting by Keith Zhai

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sclibrary
Good for them. The mainland chinese has ruined so many places like HK and Canada has been smart enough to lock the barriers
daily
Good for Canada.........now they won't be flooded by useless mainlanders trying to find ways to smuggle out their money which was never clean in the first place............I can imagine all those 46,000 plus applicant's expression right now..........must feel a bit screwed?
dascaldasf
Wake up CY Leung, you should read this. HK should review its immigration quota. Foolish to think we can absorb 150 immigrants per day from the Mainland.
parispam
I am very happy to hear about this news!!! It's about time that we should all focus not on wealth of these immigrants but more on their quality that they bring to a new country. I believe if the Mainland Chinese want to emigrate, they have to ask themselves how open are they to adapt and blend into the new culture they will call home. Very often, I find most Mainlanders think money is the ultimate benchmark. They can behave anyway they want just because they have money to flaunt. With this mentality, they are not welcome anywhere. Best for them is to stay in China - their homeland!
lamlm38
new generation Chinese from the mainland are generally different from the hard working and highly educated Chinese from HK, SG, or Taiwan.. all they are gonna do is using all their ill-gotten gains to speculate in Fixed Assets in Canada and not much else.. smart move Canada!!!
david.chambers.14855
As a Generational Canadian living in Vancouver I have been enraged as I have watched my standard of living dwindle as we let these people in causing prices here to skyrocket! As Canadians we have been such fools!
Artie
Hk should scrap its business visa as welll
johnh
Good for Canada
aaronmax
I did see Chinese (from mainland) who has obtained a foreign citizenship, still waving a Chinese flag in a sport event in that foreign country.
They just take advantages from others without giving any respect to the host country.
Some of them set up company (to meet the requirement) but recruit mostly overseas Chinese.
They just buy and occupy spaces with their money, invasion.
m2leung
An investor visa scheme is intended for immigrants who want to come to Canada to set up a small business, perhaps a grocery store. The business will employ a few Canadians to create a win-win situation for both sides. This scheme was never intended for a foreigner to "invest" in property to leave it empty.

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