• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 5:54pm

Canada still wants you, minister tells Chinese applicants in axed investor migrant programme

Immigration chief tells applicants in Hong Kong and on mainland not to give up after scrapping of the hugely popular investor visa programme

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 11:47pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 11:21am

Canada's immigration minister has invited tens of thousands of Chinese millionaires to find other ways of getting into the country.

The appeal comes after the scrapping of a controversial investor visa scheme that resulted in their applications being dumped.

Chris Alexander also used an interview with the South China Morning Post on Wednesday to reassure would-be migrants in Hong Kong and on the mainland that Canada's immigration system remained open for business.

He was speaking a day after the Conservative government in Ottawa announced it was ending the 28-year-old Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) and dumping the backlogged applications of 65,000 visa-seekers.

They included applications from about 45,500 rich mainlanders at the Hong Kong consulate. "Anyone in this backlog realises it was going to take eight or nine years to get to their applications," Alexander said.

"What we are saying to them is that all of our other immigration programmes are available to you. Find the one that fits best for your situation."

The IIP had become the world's most popular wealth-based migration scheme before it overwhelmed Canada's consulate in Hong Kong, a Post investigation revealed last week. The government froze applications worldwide in 2012.

In the last full year of operation, 86 per cent of its applicants were mainland millionaires.

Under the scheme, principal applicants worth a minimum of C$1.6 million (HK$11.3 million) simply loaned the Canadian government C$800,000 interest free for five years. In exchange they received visas for themselves and their families, with the option of applying for citizenship.

The IIP proved wildly popular with rich mainlanders and in 2010 alone, applications from more than 34,000 swamped the Hong Kong consulate.

Alexander, who said he was made aware of the situation at the Hong Kong consulate when he took over as minister last July, said the days of risk-free investor migration to Canada were over.

But he touted a new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Fund, to be launched later this year, which will demand visa-seekers provide a larger sum and put it into targeted "at-risk" investments.

Alexander said the old scheme was beset by abuse and fraud, with many migrants simply returning to their former countries to continue working while leaving their spouse and children in Canada.

The phenomenon was particularly widespread among rich Chinese immigrants.

"A significant number of people made a commitment to reside in Canada as a condition of the programme, but without actually having the intention to reside. Any programme that became subject to abuse and fraud on that scale had to be reformed," Alexander said.

He denied the axing of the scheme was designed to target Chinese migrants. "It was a global programme," he said.

"No one should be surprised that we took this action. It reflects our approach to immigration as a whole … we want to tackle abuse and fraud wherever we find it."

Alexander said he did not want rich Chinese to feel unwelcome as a result of the IIP's axing . He urged those whose applications were dumped to look for other ways into Canada.

"Our message to would-be immigrants around the world, but especially in China and Hong Kong, is that we are recruiting talent on a scale that we never have before," Alexander said.

"There is a range of pathways open to them [and] all of these programmes are dominated by Asian countries. We expect that to continue and grow."

A spokesman for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong would not comment.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Bo Xilai
Canada's Immigration Minister says "Canada still wants you"
He should added a small caveat - "Just the honest, taxpaying ones"...
Which eliminates about 99% of mainlanders...
The mainland 'would be' immigrants don't give a damn about Canada. The vast majority will not make good or decent Canadians citizens. Canada does not need or want their corrupt values. By itself these are good enough reasons for stopping this badly conceived programme.
Mathieu Jolin
As a Canadian born in Montreal who lived in Vancouver for few years and now in Hong Kong, I have to say that people from Mainland don't want to be part of Canada. They just gather together and they don't care about their new home country. They speculate on housing and are sending their children to UBC, without learning the culture or having the desire to fit in. I am glad Canada put a stop on this immigration scheme.
Dai Muff
Why would all these people want to spend so much money to leave the motherland? It is paradise on Earth according to many of the posters to these comments pages.
More countries should follow suit because these so-called investor's immigration programs only give a channel for the mainlanders to funnel their "black money" out of China while buying themselves a passport..........keep the Chinese and their dirty money inside their own country so that they don't corrupt the rest of the world which is already corrupted enough.
Canada should impose quota schemes by country as well as ensuring that those people applying are committed to integrate to their society (e.g. set a language proficiency requirement, education level requirements etc.). Make sure the thing happening in Hong Kong where welfare is being guzzled up by people who cannot support themselves do not happen in Canada,and to stop those property speculcation!
I hope all western countries will follow suite to turn all mainlanders away - keep them in China so that they solve their own problems instead of running away and bring the problems to other countries.
obviously you are venting and have no clue about Canada.
HK'ers got their passports and like the mainland chinese, never wanted to live in Canada.
and Canada is not "white", go there and see for yourself, or watch the olympics.
The minister is right, you want canadian citizenship, you can still do it the old fashion way, move, live, and work in Canada.
Close the quick and easy route for those who don't really want to be Canadians.
It's not Chinese getting out of China that's the problem, it's that they bring their "black money" out with them! This artificially inflates the local prices and the locals lose access to "basic commodities". Property, education, healthcare and transport... food will be next!
Let's cut the red tape crxp. This loophole has been exploited for decades and the country has kept one eye shut, but why are they blowing it out of proportions now? Thanks for the epic influx of Mainland migrants bringing along with them their sub-par civility and odd social customs the country has to act to prevent social unrest. This is what they have in mind.
Pretest for candidates:
1.Basic English communication skills
2.Deep pockets
3.A Written test to evaluate integrity/etiquette. ( eg. )
What would you do when you want to get on a bus/train. a) Form a line. b) Shout your way through. c) Push your way through
What would you say when someone opens a door for you- a) Thank You. b) Stares at him oddly. c) Say nothing.
Would you bring your own chopsticks instead of using the utensils in a local restaurant?
If your neighboring school rejects application for your son/daughter, would you a) Make an appointment with the school and learn what they could do to improve their chances next time. b) Waltz right in and start cussing to show who's the boss. c) Ready a stack of dough to bribe your way in.
Do you believe in the creation of toilets or are you a naturalist?
What would you DO if you see someone who got ran over by a car ? a) Call 911 b) Take photos c) Mind your own business and be on your way.
How do you pay the cashier ? Do you hand the money over, slam it hard on the table or toss it on the table ?
need another 9000 word count here
Chinese, be on notice, Canadian Government only wants your MONEY.
Canadian people do not want you.
just goes to show what a bigoted country canada is, after all. the white guys in govt just worried their country is overrun by non-whites.
here's a msg to canada, keep your country white...we dont want it. one day, your white citizens will run it to bankruptcy anyway. Even with such high taxes in your country and u r still broke....just goes to show your incompetence in running the country.
if canada were so good, why do u have so many HK returnees after getting their passports.?
Looks to me you must have been one of those rejected or deported wannabe migrants back in the old days. The grape is sour.........
why is canada the victim here? they launched this policy...the chinese applied on canada's terms and were accepted. now that canada has gotten enough money, they want to stop the scheme, which is within their rights, but why is everyone blaming the chinese??
canada's behaviour is no different from a prostitute. she just wants the money, but not the relationship.
If the children of Chinese immigrants can get into UBC based on their academic merit, then what is the problem with it? Unless you can proof that they cheated their way into university.
Is this a joke or what? The Canadian government must make up its mind.
But many Canadians don't want you here for it makes us poor!
Canadian hooker asking for higher prices from her customers mostly mainlanders and hkers. And this hooker still wants to keep the honour of a lady !?
Maybe Canada's coastlines are not too well guarded? Good luck!
Bo Xilai
He denied the axing of the scheme was designed to target Chinese migrants. "It was a global programme," he said.
Of course he can't "say" it, even though he meant it.
The Canadian government cowers in the face of Mainland China's Communist Dictatorship.
Its really informative for me
If I was a mainlander I would never re-apply under those Canadian programs that seems to close and clear backlog at any time and this was also the case for skilled worker. I would rather apply under eb-5 and get a US permanent residency. **** of Alexander, the worst immigration minister in a long time.
We do not know about the quality of the policy advice given to the Conservative Ministers in Ottawa but we in Canada are watching a government lose face in the clumsiest manner. And lose face both to their citizens and potential immigrants.
Stupid, cowardly b a s t a r d. selling out his country for money. One has to wonder who is lobbying him. Guess who?
Would they want one with your username LOL?


SCMP.com Account