• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 8:25am
NewsWorld
CANADA

1,300 rich Chinese join lawsuit over axing of Canada’s millionaire migrant scheme

Lawyer representing wealthy mainland Chinese applicants to present case at Federal Court calling for compensation to be paid over cancelled millionaire migrant scheme

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 12:32pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, 11:04pm

More than 1,300 rich mainland Chinese have joined a lawsuit against Canada's immigration authorities in a last-ditch attempt to escape Ottawa's decision to shut down its millionaire migrant scheme and terminate tens of thousands of applications.

Tim Leahy, the Toronto lawyer behind the Federal Court case that goes before Justice Mary Gleason today, is seeking C$5million (HK$35.7 million) in compensation for each applicant and their dependents unless the government agrees to assess their cases.

Leahy said 1,335 of his 1,446 clients had lodged their applications for the federal Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP]) in Hong Kong. Virtually all of the Hong Kong applicants are mainland Chinese.

The litigation, if successful, represents a potential payout of C$18 billion, based on an average of 2.5 individuals per application. Leahy regards the threat of such a payout as the "poison pill" that would force the processing of the applications.

Although the scheme's cancellation was announced in the Canadian federal budget on February 11, the termination of the applications in the queue will not go into effect until the budget is passed, expected on June 26.

"Faced with that [C$18 billion] cost, I would expect CIC [Citizenship and Immigration Canada] to agree to finalise the cases on the merits even though it will have terminated your file when the budget nill passes," Leahy said in an e-mail to clients last month that was also shared with the South China Morning Post.

Faced with that cost, I would expect CIC to agree to finalise the cases on the merits even though it will have terminated your file when the budget nill passes
Toronto lawyer Tim Leahy

Leahy said on Monday that by inserting the IIP's cancellation and the backlog's termination in a budget bill, the government was seeking to avoid "full parliamentary scrutiny".

Immigration data shows that of the 66,423 individuals in the federal immigrant investor backlog as of last July, 50,131 had lodged their applications via Hong Kong.

Leahy claimed that immigration authorities unfairly slowed the processing of applications under the federal IIP well ahead of its cancellation. He drew a contrast with the rate at which applications were processed under a parallel scheme run by the province of Quebec. That scheme continues to operate.

"If CIC had allocated to the rest of Canada an FIIP quota equal on a per capita basis to the quota it allocates to Quebec, there would be no FIIP inventory. All the files would have been finalised by now," Leahy claimed.

Leahy's lawsuit includes would-be migrants who lodged applications in Ankara, London, New Delhi, Paris, Port-of-Spain, Pretoria and Singapore, in addition to those from Hong Kong.

Federal authorities have not commented publicly on the case.

The announcement that the federal IIP would be shut down came less than a week after the South China Morning Post published a series of reports that revealed how tens of thousands of applications to the scheme by rich mainlanders had swamped Canada's Hong Kong consulate, creating the vast backlog.

The IIP was a key means of migration for rich Hongkongers and mainland Chinese over the past 28 years.

Under the scheme, applicants worth a minimum of C$1.6 million received visas for themselves and their immediate family in return for loaning the government C$800,000 interest-free for five years, after which the loan was returned in full.

Leahy said the bulk of his fees would be payable only should the case be won, with each client facing total fees of C$5,000 in that event. 

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This article is now closed to comments

jpleblanc@hotmail.com
I'm pretty sure that program is only abolished for provinces other then Quebec province, Quebec handles a lot of its immigration by itself. it was in the local news here the other day that the program is still in effect here. so as long as they can settle to live in montreal, quebec city or accross the river from ottawa in gatineau for a few years they still can get canadian citizenship with there money.
liukuei
Canadian residency and citizenship have been up for sale for a long time. Canadian government will do anything to raise revenues. But when too many applicants are Chinese, Canada changes the rules.
On the plus side, this clumsy Canadian decision could be good for China. Instead of having a long-term plan of just leaving behind the mess that is their homeland, Chinese may have a stronger incentive to make China more livable.
Best of luck to the Chinese would-be immigrants and their lawsuit. They wasted a lot of time and money trying to comply with Canadian rules that provided hope of a better life elsewhere. I hope they can make China less of a country to escape from, meanwhile.
Paradox314
It's not that too many applicants were Chinese - there were just too many applicants!
tedlem
I suspect litigation against immigration Canada might not work because this is a country where being rich doesn't mean you get what you want.
Little do these super rich know is that lawsuits in Canada take 5-10 years to process. These rich folks will be quite old by that time and C-24 or a form of it will have come into play to kick them out if they don't stay in Canada long enough.
One thing is for certain, there is a single winner in this process....the lawyer.
Paradox314
As a Canadian myself, I'm not at all worried about this lawsuit. Let's trust the Canadian legal system to work it out. It's a good example for China. Trust rule of law - not that the courts never make errors - but when they do there are always appeals to higher courts. If the Canadian Govt. was in breach of the law or if they did not uphold any contractual agreements, then they should and will be held accountable. And if this happens - great!! Those Chinese people involved will see what it means for a government to be accountable under the same law as all of its citizens.
535aea67-f740-4042-ae89-35060a320969
Canadian Gov't have the right to cancel your application if you are not qualified. Move on!!
kctony
I don't understand. All I read in the papers is that China is so good. So all the bashing of western world now seems just like a hoax. If these people can't make it to Canada, they will send their children to schools all over the western civilization. What a shame.
It is also an effect of our President meaning business in cleaning up corruption. Perhaps it is time for our Hong Kong patriots to return to motherland and help out.
537106d2-c814-4548-9b03-34f10a320969
Any country would be better off for taking a migrant based on skills as opposed to just money. Even successful robbers have money but they usually don't make for good citizens. How about the Chinese apply based on skills instead? Nothing wrong with that!
syn
"Thousands of Rich Shocked When They are Told They Are Unable to Buy Something" -- it sounds like an Onion article
tedlem
Well, Canadians don't really kowtow to someone having lots of money. The Chinese will.

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