Canada’s Federal Investor Program & Entrepreneur Program Terminated
On February 11th, the 2014 Canadian Federal Budget, Economic Action Plan 2014, was released. In the budget, the Government of Canada announced the termination of the Federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) and Federal Entrepreneur (EN) Program, two programs that have been plagued by inefficiencies and longstanding backlogs. The programs will be scrapped, along with the 65,000 applicant backlog.
Research shows that these programs have done little to benefit Canada over the years. Under the Federal Investor program, investors were required to provide a $800,000 loan to the Canadian government, which was paid back interest free in 5 years. In actuality, these investors needed only to invest $150,000, since Canadian banks would fund the rest. They also could satisfy a lower score on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s point system compared to other economic immigrants (35/100 vs. 67/100), which measured factors such as language proficiency, education, experience and adaptability. Once their application was approved, these investors would receive permanent residency up-front without any conditions. The capital actually invested under the Investor program was disappointing, with less than half the funds actually invested.
Canada’s Investor Program is a huge contrast to programs run by other countries, where they have been adapted over the years to meet the countries’ economic needs. In the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, immigrant investors must invest as much as $5 to $10 million and are not offered permanent residency up-front.
Furthermore, research shows that investor and entrepreneur immigrants pay less taxes than other economic immigrants, up to $200,000 less, over a 20 year career. They are also less likely to stay in Canada long-term and lack the skills to contribute to the economy compared to other immigrants, such as English or French proficiency.
In place of these programs, the Government will introduce new pilot programs, such as a new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Fund pilot project, which will require immigrants to make a real and significant investment in the Canadian economy. The Government will also conduct consultations on a potential Business Skills pilot program. The Start-up Visa Program that was launched in 2013, which is for entrepreneurs who have the support of a Canadian venture capital firm, will continue.
The announcement to terminate the Federal Immigrant Investor Program and Federal Entrepreneur Program comes at a time when currently there is 65,000 applicant backlog. The Government of Canada will be eliminating this backlog and refunding all applicants. Applicants will then need to apply under the current immigration programs.
For more information, visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s New Release Canada’s Federal Investor Program & Entrepreneur Program Terminated & Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2014
— Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act
On February 6, 2014, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced a Blueprint for Improvements of Canadian Citizenship.The Canadian Government is commit to reduce backlogs and improve the efficiency of the process by strengthening the integrity of Canada’s Citizenship System. These are the first major reforms to take place since 1977. The changes are part of Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (Bill C-24). The Bill has received final passage in June, 2014.
Here are the major Changes to Canadian Citizenship Act that announced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC):
Reinforce the Value of Canadian Citizenship
- Reduce the processing system from 3 steps to 1 step
- Increase the application fee from $100 to $300
- Requires applicants to provide obvious indication for a physical presence in Canada during the residence period
- Requires 14-64 year-old applicants to meet more strict language requirements and pass a knowledge test
- Increase Residency Requirements from 3 out of 4 years to 4 out of 6 years.In addition, applicants will need to be physically present in Canada for 183 days per year for at least four of those six years.
Crack Down on Citizenship Fraud
- Increase penalties for fraud and misrepresentation to a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or five years in prison;
- Include foreign criminality as part of the ground to bar the application;
- Make it an offence to use unauthorized individuals to knowingly represent or advise in Citizenship matters for a fee.
Protect and Promote Canada’s Interests and Values
- Citizenship can be revoked from dual nationals who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, and spying offences, or who take up arms against Canada.
- Permanent Residents who commit these acts will be barred from applying for citizenship.
- Provide Individuals who have served Canada in uniform—and those who currently serve— as well as their children a quicker access to Canadian citizenship
- Automatically extending citizenship to additional “Lost Canadians” who were born before 1947, as well as to their children born in the first generation outside Canada.
The Blueprint of Citizenship Improvements
The new reforming of the act aims at simplify Canada’s citizenship program. By 2015–2016, these changes are expected to：
- bring the average processing time for citizenship applications down to under 1 year
- reduce the current backlog by more than 80 percent
- better aligned the application fees with the actual cost of processing to relieve the current financial burden on Canadian taxpayers
- ensure new citizens have a stronger attachment to Canada
- support newcomer’s integration to the Canadian economy and communities
- effectively protect the value of Canadian citizenship and prevent fraud
The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, along with the launch of the Blueprint for Citizenship Improvements, helps improve the citizenship process by reducing backlogs and wait times.” Says Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, “Our government is proud to table improvements to the Citizenship Act that reinforce the value of citizenship and make the process quicker and easier for new Canadians who play by the rules.
For more information about the Changes to Canadian Citizenship Act, please contact us.