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Changes to the Immigrant Investor Program necessary, says minister

The changes were necessary,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “The requirements had not been increased in more than a decade and we need to keep pace with the changing economy.”

Canada’s old Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) criteria were the lowest when compared to other countries with similar programs. The new criteria now align it more closely with other immigrant-receiving countries.

The investor program was suspended in June 2010, in part because the high volume of applications was leading to wait times that were too long.

Raising the requirements will help reduce the flow of applications while ensuring Canada attracts experienced business people who can make a more substantial contribution to the economy.

Higher personal net worth criteria mean the program is now better positioned to attract investors with valuable business links and the resources to make secondary investments in the Canadian economy.

Investments made through the program take the form of a five-year, zero-interest loan to the Government of Canada on behalf of participating provinces and territories.

These funds are distributed to participating provinces and territories to fund economic development and job creation initiatives in their regions.

While investment strategies vary, some examples to date include venture capital investments in clean technology, public sector infrastructure investments (expansion of broadband Internet access, and construction of post-secondary institutions, etc), and loans to small and medium-sized Canadian businesses. The provinces and territories must guarantee repayment of the investments received.

“Higher investment amounts mean provinces and territories will receive more investment capital to put toward job creation and economic development projects,” added the Minister.

Canada’s Immigrant Investor Program offers several benefits to international investors, including permanent resident status up front and guaranteed repayment of the investment.

Posted: Mar 4, 2011

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