26 december 2012

Immigrant Investor Program should be a priority for government, says lawyer


Photo: CBC News report

Thousands of millionaire businesspeople around the world are waiting to come to Canada under Citizenship and Immigration Canada's Immigrant Investor Program. But since Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced an overhaul of the program, in April 2012, their applications have been in limbo.

The government’s decision only adds to the frustration of these applicants, who have to wait years before they are finally allowed to enter Canada.

“They feel like they don’t want to apply to another country, they’re committed to Canada, and yet their lives are on hold," says David Rosenblatt, a Canadian Immigration lawyer with Rosenblatt Immigration Law.

Last April, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced an overhaul of the Immigrant Investor Program (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

At the time of the announcement, minister Kenney said that "Canada's Immigrant Investor Program undervalues the importance of Canadian citizenship and fails to ensure that new investors are investing actively in the Canadian economy."

Under the current program, investors have to provide an investment of $800,000 and have a net worth of $1, 6 million dollars. It essentially requires a five-year interest-free loan to provincial governments.

Program needs changes

“Minister Kenney might not see that this program has a lot of value for Canada, says Rosenblatt, because it’s effectively loaning the Canadian government 800 000 $, which [the government] has to refund after five years. So the net benefit to Canada might have been a 50 000 or 60 000 $ benefit,” he says.

Rosenblatt agrees that the program needs to undergo some changes. For one thing it should accept more immigrants.

“If you look at the numbers, the business immigration category is the smallest piece of this immigration pie," he says. "There’s something wrong with that, because these are the ones [who] have the real economic benefit.”

Source: CBC

Huge backlog

Rosenblatt also thinks the government should deal with the severe backlog of applications as soon as possible. As of June 2012, 85,598 people, representing around 25,000 investors, were on the list. These families have to wait as much as 10 years before they receive an answer from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

“No matter what program that we create, this should be a priority, to source these great businesspeople from around the world and bring them to Canada quickly," says Rosenblatt.

Gilda Salomone spoke with David Rosenblatt, a Canadian Immigration lawyer with Rosenblatt Immigration Law.
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