Canada is inviting just 500 elite millionaire investors to join a golden visa lottery to immigrate to the country.
Only 50 wealthy investors will win the golden visa after a six-month assessment process, says the Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the government department responsible for expats.
The aim is to lure expats who can contribute to Canada’s economic growth.
In recent months, the government has reluctantly admitted an aging population is leaving a skills gap in the economy and immigration is being stepped up to plug the holes.
The new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program, which starts towards the end of January 2015, is one of several measures to increase the number of skilled expats.
Canada’s immigration policies are under constant review to make them attractive to skilled expats who are also eagerly sought by other developed countries, such as Australia.
The pilot golden visa program is targeting high-net worth individuals who can make a CDN$2 million non-guaranteed investment in Canada to finance startup businesses with the potential of fast growth.
In return, the golden visa will provide a fast-track to permanent residence for the investors and their families.
To qualify, the applicants will have to show:
- That they speak either French or English to a good standard
- That they have foreign qualifications equivalent to Canadian qualifications
- A proven, personal and independently verified net worth of CDN$10 million
“The government will accept a maximum of 500 applications for the pilot program and 50 will be selected at random for processing,” said a Canadian government spokesman.
“We expect it will take around six months to make a decision and all the successful applicants will be invited to take permanent residence in Canada.
“The intention is that this will be a fair and open process and that we will not have a backlog of applications. Taking random applications should also provide expats with varying skills and qualifications.”
The pilot scheme takes the place of the Investor Class Visa, which was severely criticised in the country as enabling rich Chinese business people to buy their way into Canada.
Another issue with the Investor Class Visa was immigrants headed for Toronto and Vancouver, rather than spreading their investment around the country. Vancouver is the nearest Canadian city to the Asia pacific home countries of immigrants who tended to come from Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China.
Anyone wanting to move to Canada can apply online for a work permit of a visa