Canada seeks 50 millionaire immigrant investors under pilot program
Immigration officials also set to launch pilot program to help Canadians sponsor their spouses
The Canadian government will give permanent residency to approximately 50 millionaire immigrant investors and their families under a pilot program set to begin in the new year.
Under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital pilot program announced Tuesday, each investor will be required to make a non-guaranteed investment of $2 million over 15 years and have a net worth of $10 million.
"Through the launch of this pilot program, we are attracting investors who can make a significant investment and who have the education and proven business or investment experience necessary to achieve success in Canada," Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said in a news release Tuesday.
"The funds will be invested in innovative Canadian-based start-ups with high growth potential."
Industry Minister James Moore said the pilot program was part of Canada's efforts "to attract experienced business leaders to Canada while leveraging their business expertise and personal investments."
The government said it will begin accepting applications under the pilot project in late January.
This is the second pilot program announced by Alexander's office this week.
The government announced Monday it will be launching a one year pilot project to help the spouses of Canadians who have applied for permanent residency.
The announcement came after the CBC Go Public team reported that thousands of Canadian families are living in limbo, unable to work and without health coverage, due to lengthy processing times.
"Citizenship and Immigration Canada will take the necessary steps to speed up processing for work permit applicants in the inland spousal class while maintaining program integrity," Kevin Ménard told CBC News in an email.
"This pilot program will ensure that, during the processing period, applicants will be able to work, provide for their families and contribute to the Canadian economy.”
'Cash for citizenship'
The Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) pilot program comes after the government scrapped both the immigrant investor program and the entrepreneur program earlier this year.
Launched in 1986, the immigrant investor program offered visas to business people with a net worth of at least $1.6 million who were willing to lend $800,000 to the Canadian government for a term of five years.
The government said it cancelled the immigrant investor program — which critics had described as "cash for citizenship" — because it had been riddled with fraud.
The program had also been put on hold in 2012 due to a huge backlog of applications.
Thousands of millionaires who had been waiting for permanent residency under the program sued the federal government after it wiped out the backlog of applications.
A Federal Court judge ruled against the more than 1,000 would-be investor immigrants in June.
The government promises to have more details once the pilot program is launched.