Feds to announce new ‘venture capital’ investor immigrant program: report

Immigrant investor program Canada | BCBusiness
A travel visa application. The program would replace the former immigrant investor program.

Program would channel immigrant money into venture capital funds, rather than loans to provincial governments

The federal government is set to announce a new program that would allow prospective immigrants to gain residency visas by investing at least $1 million in a venture capital fund, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal published Thursday. A pilot program that will complement the government’s startup visa “will be announced in due course,” wrote a spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada in an emailed statement to BCBusiness, avoiding comment on the prospective replacement of the immigrant investor program, axed last February. 

According to the WSJ, the government will create a new immigrant class for individuals who would put between $1 million and $2 million in a venture capital fund that would in turn invest in startups, from which the feds hope to raise $120 million, making the program relatively small in scale. 

In February, Ottawa scrapped its investor immigrant program, which fast-tracked the path to citizenship for immigrants willing to give a five-year, zero-interest loan of $800,000 to their Canadian province of residence. At the time, then finance minister Jim Flaherty commented that it “significantly undervalued Canadian permanent residence” and that “there [was] little evidence that investors as a class [were] maintaining ties to Canada or making a positive economic contribution.” At the time of its cancellation, observers estimated that the feds had 59,000 backlogged applications, largely from Mainland China.