Canada scraps visa deals for the ‘wrong type of expat’

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Written By Saeed Maleki

Expats looking to settle in Canada face tougher qualifying rules as the government tightens up immigration laws.

The government plans to scrap the Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) and Federal Entrepreneur (EN) Program to wipe out a backlog of applications for working visas.

Instead, the focus will shift to luring experienced entrepreneurs who can inject investment capital that will boost Canada’s economy.

The change of plan comes after a review that identified many expats settling in the country lack skills, do not speak English or French to the required standard and fail to integrate into the community.

The research also revealed expat investors tend to pay less tax than other business professionals and do not to stay in Canada for the long-term.

Guaranteed permanent residency

The Canadian government wants to open borders to expats who have the skills and business experience to take over jobs from an increasingly aging population.

New pilot schemes to test attracting expats with better job and language skills will replace the scrapped programs.

As part of the Immigrant Investor Program, Canada offers guaranteed permanent residency to expats who can invest a minimum CDN$800,000. Britain, Australia and New Zealand require between CDN$5 and CDN$10 million without providing the security of up-front permanent residency.

These four nations are seen as Canada’s main competitors for skilled expats.

The current Immigrant Investor Program has more than 65,000 expats waiting for the green light on residency and visas that would take more than six years to process, says the government.

Expats pay less tax

In Canada, expat investors pay around CDN$200,000 less in income taxes than a federal skilled worker and almost $100,000 less in taxes than a live-in carer, which the government feels makes the current system attract expats who have economically less to offer the country.

The proposed programs will make Canada choosier over which expats to let in to settle in the country.

However, the government still wants to make moving to Canada attractive for expats who are also looking at similar residency schemes offered by other nations.

The full details of the new deals for expats are still being ironed out, with more information expected over the coming months.

“Canada wants to welcome experienced business people who can raise investment capital that will contribute to our economic success over the long term,” said Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister