It was last year that Ottawa turned off the tap of its millionaire migration scheme, the federal immigrant investor programme (IIP), which has been dominated by rich mainland Chinese. Announced last February, the closure came into effect last summer.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) spreadsheets demonstrate that, yes, immigrant investor visa approvals under the federal IIP plunged 42 per cent as the scheme wound down, falling to a mere 2,541 applicants and family members in 2014. Yet, astonishingly, overall investor immigrant approvals nationwide were up by 7.2 per cent, hitting 8,762 approvals, the most since 2011.
How? Because, even while Ottawa was hitting the brakes on millionaire migration, the province of Quebec (which runs its own IIP) was hitting the accelerator. And l’accélérateur was winning. In 2014, Quebec approved a bumper 6,221 millionaire migrants and family members, a whopping 62 per cent increase compared to 2013. It was a near-record year, surpassed only by the 6,292 approvals in 2011.
Quebec’s programme matters to Vancouver, because 89 per cent of Quebec investor immigrants do not end up living there, according to federal data. Most likely end up in Vancouver, assuming those 89 per cent disperse in a fashion similar to their counterparts in the federal scheme. At this point thanks should go to Richard Kurland, the Vancouver immigration lawyer who has been a relentless pursuer of data that CIC does not prefer to release as a matter of course. The CIC spreadsheets that he shared with me this week were only obtained under access to information requests. The spreadsheets demonstrate in clear fashion how Quebec has historically approved a majority of Canada’s millionaire migrants, and has likely approved a majority of those who end up in Vancouver.
Avant de penser de faire du Québec un pays, ça serait bien de faire du Québec autre chose qu’une porte d’entrée au Canada pour les immigrants investisseurs. Quand on sait que 89% des immigrants investisseurs qui arrivent au Québec décident d’aller vivre ailleurs au Canada, c’est parce qu’il y a quelque chose de pourri dans le modèle la province…