Earlier this month, Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2014 announced that the country would be ending its Immigrant Investor Program (IIP). The Canadian government made the decision to end the program in order to eliminate a large and longstanding backlog of applications and pave the way for new programs to support Canada’s economic needs. At the time of the announcement, the program had about 65,000 investors, 70% of which were from China.
Many former Canadian investors, especially those who had been in the Canadian queue for years before the end to the IIP, are finding a renewed attraction to the EB-5 immigrant investor program here in the United States. EB-5, like the Canadian IIP, offers the possibility of permanent residence in exchange for a qualifying investment. Although Canada’s investment requirement was, for the most part, lower than that of the U.S. (approximately $800,000 as opposed to up to $1,000,000 in the U.S.), the U.S. requirement, which can be as low as $500,000 in some cases, is still lower than immigrant investor requirements in many other countries. The United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, for example, require investments of approximately $5 to $10 million. Additionally, EB-5 has a much greater, positive effect on the U.S. economy than the IIP had on Canada’s economy (one of the reasons for the IIP’s discontinuance). By way of example, each qualifying EB-5 investment creates at least 10 full time jobs in the U.S.
As an added bonus, as of March, 2014, the EB-5 visa category is current—meaning investors that had waited up to 12 years to immigrate to Canada would experience no backlogs in the U.S. This could change, however, especially with respect to Chinese investors, as the number of former IIP investors applying for EB-5 status increases.