Canada has long offered a program similar to Australia’s ‘investor visa’ scheme, in which overseas applicants (mainly from China and Hong Kong) can apply for residency after investing a few million bucks in the nation’s economy. On Tuesday, however, the country’s finance minister announced that 46,000 Chinese applicants will get their visas denied and their application fees refunded.
Canada has had its controversial visa program since the eighties, and granted residency to anyone worth at least 8.83 million yuan, and who was willing to loan the Canadian government 800,000 Canadian dollars (4.4 million yuan) interest-free for five years. The program was not written to be China-specific but, in reality, it often played out that way; as of last January, more than 70% of all applicants were from the mainland.
The Canadians have said that the program “significantly undervalued Canadian permanent residence,” and they’re probably right. There is likely a bit more to it than that, though. Only five days ago, the South China Morning Post ran a story pointing out the ease and relative low cost of the Canadian visa scheme, and stated that the program was “dominated by mainland Chinese.”
Now, just a week later, the Canadian government has scrapped the whole thing. The SCMP is slapping themselves on the back and, while these debate were surely budding in Canada, it does look like the paper may have significantly contributed to the process:
The decision came less than a week after the South China Morning Post published a series of investigative reports into the controversial 28-year-old scheme.
The Post revealed how the scheme spun out of control when Canada’s Hong Kong consulate was overwhelmed by a massive influx of applications from mainland millionaires. […]
The surprise announcement was made in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget, which was delivered to parliament in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon local time.
For the tens of thousands of Chinese millionaires now left in the lurch, other easy-visa nations like Australia (must donate 27.3 million yuan) or Britain’s (10 million yuan donation) are certainly pricier, but may be their only choice. Or just, you know, staying in China.
[Image via Wikipedia]