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Living in Canada: Immigrant Investor Visas

As of July 1, 2012, the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration has stopped accepting application for Permanent Residence in the Foreign Skilled Worker and Investment Class categories. This freeze is supposed to be temporary and last until January 2013. It is meant to address the backlog of applications currently awaiting processing.

Investing in Canada

Canada is known as one of the best countries in the world to live. With free health care, low unemployment, a newly thriving economy, and an unparalleled equal currency to the US dollar, Canada is a wise investment destination. It may come as no surprise that Canada welcomes foreign nationals who are in a position to make a sizeable monetary investment in the country. What you may not know, however, is just how fast and simple the process can be to become a permanent resident of Canada based on the investment immigration program.

There are three types of business applications for permanent residence in Canada: Investors, Entrepreneurs, and Self-Employed applicants. Each has differing requirements, but the subject of this article is primarily the investor program.

Presently, the law under IRPA (the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act) allows a foreign national who has owned and managed a "qualifying business" in two of the prior five years to qualify for the program. If they did not actually "own" the business, it may be enough for prospective investors to show that they managed at least 5 employees in a business in two of the last 5 years. It is important to know that the "qualifying business" can be made up of a number of separate businesses. Documentation about the business(es) will be required, including corporate tax returns and financial statements for the business.

Investors must have a minimum of $400,000 Canadian to invest in a locked-in government guaranteed fund. This money is kept by the government in a recognized banking institution for 5 years, after which time it is returned to the applicant, without interest. In addition, the candidate must show a net worth of $800,000 and the required business experience.

There is a point system, whereby each candidate must earn 35 points, which are awarded based on age, education, language ability and business experience. However, do not worry if you cannot speak English or French. Points can usually easily be acquired as the points threshold is almost half what it is for the foreign skilled worker program, where 67 points are required. You can get 20 points for only 2 years of business experience, with an additional 5 points for each additional year of business experience. And a business exploration trip to Canada, for example, can yield 5 points.

An experienced Canadian immigration attorney will help you determine whether you qualify for the investment program, and guide you as to which official institution you should direct your government investment. This is a safe, risk-free investment of your money, as Canadian official banks are licenced, chartered and honorable. The attorney will also prepare your complete application for submission to Canadian Immigration and Citizenship. Proper completion of the application and timely submission of the information required is essential.

Now for the best news: Upon qualifying and making the investment, a candidate can receive their permanent residency within just 3 months! Permanent residents generally have all the same legal rights and benefits as Canadian Citizens, other than the right to vote in elections. However, a person can lose their permanent residency for certain reasons, such as, not maintaining Canadian residence for 730 days out of 5 years. For those interested, eligibility for Canadian citizenship is only a few years away once you obtain permanent residence.

With the recent Canadian economical boom showing no signs of slowing down, now is the time to invest and make the move to this beautiful country. For more information on how to immigrate to Canada, please visit the NPZ Law Group website at www.visaserve.com or contact Veronique Malka, Canadian Attorney and Manager of the Canadian Division at NPZ Law Group at Veronique_malka@visaserve.com.

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