Operational Bulletin 252 - December 2, 2010

Regulatory and Administrative Changes to the Federal Immigrant Investor Program

Issue

This Operational Bulletin is to inform officers of regulatory and administrative changes to the federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) which took effect on December 1, 2010.

Background

The IIP seeks to attract experienced business people to invest in Canada’s economy.

The volume of applications made under the federal IIP has grown exponentially in recent years, resulting in a growing inventory and increased processing times, both of which threaten program sustainability.

In order to temporarily stem the flow of federal IIP applications, an administrative pause on new applications under the federal IIP was implemented on June 26, 2010, through Ministerial Instructions.

At the same time, proposed regulatory amendments to the definition of “investor” and “investment” in section 88 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) were pre-published in the Canada Gazette. These proposed regulatory amendments, which increase the threshold requirements for both personal net worth and investment, have been approved and came into force on December 1, 2010.

The Canada-Québec Accord requires the governments of Canada and Québec to consult each other on changes to their personal net worth and investment amounts under the federal IIP and the Québec investor program. Under the Accord, both parties have agreed to harmonize their standards and practices in the implementation of their respective IIP and, effective December 1, 2010, the personal net worth and investment amounts for Québec-selected investors are the same as those under the regulatory amendments to section 88 of the IRPR. Québec continues to be responsible for the selection of investors destined to Québec.

These regulatory amendments, coupled with the administrative measures outlined below, are intended to refocus the program on applicants who can make a greater economic contribution to Canada and facilitate efforts to draw down the existing federal IIP inventory.

Processing Instructions

Effective immediately, the administrative pause on new applications under the federal IIP is lifted and visa offices are once again required to accept new federal IIP applications.

Applications under the federal IIP received before June 26, 2010, are to be processed according to the legislation in effect at the time of receipt of the application. Specifically, that legislation sets lower threshold requirements for “investment” and “legally obtained net worth” – $400,000 and $800,000 respectively – than those currently set out in the recent amendments to section 88 of the IRPR.

Applications received under the federal IIP on or after December 1, 2010, are to be processed in accordance with the new regulatory amendments to the IIP which came into force on that date. Specifically, in accordance with amendments to the definition of “investor” and “investment” in section 88 of the IRPR which increase the required investment amount from $400,000 to $800,000, and the amount required for legally obtained net worth from $800,000 to $1,600,000 for federal investor class applicants.

Effective December 1, 2010, the simplified application process option is no longer available to applicants under the federal IIP; without exception, applicants must submit a full application under the IIP in order to be eligible for processing. The business immigration application guides and forms have been updated to reflect this administrative change. However, if a simplified application form is received from an investor applicant, the visa office should return it to the applicant along with the fee payment. Prospective applicants can then re-apply with a full application, using the correct application guide and forms.

In addition, effective December 1, 2010, visa offices are to put new applications under the federal IIP – those received on or after December 1, 2010, – into process immediately. New and old (i.e. applications under the federal IIP received before June 26, 2010) applications will be processed concurrently. As a general rule, visa offices should process applications under the federal IIP in a 2:1 case processing ratio of old inventory applications to new applications received on or after December 1, 2010. The concurrent case processing ratio of 2:1 is provided as a guideline only; this ratio may change over time in accordance with operational requirements and may not apply equally to all visa offices depending on the volume of investor class applications processed by a given visa office.

Effective December 1, 2010, the required investment amount and the amount required for legally obtained net worth is $800,000 and $1,600,000 respectively for investors selected by Québec under its business immigration program.

Date Modified: