A Golden Visa program refers to a program that allows people to get citizenship in a foreign country by investment. These immigrant investor programs enable individuals to speed up the process of obtaining residence or even citizenship in another country if they invest a substantial amount of money in that country.
Can you get Canadian citizenship in return for making a large investment?
Yes, that is, under certain circumstances, a possibility. One can also gain citizenship in Canada via the Start-Up Visa Program, also known as SUV. The SUV is an immigration program run by the Canadian federal government that aims to attract entrepreneurial innovation to that country to establish and grow a successful business.
Applicants who are successful will first get a permanent resident visa and will later be able to apply for Canadian citizenship, provided they have met certain eligibility criteria, such as maintaining a physical presence in the country for a specific period of time and having a working knowledge of French or English.
How much do I have to invest in the country to gain citizenship?
The amount someone has to invest in the country to qualify for citizenship depends on various factors, including the exact immigration program he or she is interested in.
An example is the QIC or Quebec Investor Program (which was suspended in 2021 and is therefore currently not an option), which requires that you make an investment of no less than 1.2 million Canadian Dollars for a period of at least five years.
On the other hand, the Start-Up Visa program does not have a minimum investment amount because it focuses on the potential for a new business to create economic benefits for the country in the future instead of the size of such an investment.
As far as investor visa programs for Canada are concerned, what are the options?
Quebec Investor Program: As mentioned earlier, this program was suspended about two years ago and is, therefore, not accepting applications at the moment. It might, however, be re-activated in 2024. The QIC allows wealthy investors, otherwise known as high-net-worth individuals, to get permanent residency in Canada in return for investing a minimum amount of CAD 1.2 million for a period of no less than five years.
Start-Up Visa Program: This is a program that aims to attract innovation and entrepreneurship to Canada to establish and grow new businesses. There is no minimum investment amount involved.
The IIVC (Immigrant Investor Venture Capital) Pilot Program): This relatively new program offers an avenue to getting permanent residency in Canada for immigrant investors who meet the requirements. In this case, there is a minimum investment amount of 2 million Canadian Dollars for 15 years.
Can I get residency in Canada by investing in property?
Whether or not someone will be able to get permanent residency in Canada via purchasing property depends on the requirements of the specific permanent residence investment program and the purpose of the specific property. Purchasing a property will not directly lead to permanent residency in the country. Currently, no program will enable someone to get Canadian citizenship simply by buying, e.g. a residential property.
However, if such property is directly linked to an investment that resorts under any of the country’s business or investment immigration programs, it will normally contribute to meeting the requirements for permanent residency for that applicant. It is also possible to get Canadian citizenship for yourself and any family members who are with you by investment – but only after you have been a permanent resident in the country for at least five years.
Getting residency in Canada by investment
Canada has a long track record of providing residency via investment programs at both the provincial and federal levels. The Quebec Investor Program, which was suspended in 2021 but might be activated again next year, was a very popular program that enabled HNWI (High Net Worth Individuals) to become permanent residents of the Quebec province in Canada in return for investing a minimum amount of 1.2 million Canadian dollars for a minimum period of five years.
The Quebec Investor Program was originally supposed to be re-instated on 1 April 2023 but has since been suspended again until 1 January 2024. Watch the press for news on this.
Other provinces, including Ontario and British Columbia, also have PNPs or Provincial Nominee Programs that enable foreigners to get permanent residency in Canada by creating jobs or investing in businesses in those particular provinces. At the moment, the most appealing program on offer (because of its reasonable investment criteria) is probably the Canadian SUV.
Getting citizenship in Canada via investment
It is possible to get citizenship in Canada by investing, but applicants will first have to become permanent residents for a certain time before they can apply for citizenship. No investment program will allow you to acquire Canadian citizenship directly.
Start-up visa programs in Canada
The SUV or Start-Up Visa Program is aimed at entrepreneurs from foreign countries with the necessary potential and skills to establish innovative new businesses in the country that can compete on an international level and, in the process, create job opportunities for Canadian citizens.
To qualify, an applicant will typically have to invest a minimum of 350,000 Canadian Dollars into what is referred to as an ‘Authorized Designated Organization.’ Qualifying investors will also have to prove their net worth and that they have at least 1 million Canadian dollars in financial assets plus an annual income of no less than 200,000 CAD.
The SUV program provides a cost-effective and relatively fast route to immigration into Canada because it will provide the applicant with a Permanent Residency. Where it differs from other immigration paths is that it is not linked to the businesses being successful.
Investors are able to include their children under the age of 21 years and their spouses. The successful applicant and their families are allowed to live anywhere in the country except for Quebec. The SUV program typically takes 12 to 18 months before a decision is made.
After successfully going through the application process, an investor and his or her family will get PR (Permanent Residency) status from the very first day. To uphold their Permanent Resident status, they will have to live in Canada for at least two years during the first five years.
If an investor has been living in Canada under this program for at least 3 out of the first five years, it will then become possible for him or her to apply for Canadian citizenship. If this happens, the candidate will have to prove that he or she has no criminal record and adequate proficiency in French and/or English.
More avenues to get Canadian Citizenship
Like most other countries, Canada offers several roads to citizenship.
Birthright – Individuals who were born in Canada or where at least one of their parents is a Canadian citizen qualify for Canadian citizenship by birthright.
Naturalization – Legal permanent residents are able to apply for Canadian citizenship on the grounds of naturalization after being a resident for three years to five years.
Foreigners are also able to get permanent residency in Canada via the following:
- Work permit
- Family reunification
- Investment programs (see above)
- Skilled work programs for immigrants, e.g., Express Entry
- The RNIP or Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program via participating communities, for example, Ontario, North Bay, and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. This includes similar programs like the CWP or Critical Worker Pilot in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia.
What benefits does Canadian citizenship hold?
Many financial benefits are involved with relocating to Canada and getting citizenship there. But in the first place, Canadians are quite rightly proud of their country’s ethnic diversity and its reputation as a nation that welcomes individuals from all nationalities and racial backgrounds.
The core Canadian identity is based on respect and appreciation of all cultures and opposes all types of discrimination. This can clearly be seen from the fact that about 20% of the country’s population consists of immigrants from across the globe.
Canadian citizenship also offers:
- A strong national passport that improved its ranking to the number eight spot on the GPI (Global Passport Index), ensuring visa-on-arrival access or even visa-free travel to 172 nations. The list includes the US, all the Schengen countries, and Australia.
- Zero-cost access to a UHS or Universal Healthcare System that is regarded as one of the best on earth.
- Freedom of keeping your citizenship even if you acquire citizenship in another country, i.e. dual citizenship.
- A nation that is in the number 10 spot globally on the Social Progress Index, which evaluates human well-being.
- There are not so many barriers to overcome if you want to do business with American clients.
- No gift or inheritance tax.
- Capital tax is only charged on 50% of capital gains.
- Access to a pension system that is widely viewed as one of the best in the world.
- A top-notch education system.