Exclusive: How Mainland Chinese Millionaires Overwhelmed Canada’s Visa Scheme
Like many countries, Canada has a “fast-track” method to gain residency, open only to those with enough resources to invest in the Canadian economy.
Mainland Chinese are far and away the majority of applicants. So many wealthy Chinese applied in recent years that the Canadian government had to suspend the program until it could catch up with the backlog.
The Canadian consulate in Hong Kong had a backlog of more than 53,000 applications last year, according to the South China Morning Post.
Analysis of arrival data suggests that about 99 per cent of applications in Hong Kong were lodged by mainlanders. Under the scheme’s current limits, applicants worth at least C$1.6 million (HK$11.2 million) receive residency if they “invest” C$800,000 in the form of a five-year interest-free loan to Canada.
The applications in the Hong Kong consulate’s queue in January last year represented potential “investment” of C$7.5 billion.
The queue was revealed when Ottawa halted new applications to deal with the backlog in 2012.
What was not revealed was that the vast majority were applications by mainland Chinese which swamped a single consular office in Hong Kong.
Applications from Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong made up the remaining 1% of applications from China.
It says a lot about a country when its richest citizens want to bail out.