According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), investor immigrant approvals in 2014 rose by 7.2 per cent to reach a total of 8,762 approvals, the most since 2011. This is despite federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) migrant arrivals falling by 42 per cent when the program was terminated.
Last year’s cancellation of the Canadian Immigrant Investor Program (CIIP), highly popular among Chinese investors, was expected to lead to a fall in not just migrant arrivals but housing prices in Vancouver as well. Vancouver is noted as the primary destination of the bulk of Canada’s immigrant investors. However figures show that housing prices in Vancouver moved up by an average of 5.8 per cent in 2014, with detached housing recording an increase of 8.1 per cent.
Experts believe these unexpected increases are a result of the increase in wealthy immigrant investors arriving in Canada via the IIP in Quebec which operates independently.
Figures for 2014 show that the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) experienced an increase by 62 per cent compared to the previous year, with Quebec approving as many as 6,221 applicants and their family dependents. The approvals fall just short of the record high of 6,292 approvals in 2011.
Quebec’s IIP has a major effect on Vancouver, as most investors arriving through the QIIP do not end up living in the province, but move instead to British Columbia. Experts believe that almost 90 per cent of QIIP applicants leave the province, of which around 60 per cent are likely to settle in BC.
Between 2002 and 2014, Quebec approved 65,151 investor migrants, compared to 45,294 approved by the federal IIP. Based on these figures, it is estimated that over 34,300 QIIP immigrants have moved to BC between 2002 and 2014.
And last year’s increase in QIIP approvals is believed to have led to a 4.2 per cent increase in investor immigrant arrivals in BC between 2013 and 2014, which goes some way to explaining why Vancouver housing prices continue to rise.
Additionally, Quebec’s IIP reportedly has a large backlog of over 12,000 applications, while the now defunct CIIP still had 181 pending applications as of January 5 this year.
In real terms what this means is that Vancouver can expect to see millionaire migrant arrivals to continue at about the same rate it has been for the past ten years. The termination of the federal IIP therefore will hardly impact the flow of wealthy immigrants into Vancouver in the near future.
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