Securing Investor Visas for Canada

Canadian Immigrant Investor Visas

Canada wants sophisticated investors and offers several routes to permanent residency for entrepreneurial investors. Which route is right for you may depend on your business experience, capital available and where in Canada you wish to live. 
Our expert emigration lawyers and advisors have years of experience advising on the process of using a qualifying investment to help secure a Canadian permanent residency visa.

Residency by Investment Solutions

We work with leading Canadian Venture Capital firms to provide access to government-approved, secure investment funds. We work with our clients to invest in Canada in a compliant manner to secure permanent residency quickly. 

Over the past 20 years, we have developed an excellent track record for completing the necessary investment deals from a range of options we now have available to our clients to secure permanent residency based on these investments. 

Lower thresholds than you might think!

Some Canadian business visa programs require showing a net worth of as little as CAN $250,000, and investments of as little as CAN $100,000. That’s small change compared to similar routes to the UK, Australia and New Zealand, which require between $1-$10 million.

If you think you could make an investment in Canada you will need to prove:

- A legally gained net worth at least CAN $250k, but this amount may vary at date of application;
- An ability to invest at least $100,000, again varying by province;
- Good health and good character.
If you can, your investment portfolio could benefit from low tax and business rates, and you could obtain a permanent residency visa not otherwise available.

There are currently two Immigrant Investor Programs available in the market, namely:

  • The Federal Immigrant Investor Program, and
  • The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program

The Federal Immigrant Investor Program is currently closed following an annual application cap that was introduced through ministerial instructions and which was filled shortly after July 1, 2011. The annual application cap will reset on July 1, 2012, unless otherwise indicated in a future ministerial instruction. The cap does not apply to the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program. That means the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program currently remains open to receive new applications.

The selection procedure is similar in both the Federal and Quebec programs, with the following distinction: in Quebec, the investor first has to obtain a Certificate of Selection of Quebec before applying for health and security screening at the federal level to be admitted to Canada. Once legally admitted to Canada, applicants who receive a Certificate of Selection of Quebec do not have to establish residency in Quebec because they have a total liberty of movement and establishment in any of 10 Canadian provinces and three territories.

Haskew Law offers a comprehensive service designed to assist you and your family in immigrating to Canada under the Immigrant Investor Program. Our team brings together experts in the field of immigration law, tax, financial and banking services to make your transition to Canada as smooth as possible.

Finding the right program for you

Our first step is to be sure we're looking for a residency program in the right place, for the right price, and with the right parameters for you. Here's a snapshot comparison of popular residency programs that you might consider alongside the Canadian options:

United States Project Investment
USD 500,000
Citizenship in 8 years
3-4 Yrs Residency
No Interview
12-18 months to visa
n/a
n/a
n/a
Under Review
Canada-Quebec Govt Bond
CDN 800,000
Citizenship in 6 years
3-5 Yrs Residency
Interview Req
36 months to visa
CDN 1.6m net worth
Financing Option
Funds Guaranteed
Minimums to Rise
St. Kitts & Nevis Donation
USD 300,000
Citizenship 4-6 months
No Residency Req
No Interview
Immediate visa
n/a
n/a
n/a
Stable Outlook
Antigua & Barbuda Donation
USD 200,000
Citizenship 3-4 months
No Residency Req
No Interview
Immediate visa
n/a
n/a
n/a
Stable Outlook

Canadian Trusts And Company Formation

Here we take a quick look at trusts and company formations in Canada, and why people elect to establish themselves and their wealth within the protection of Canadian jurisdiction.

Everyone wants to retire with money, for those lucky enough to have a lot more than others, how best to pass it on to the next generation (without a big tax hit) becomes a big issue. There are many strategies one can use to mitigate taxes and make sure children are looked after, but one option that's becoming more and more popular is a trust.

Advantages of trusts

A trust is a legal arrangement where money is kept in an account and administered by a trustee. The person opening the trust, also known as the settler, can dictate exactly how that money is administered. Gone are the days where trust funds were just for snooty socialites; now, anyone with a bit of cash to pass down can have one.

<h3">1. See where your money goes

Most people pass down money through a will. But what fun is that? You can't see how your money's used or the benefit it has on family members. Trusts can be set up for after death too, but for this story, we're talking about inter-vivos trusts or trusts that are created while the settlor is still alive. And in many cases, you get the added benefit of tax advantages -- especially if you are in the process of emigrating from a tax-heavy jurisdiction.

2. Do whatever you want with the assets

One of the benefits of a trust is that the settlor can instruct how his or her money should be distributed. A gift, which is another way people pass down money, doesn't come with any strings attached, so the people receiving the money can do whatever they want with it. That works for some people, but not for others.

For instance, you might want to help fund a grandchild's education. You can set up the trust so that a certain amount of money is released before every school year, rather than at one time. Or, if you have a spendthrift kid, you can give them money from the trust at certain times of the year.

3. Avoid probate

Assets in a trust are not subject to after-death probate taxes. While the trust will have to pay capital gains tax on investments or property that gains in value (either every 21 years or when an asset is sold), no other taxes have to be paid when the settlor dies. This could save an estate a ton of money.

4. Pass down more than just money

While most trusts contain investments or cash, you can put pretty much anything in a trust. One common asset that gets the trust treatment is property, like a cottage. It's often an easier way to get kids to share a vacation home than by letting them figure out the details themselves. That's because you can dictate a set of instructions covering things such as who gets to use it when and how taxes and maintenance are covered. The trust will pay the expenses, either out of the trust itself or by having the trustee collect cash from the kids.

5. Keep your wealth a secret

When you die your will becomes public. Anyone can find out what assets you had and who got what. That, not surprisingly, irks a lot of people, especially Canadians who have a lot of money. A trust keeps all those details private. You can do whatever you want with your money and no prying eyes will ever find out.

You can also appoint any trustee you want, such as a family friend, a trusted co-worker or even a trust company. Whoever it is, make sure you can, well, trust them with overseeing your assets.

Two main types of trust:

1. Testamentary trust

A testamentary trust is created in your will and takes effect upon your death. The assets relating to a testamentary trust form part of your estate, so they are subject to any estate fees or taxes that apply. The trust can be changed at any time before your death by simply having a new will prepared.

2. Living trust

When you establish a living trust (also known as an inter vivos trust), property ownership is passed immediately to your beneficiaries. You can add more property to the trust over time. Because the transfer of ownership is during your lifetime, the trust assets do not form part of your estate and are not subject to probate.

The decision on whether to set up a living trust or a testamentary trust depends on many factors, including your need for the assets during your lifetime. A lawyer or other professional adviser can advise you on the best strategy for your specific estate planning needs and goals.

Top 7 common uses for trusts

Whether it’s best to establish a trust during your lifetime or upon your death will depend on the intended use and your personal situation.

1. You have children from a previous marriage

If you remarry, a trust can provide support for your spouse during their lifetime, while ensuring that your children from a previous marriage eventually inherit any remaining assets.

2. Your spouse lacks financial expertise

If your spouse needs help with money management after you die, a testamentary trust allows a qualified trustee to manage the trust assets on behalf of your spouse.

3. Your spouse or child is disabled

A trust can be used to ensure a disabled spouse or child receives an appropriate level of care and has sufficient assets to maintain this care after you die.

4. You want to provide a gift to minors

You can use a trust to provide income to minor beneficiaries (for example, children or grandchildren) in their younger years and to pay out the capital when they reach a specified age.

5. Tax planning

Income earned in an inter vivos or living trust is taxed at the highest marginal tax rate, but any trust income that is distributed to adult beneficiaries is taxed in their hands. So if your beneficiaries are in a lower tax bracket, the investment income can be taxed at their lower rate.

Beginning in the 2016 tax year, testamentary trusts will no longer enjoy graduated tax rates. Instead, income earned in a testamentary trust will be taxed at a flat rate of 29%, the top federal personal tax rate, plus the top provincial or territorial tax rate. As a result, there will no longer be an opportunity to pay less tax by retaining income in a testamentary trust before paying it out to beneficiaries in the top tax bracket.

However, an estate that arises upon death and is a testamentary trust will be able to use the graduated rates for 36 months from the date of death. Graduated rates will also continue to apply to a trust if the beneficiaries are eligible for the federal Disability Tax Credit.

6. You want to provide a future gift to charity

You can use a trust to provide trust income to your beneficiaries for their lifetime. Upon their death, the remaining money in the trust is donated to the charity you’ve specified.

7. You want to bypass probate

With a living trust (but not a testamentary trust), you bypass probate for any assets held in the trust and gain the certainty of knowing that assets are transferred and distributed as you intended. This also offers greater privacy for trust assets, as probate is a public process and anyone can access these records.

Setup A Federal Corporation (Canadian Company)

Haskew Law can help with the strategy, advice and logistics or setting up in Canada, but for those with some business nous here are some of the basics by way of a quick outline of what to expect: 

Share Capital

The standard authorised share capital is CDN $10,000. Minimum paid up share capital is CDN $1.

Classes of Share Available

Registered shares, preference shares, redeemable shares and shares with or without voting rights.

Bearer Shares

Not permitted.

Restrictions on Trading

Banking, insurance, assurance, reinsurance, fund management, collective investment schemes, trust management, trusteeship business provision are not permitted.

Registered Office Required

Yes, must be maintained in Canada.

Directors

The minimum number of directors is one. Director can be of any nationality and need not be resident but at least 25% of directors must be a resident of Canada.

Shareholders

The minimum number of shareholders is one.

Publicly Accessible Records

Yes.

Nominee Shareholders and Nominee Directors

Allowed.

Location of Meetings of Directors and Shareholders

Anywhere.

Personal Presence Required

No.

Taxation

Federal Corporate Income Tax 11-16,5%. Provincial or territorial corporate tax rate varies from province to province.

Double Taxation Treaty Access

Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, China (PRC)1, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Republic of, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Requirements to File Accounts

Yes.

Requirement to File Annual Return

None.

Audit Requirements

None.

Language of Name

English.

Restricted Words

Words such as “Assurance”, “Bank”, “Building Society”, “Royal”, “Trust Company”, “Trustee Company” etc. will require justification.

Name of a Company

The words Limited, Limitée, Incorporated, Incorporée, Corporation, Société par actions de régime fédéral or Ltd., Ltée, Inc., Corp., S.A.R.F. must be part of the name of every company.

Time to Incorporate

Five days.

For advice and support in all areas of establishing a company or trust in Canada speak to our experts today.

More about Canada

Canada occupies a major northern portion of North America, sharing land borders with the contiguous United States to the south and with the US state of Alaska to the north-west, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west; to the north lies the Arctic Ocean. By total area (including its waters), Canada is the second largest country in the world - after Russia - and largest on the continent. The population density, 3.5 inhabitants per square kilometre (9.1/sq mi), is among the lowest in the world. Canada has more lakes by far than any other country and has a large amount of the world's freshwater. Canada is one of the world's wealthiest nations, with a high per-capita income, and is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Group of Eight (G8). It is one of the world's top 10 trading nations.

Canada is a mixed market, ranking lower than the US but higher than most western European nations on the Heritage Foundation's index of economic freedom. Since the early 1990s, the Canadian economy has been growing rapidly with low unemployment and large government surpluses on the federal level. Today Canada closely resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, a pattern of production, and high living standards. In the past century, the growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. As with other first world nations, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three-quarters of Canadians.

However, Canada is unusual among developed countries in the importance of the primary sector, with the logging and oil industries being two of Canada's most important.

Canada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy. Atlantic Canada has vast offshore deposits of natural gas and large oil and gas resources are centred in Alberta. The vast Athabasca Tar Sands give Canada the world's second-largest oil reserves behind Saudi Arabia. In Quebec, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba, hydroelectric power is a cheap and clean source of renewable energy.

Canada is one of the world's most important suppliers of agricultural products, with the Canadian Prairies one of the most important suppliers of wheat, canola and other grains. Canada is the world's largest producer of zinc and uranium and a world leader in many other natural resources such as gold, nickel, aluminium, and lead; many towns in the northern part of the country, where agriculture is difficult, exist because of a nearby mine or source of timber. Canada also has a sizeable manufacturing sector centred in southern Ontario and Quebec, with automobiles and aeronautics representing particularly important industries.

Since 2001, Canada has successfully avoided economic recession and has maintained the best overall economic performance in the G8. Since the mid-1990s, Canada's federal government has posted annual budgetary surpluses and has steadily paid down the national debt.

In the past 10 years, Canada has become one of the most dynamic economies in the world. Its relaxed lifestyle, stable political, justice, economic and social environment, excellent educational and health system, relatively moderate personal tax system, advantageous corporate tax rates, multilingual population and the well-known tolerance of other cultures, make Canada one of the most sought world jurisdiction to work, invest, live in and  raise family.

Canada is first among the G8 countries in the Optimal Human Development (UN  2006 Human Development Index), the Best Overall Quality of Life (Mercer Human Resources Consulting),  the Land of Equal Opportunity, the Safest Place to Live, and Lowest Place of Costs of Living. Canada was ranked first among G8 nations to do business in the next five years according to the Economic Intelligence Unit's global business rankings forecast 2008-2012. AAA credit rating: Canada is top of the G7 nations in terms of their intrinsic Net Worthiness (Moody). Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio was 38.8% in 2004-2005 and its objective is to reduce it to 25% by 2014-2015.

The NAFTA Advantage gives access to the 443 millions of consumers and a combined GDP of $ 15.4 trillion. US trade with Canada is bigger than all trade with all EU countries combined. Unless you have a direct family relation in Canada to qualify for family sponsorship or unification or you intend to apply for a refugee status, you can establish Canadian residence (and members of your immediate family) by applying for Canadian Permanent Residence in one of the following categories:

1) Investors

2) Entrepreneurs

3) Self Employed Persons

4) Skilled Workers and Professionals

Invest in Canada
Acquiring Canadian Residency by Investment

Name: Investor Visas for Canada

Description: While the federal Government closed the investment route into Canada in 2014 Quebec still offers a limited opportunity each year. They offer permanent residency in Canada in return for a small investment. There are limited places and a high demand for these visas and each year the quota is met rather too quickly.

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