Now that the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act has revised the U.S. investor immigration program and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is slowly refining its new requirements, it is interesting to consider where the EB-5 program stands regarding competing with other golden visa programs. It appears to be gaining stature in the world of investor immigration options.
For the unanointed, it may help if we start off with some basics. A so-called golden visa is a way a government attracts foreign investors to immigrate by offering them residence or citizenship in exchange for investing in the country. The investment can be either in a government fund used to promote some public purpose, such as building a hospital or in real estate or financial offerings. The benefit to the investor can include the ability to live and work in the country, access tax advantages, using the new passport to travel more freely, comprising for example accessing visa-free zones such as the Schengen area in Europe, and accessing the country's healthcare and education systems. The benefit to the country is that issuing golden visas is a way to stimulate economic improvement and prosperity.
Canada Started It All
The first modern-day residency by-investment program was the Canadian federal Immigrant Investor Program established in 1986. It quickly became one of the most popular immigration programs in the world. The passive investment program offered Canadian permanent residence in exchange for an investment of $ 400,000 for a period of five years. It closed down in 2014 when the federal government concluded investors were not maintaining strong enough ties to Canada and were paying too little in taxes. A similar provincial Quebec investor program opened up in Canada alongside the federal one but it also closed down for renovations a few years later. One popular feature of both programs was that Canadian financial institutions were willing to finance these investments for a smaller one-time payment by the investors. While there are no immediate plans for the federal Canadian program to reopen, the Quebec program is expected to open again in April 2023 primarily aimed at French speakers who wish to live in that province.
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