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Investor immigrants using Quebec as back door to Vancouver

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – As thousands of temporary foreign workers are faced with having to leave Canada because of changes to the federal jobs program today, many wealthy would-be Canadians are taking advantage of a loophole in Quebec that is allowing them easy access to Vancouver.

Ottawa announced in 2013 it was ending Canada’s Investor Immigrant Program, but many are still arriving in Vancouver after deceptively applying to a similar program in Quebec.

“Quebec has long run its own immigration program under the Canada-Quebec Accord, even though these people are, at the end of the day, receiving their visas from Ottawa,” says Ian Young, the Vancouver correspondent for the South China Morning Post.

“Quebec accepts a very, very large number of investor migrants. Unfortunately, these people don’t end up living in Quebec, they end up mostly in British Columbia,” he adds.

Young, who has pulled all his information from federal and provincial immigration data, says thousands of wealthy immigrants, mostly from China, hand over $800,000 in the form of a no-interest loan to the Quebec government.

“Quebec gets the benefits from that loan, which lasts for five years. It’s a very lucrative program as far as Quebec is concerned but the downside is that the people don’t actually end up living there. There’s plenty of data that shows 90 per cent of those arrivals actually end up living elsewhere.  I think it’s fair to estimate that a large majority end up living in Vancouver.”

Young explains Quebec’s back door to BC is allowing three to four-thousand wealthy immigrants to continue to flow into Vancouver, and there is very little the federal government can do about it.

“I don’t think there are any statistics to support the notion that these people actually are a drain on public resources because they are all very rich, but it is difficult for BC to try and estimate numbers for services like schools, healthcare and things like that if you can’t keep track of who is going to be arriving in your city.”

He believes the continued influx is also having a significant effect on Vancouver’s housing market and its sky-high prices.

“You can’t keep funneling thousands and thousands of millionaires into a very small area and expect that there is not going to be some kind of impact on real estate prices. That’s probably the main impact,” he says.

Young feels it’s “grossly unfair” that Quebec reaps the monetary benefits of its program while BC deals with the after-effects.

“It’s effectively a scam. Quebec knows they have no intention of settling in the province when they fill out their immigration forms.”