On June 24, 2011, the federal government instituted rule changes related to new applications under the Federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) and the Federal Entrepreneur Program. The changes are as follows:
Federal Entrepreneur Program: A temporary moratorium on new applications
Federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP): A cap of 700 new IIP applications will be considered for processing each year.
Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW): A cap of 10,000 new FSW applications, without an offer of arranged employment, will be considered for processing each year. Within the 10,000cap, a maximum of 500 new applications per occupation will be considered each year.
BC, and Vancouver inparticular,has been one of the primary recipients of immigrants under the IIP, accounting for half of total Canadian investor class immigration. From 2005 to 2010, over 30,000 investor class immigrants have located in BC, an average of about 5,000 per year. This number relates to roughly 2,000 households per year.
The Government's stated reason for instituting the application cap is to reduce a backlog in applications and to shorten wait times. In 2010 there were 3,223 applications approved under the IIP and the government has indicated that it has received applications well in excess of that number in recent years, creating a large backlog of applications. It has not indicated that it wishes to lower the number of immigrants processed under the IIP, but simply to reduce the current backlog.
Therefore, as old applications are still being processed, the implementation of the new rules may not have an impact on the number of immigrants entering under the IIP and therefore may not have a material impact on BC housing markets.