The new 10-year visas introduced by Canada have become the major cause of the latest booms in housing in Toronto and Vancouver, immigration specialists feel.
George Lee, an immigration lawyer of Burnaby, was quoted by Vancouver Sun as saying that he often travels to China, whose citizens are increasingly investing their money in Canada by making use of 10-year visas to buy real estate.
Immigration officials of Canada in 2015 issued to nationals of China 390,000 10-years, multiple-entry visas, while about they granted to Indians 162,000 of them.
In February 2014, the former Conservative government started offering the 10-year visas. In the very first year itself, 337,000 travel visas were offered to Chinese.
According to Lee, the visas, which allow its holders to travel unrestrictedly to Canada each year and stay for a minimum of six months at a time, have increased foreign travel and property investment in Canada, especially from China.
A migration ‘chain reaction’ was caused by the introduction of the multiple-entry visas, said Lee, which is often paving the way for international students to become substitutes for offshore real-estate investors.
He said that this affected the real-estate market. The main reason for a lot of interest in 10-year visas is to buy land in Vancouver.
Besides providing foreign nationals with a route to enter Canadian property market, multiple-entry visas allow would-be immigrants to visit their children in Canada, many of whom are overseas students who work and subsequently apply for a permanent residency, said Lee.
Sam Hyman, a Vancouver immigration lawyer, says that the 10-year visas have certain advantages, including increasing tourism.
Lee feels that these visas were the reason behind Canada becoming the third most popular destination for tourists from Mainland China in 2017 from its earlier 17th rank.
Hyman and Lee also believe that these visas have aided in making Canada the world’s second most preferred country for Chinese multi-millionaires, according to the Hurun Report.
While Vancouver is the fifth most favoured city globally for wealthy Chinese investors, Toronto is the eighth most preferred.
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