Canadian citizenship awaits Punjabis with money to spare!

June 11th, 2008 - 10:30 am ICT by IANS  

By Alkesh Sharma
Chandigarh, June 11 (IANS) A leading Canadian investment facilitator has been focussing on the rich in Punjab, offering them permanent residency (PR) and even citizenship - if they are willing to loosen their purse strings. Montreal-based Renaissance Capital Inc. (RCI) was on its second tour of Punjab in two years with its jump-the-queue immigration scheme for those ready to invest a whopping Canadian $400,000 (over Rs.15 million).

Immigration under normal circumstances takes over three years for clearance, but those who go under the investor category can get a fast track permanent residency or even Canadian citizenship in much lesser time.

“RCI is authorised by the government of Quebec in Canada as principal catalyst in gaining permanent residency or Canadian citizenship through investment in that country. We have been active in this business for the last 13 years,” asserts Darragh McManamon, vice president and general counsel of RCI.

“One has to invest Canadian $400,000. This money is further invested in government bonds, securities or in some social programmes and businesses. The best part is that the principal amount will be returned to the investor after five years,” McManamon told IANS.

For those not wanting to invest the entire amount, RCI even offers a loan and in this case, the immigrant has to pay just Canadian $120,000 (over Rs.4.5 million). But this amount is non-refundable.

Obtaining all clearances from the federal and provincial governments concerned is done by the agency.

“This is a good way to immigrate to Canada for people who have the money. I have come to explore this. Landed people in Punjab can avail of it and start farming there,” said Rajbir Singh, an agriculturist.

Over 3,000 families have already immigrated to Canada from all over the world, particularly from India and China, under the investors’ category. Immigrants in this category enjoy all rights available to Canadian citizens.

“Over 1,000 - or one third of the investor families - have immigrated through us. We see a lot of potential in Punjab,” RCI immigration marketing manager A.J. Cheema said.

Around 250,000 migrated to Canada from all over the world in 2007. Canada already has over one million Punjabis. Punjabi is recognised as the fourth most spoken language in that country.

“To become eligible under this programme one should have a net worth of Canadian $800,000. There is no language test and no specific qualifications are required. We don’t need scholars or academicians but are focusing chiefly on businessmen, senior managers, agriculturists, self-employed people like doctors and lawyers and even senior government officials,” Cheema pointed out.

Immigration agents say the investors’ programme is better accepted in China and they are now focusing more on India, particularly Punjab.

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