Deadline diverts Chinese investors from Canada to U.S.

Thousands of wealthy foreign nationals, most from China, are now queuing up at American embassies in an effort to add their names to the U.S. Investor Immigration program, or EB5 visa.

The government must re-authorize it in September, making for an uncertain future given the November election two months later. That, at least, appears to be the thinking of Chinese investors eager to submit their applications to program officials before the deadline, securing a spot in line, even if the program is ultimately changed or cancelled.

Under the program, applicants and any immediate family garner permanent U.S. residency for an investment of $1 million. It must lead to 10 full-time jobs within two years.

Those prospective investors are just as keen to purchase second homes and investment properties in the U.S., a place many ultimately hope to migrate.

Winning that kind of re-location is increasing challenged in Canada, something zapping its appeal for many Chinese.

The Canadian investor program -- where applicants post an $800,000 interest-free loan for government – has been temporarily closed until late this summer because of a three-year backlog.

That’s expected to slow the number of Chinese nationals looking to buy homes in Vancouver and Toronto in hopes of immigrating there.

The U.S., on the other hand, has kept hope alive for thousands of would-be immigrants with pockets deep enough to fund that dream, say U.S. analysts.

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