Tens of thousands of mainland millionaires have flooded Canada’s consulate in Hong Kong and overwhelmed its investor immigrant program, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday, citing its own investigation. The huge number of applications forced the government in Ottawa to freeze the world’s most popular wealth-based migration scheme. One document, dated Jan. 8 last year, showed a backlog of 53,580 Hong Kong-based applications for Canadian federal investor visas. That is more than 70 per cent of the global backlog, the report said. Attempts by Ottawa in 2010 to tighten access to the visas by doubling the wealth criteria had the effect of increasing Chinese domination. In 2011, applications sent to Canada’s Hong Kong consulate made up 86 per cent of the global total, the report said. Analysis of arrival data suggests that about 99 per cent of applications in Hong Kong were lodged by mainlanders. Under the scheme’s current limits, applicants worth at least C$1.6 million (US$1.45 million) receive residency if they invest C$800,000 in the form of a five-year interest-free loan to Canada, the report said.
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