During the 1997 Asian financial crisis, when many industries suffered business stagnation and breakdown in Mainland China, the real estate investment industry became one of the few areas that survived the economy avalanche.
Visionary real estate developers successfully navigated through the deflationary spiral and achieved substantial growth. Tom Zeng was one of them.
Running a successful real estate development company in Guangzhou, he managed to double the profits of his company during the crisis, while the majority of businesses in other industries struggled to avoid bankruptcy. The economic situation at that time and the success of his career triggered his desire to pursue a better life for him and his family through immigration.
While considering his immigration options around the world, Zeng talked with one of his relatives who put Canada on his radar. His relative lived in Toronto and explained Canada’s welfare policies. They seemed ideal: free healthcare, government-paid primary and middle school education, well-maintained public facilities, streetlights, equipment in public parks.
Impressed by Canada’s quality of social services and welfare systems, Zeng decided to plant the seed toward having a new life there by investing in that country’s program.
“I felt that living in a country like this could be very beneficial for me and my family,” Zeng said.
STARTING THE IMMIGRATION INVESTMENT PROCESS
As a traditional immigration country, Canada provides a large variety of immigration programs. After carefully evaluating their reliability, application requirements, potential risks and probability of getting returns of different programs, Zeng ultimately chose Quebec’s Immigration Investor Program. He liked how it didn’t have an educational background requirement or language proficiency.
“This program has high stability and a long history of success among all investment immigration programs in Canada,” Zeng said.
After consulting with Chengchen Immigration, a Guangzhou-based immigration agency, he spent three months preparing application documents and waited for about a year and a half for an interview notice. After passing the interview, he put $120,000 Canadian dollars in a government-accepted immigration trust and filed the application to the federal administration. One year later, he got an approval notice and a visa, which opened the door for him and his family to their new life in Canada.
“It took me about three years in total from preparing for the application to obtaining Canadian permanent residency,” Zeng said. “For Chinese investors, this program has a high probability of success. I also have the freedom to start my own business here.”
NEW HOME, NEW LIFE
Now, Zeng and his family have purchased properties and settled in Vancouver, a coastal city in western Canada with mild a climate and a pleasant environment. He is satisfied with many aspects of their new life there.
Zeng likes how food and clothing are more affordable than in China. Organic products are reasonably priced too, and items deemed luxuries in China – such as ginseng, arctic sea cucumbers, seal oil and king crab – are affordable for common consumers.
“Wearing designer brands is not an embodiment of one’s social status here,” Zeng added. “You can feel confident in gym outfits most of the time.”
His children have also enjoyed their educational experience, which is fundamentally different than its Chinese counterpart.
“Instead of endless assignments and tests, there are various opportunities for children to take part in after-class activities and summer camps,” he said. “Parents do not need to worry too much about their kids’ safety on their way to and from school.”
Zeng liked how school buses regularly pick up and drop off students every day; crossing guards work at intersections close to school zones to make sure all children come across the street safely.
“You could almost call Canada a paradise for children to grow up,” he said.
Although factors like visa ratios, investment risks, changing immigration rules and providing proof for legal fund sources may serve as potential challenges for investors embarking in investment immigration programs, Zeng finds the result worthwhile.
“I am always fascinated by the beautiful blue sky here, which could be seen almost every day,” said Zeng about the most impressive thing he experienced after moving to Canada. “I have already suggested to some of my friends with the financial capability to consider investing in the program.”