By Korie Marshall

Amal Asfour, CEO of GITC, says she will be bringing immigrant investors to Valemount under her plan to help them run businesses and become Canadian citizens by as early as the end of 2014. Following the recent leak of GITC company documents, the Goat asked Asfour more about the investment amounts and timelines contained in some of the documents.

One of the leaked documents is an agreement contract involving a client in Kuwait, requesting that a Kuwaiti company submit on her behalf an application to obtain permanent residency in Canada “through a secured investment portfolio under the name of GITC Investments & Trading Canada, appointed by the province government [stet], invested in British Columbia Providence [stet] in Canada for a period of five years, by investing the sum of (100,000) Canadian Dollars (one hundred thousand Canadian Dollars) as per the immigration laws of the province and without returns on investment.” Another agreement with a client in Dubai has similar wording, and both are dated December 2013. The document also stipulates that “GITC cheque for the value of 100,000 Canadian Dollars (one hundred thousand Canadian Dollars) shall be paid after two weeks of signing the contract.”

The minimum investment under the Provincial Nominee Program is $200,000. Asfour told the Goat the discrepancy is because the initial investment amount is optional, but that the full $200,000 must be invested at the time of the interview with the Canadian citizenship officials. The leaked document does not mention this.

The 3rd party agreement with the client in Kuwait also says the 3rd party company “shall exert its outmost efforts for the success of the second party’s transaction and obtaining permanent residency in Canada, as per the time period determined by the government, being 12 to 18 months, in order to take a decision in connection with the second party’s obtaining of permanent residency there effective the date of issuing the investment certificate.”

Asfour told the Goat it takes 12 to 18 months to get a decision from the BC government’s Provincial Nominee Program to give the investor a business work permit in order to come to British Columbia and get involved in managing the business – not that it takes that time to get permanent residency. She said once the business is open and the investor starts managing the business, a performance agreement is submitted to the PNP, and then a certificate of selection is issued to the investor and forwarded to the government to initiate the performance review.

Asfour previously told the Goat her company has already started applying to the Provincial Nominee Program for some of her clients, and thinks some of them may be coming to Valemount by the end of 2014. But one Canadian immigration specialist says a project like GITC is planning will likely take longer.

Talha Mohani is an immigration specialist registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, who used to work with GITC’s immigrant clients. Mohani told the Goat most Canadian provinces welcome entrepreneurs with a genuine intent to establish a business that creates growth in the province, but that potential applicants have to understand there are strict regulations to follow and certain time frames required for each step. For instance, investments in a business without the investor being actively involved in the business will not be considered by BC’s current Provincial Nominee Program.

Mohani says a mega-project to bring immigrant investors to Valemount would take time. Federal and provincial government approval would be needed first, as it is different from the current model of business investor in BC’s Provincial Nominee Program. Under the current program, the immigrant investor has to first submit a business plan, and then come to Canada on a work visa to put the plan into action before being considered for permanent residency. Only then can the province nominate the business immigrant for Canadian citizenship. If investors are already investing in projects but haven’t done the other steps, he says those invested funds would not be eligible to use for the current business investor program.

The Village of Valemount has entered into an exclusivity agreement that allows GITC to be the Village’s exclusive partner for people wanting to use an agency for the Provincial Nominee Program to come to Valemount from certain countries, including China, India, Pakistan, Turkey and the Middle East. Both Mayor Andru McCracken and Asfour point out that it does not mean individuals couldn’t work on their own through the Nominee Program to come to Valemount; they just couldn’t use the services of a company similar to GITC.

Asfour says the company is accredited by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, but the ICCRC does not currently accredit companies – only individuals. Any company offering services to help with immigration to Canada must have at least one employee who is registered with the ICCRC. The ICCRC recommends getting the name of the Registered Canadian Immigration consultant working with a company and looking it up in their search tool.

GITC says they have retained the services of an immigration consultant, but could not provide the name by press time. The previous name provided to the Goat within the last two weeks was confirmed to be a registered immigration consultant, but that consultant is no longer working with GITC.