By Stefania Seccia, Canwest News ServiceMarch 22, 2010 1:02 PM
TOFINO — Wealthy investors from Iran toured Tofino Sunday looking for potential financial prospects that may help them immigrate to Canada, according to Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce president Ram Tumuluri.
B.C. has the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) that opens the doors for both business investors and skilled workers to immigrate to Canada. "If a foreigner invests a minimum of $200,000 in B.C. they are considered for permanent residency," Tumuluri said. "It could be more, but it's a minimum of $200,000 to qualify."
There were about 15 members of an Iranian family touring and each had a net worth of approximately three million CAD, Tumuluri added. The family wants to escape its country's current struggle and move to a more peaceful nation, he explained.
"It helps the Canadian economy," he said. "It's the right approach and the right program." Larger cities tend to get a lot more attention from foreign investors and Tumuluri said he knew the Iranian family was traveling to Nanaimo for a tour.
"So we organized a day trip and a program including going out on a boat and eating lunch," he said. "So they could get a feel of the natural beauty here." However, the incumbent immigrants must invest in a related field of their occupations.
"For instance if one of them is a restaurateur in his own country he has to invest in a restaurant," Tumuluri said. The members in the group have backgrounds in the media, medical and real estate development professions, according to Tumuluri.
B.C.'s PNP is a collaboration between the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development and the federal Citizenship and Immigration Canada, according to its website www.welcomebc.ca.
There are two components to the program: strategic occupations and business immigrations. A successful applicant to the PNP program accelerates the permanent resident application process. "Tofino can use the exposure," Tumuluri said