Immigration Corner | Can I use land as collateral?
Dear Ms Powell,
I want to apply to live in Canada, but I do not have a lot of money in my account. I know I need to show that I have money. Why does the Canadian government have this requirement? I inherited some land from my grandparents, so I know that I will have the money to go. I think the land would be very valuable as it is near to the beach and if I sell it, I could get closer to $50,000. Can I use the land as a collateral? I don’t want to sell the land until I actually get through. Would a job offer help? Thank you.
Canada values immigration and its immigration policies are based on the contribution that immigrants can make to the society and economy. This was emphasised in the recent budget announcement. In fact, the government of Canada indicates on its website that “the strength of Canada’s economy is measured in part by the number of people working and paying taxes to fund public services, such as healthcare”. Additionally, immigrants help to boost the economy and the labour force, as Canada has an ageing population and birth rates have been trending downwards over the years.
Therefore, when you apply to come to Canada, you will be asked questions to measure how you are able to support yourself and your family, as well as contribute to the economy.
HOW WILL YOUR APPLICATION BE EVALUATED?
Your ability to fit into Canada’s social and economic agenda will be assessed based on your age, work experience, education, language ability, the amount of money you have for your family’s living expenses, support in Canada, and other factors.
You will be asked questions such as: How much money (in Canadian dollars) will you bring to Canada to support yourself and your family? How many family members do you have? This would include you, a spouse or common-law partner, dependent children, and their dependent children.
The Canadian government publishes on its website each year a table of the minimum amount of money or settlement funds that you are expected to have in your bank account to qualify under its federal economic programmes such as the Federal Skilled Worker Programme and Federal Skilled Trade Programme. The settlement fund will not be taken from you, but you are expected to be able to care for yourself and family without seeking financial support from the government.
Each year the figure changes and is based on the number of persons in your family. In February 2021, the figures were changed, and the required Canadian funds are now as follows: Single person – CDN$12,960; family of two – CDN$16,135; family of three – CDN$19,836; family of four – CDN$24,083; family of five – CDN$27,315; family of six – CDN$30,806; family of seven – CDN$34,299 and for each additional family member – CDN$3,492.
PROOF OF FUNDS
You will not be asked to provide a list of all your assets or pledge your land as a security. The government will not be taking the money from you. You need to have the money to take care of your yourself and family while you settle in Canada and to pave the way for a successful life in Canada.
The requirement is proof of ‘liquid funds’. These funds must be easily available to you. The Canadian government will not accept your title or other proof that you are entitled to real estate property. Nor will they accept proof of your ability to use the equity in a home or property.
Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has specifically stated that you cannot borrow this money from another person or bank. You must be able to use this money to pay the costs of living for your family, even if they are not coming with you to Canada.
IRCC will accept a letter from an official bank or investment company in your home country to confirm your investments, chequing and savings accounts. The letter must contain details of the account numbers, dates each account was opened and the balance of each account over the past six months. This letter should also outline a list of all outstanding debts, such as credit cards and loans. The letter must be printed on the letterhead of the financial institution, include your name and the contact information of the financial institution, including their address, telephone number and email address.
If you have a valid job offer from a qualified employer, then proof of means of self-support is not a requirement. Your job offer must be from an authorised employer that has a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) report, or from an employer who is LMIA exempt. Your potential employer must provide you with a letter and contract, along with a copy of the LMIA or proof of exemption.
If you have more questions about additional information that will be required when applying for permanent residence to Canada, I recommend that you book a telephone/ Zoom/Skype meeting with a Canadian immigration lawyer to advise you further.
Deidre S. Powell is a Canadian immigration lawyer and notary public. Submit your questions and comments via her website www.deidrepowell.com. Follow her on Facebook for the latest updates or call 613.695.8777.