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Happy New Year! We wish you a very successful year full of happiness and new adventures as you bask in the beauty Vancouver has to offer. As we enter into the new year, the government has launched a new immigration program which we will discuss in further detail below.

The Metro Vancouver real estate market is affected by immigration trends. More than 250,000 immigrants become permanent residents and more than 150,000 foreign workers arrive to Canada on an annual basis according to Richard Bell, lawyer of Bell Alliance. This will benefit BC's economy. Bell stated, "over the next 10 years, B.C. will have one million job openings. One-third are expected to be filled by immigrants who will come here and buy homes".  

There are many governmental programs to bring immigrants to Canada. In January of this year, the federal government has initiated a new immigration policy in regards to parent and grandparent sponsorship. However, sponsors of relatives hoping to immigrate to Canada must now meet new eligibility criteria. The stringent criteria now includes: (1) Meeting an increase of 30% in the minimum necessary income for sponsoring relatives (ex/ A family of three will now require a minimum income of $45,039 as opposed to the previous amount of $34,646). (2) Meeting the minimum income threshold for the previous 3 years as opposed to the previous 12 months. (3) Meeting a requirement of sponsoring the parents and/or grandparents for a period of 20 years as opposed to the original 10 years. 

An "Express Entry Program" was launched at 12 noon EST January 1st, 2015. This program will manage applications for permanent residence under certain federal economic immigration programs. This two-step process will have a shorter processing time of approximately six months.

The real estate market may take a hit due to the termination of the "millionaire Visa" program for wealthy individuals. With a close correlation between high-end property prices and the discontinued Immigrant Investor Program, there has been speculation as to its adverse effects on the market. However, prices seem to have recovered from a temporary dip. There is quite a bit of demand for luxury housing as foreign investors are often competing with local, wealthy individuals.