12/16/2014 07:21 EST | Updated 02/16/2015 05:59 EST

Canada Seeks 50 Millionaire Immigrant Investors Under Pilot Program

The Canadian government will give permanent residency to approximately 50 millionaire immigrant investors and their families, under a pilot program set to begin at the end of January.

Under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital pilot program announced today, each investor will be required to make a non-guaranteed investment of $2 million over 15 years and have a net worth of $10 million.

"Through the launch of this pilot program, we are attracting investors who can make a significant investment and who have the education and proven business or investment experience necessary to achieve success in Canada," Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said in a news release Tuesday.

"The funds funds will be invested in innovative Canadian-based start-ups with high growth potential."

Industry Minister James Moore said the pilot program was part of Canada's efforts "to attract experienced business leaders to Canada while leveraging their business expertise and personal investments."

The government said it will begin accepting applications under the pilot project in late January.

'Cash for citizenship'

Theproject comes after the government scrapped both the immigrant investor program and the entrepreneur program earlier this year.

Launched in 1986, the immigrant investor program offered visas to business people with a net worth of at least $1.6 million who were willing to lend $800,000 to the Canadian government for a term of five years.

The government said it cancelled the immigrant investor program — which critics had described as "cash for citizenship" — because it had been riddled with fraud.

The program had also been put on hold in 2012 due to a huge backlog of applications. 

Thousands of millionaires who had been waiting for permanent residency under the program sued the federal government after it wiped out the backlog of applications.

A Federal Court judge ruled against the more than 1,000 would-be investor immigrants in June.

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