Canada has a similar program to the United States called the Canadian Business Immigrant Investment Program, though it doesn’t impose any job-creation requirements.
In the United States the government has a program EB-5 program and foreign investors are writing checks in exchange for visas to business owners.
Under the Immigration Act of 1990, the U.S. Congress set aside 10,000 annual visas for foreign investors looking for opportunities in America.
Rather than wait a year or longer for other immigrant visas, foreign investors–through the so-called EB-5 program can obtain equity and obtain a U.S. visa in just three-to-six months; plus, unlike other immigrant visas that might expire in a few years, the EB-5 flavor offers permanent residency. EB-5 minimum requirements: a $1 million investment from a lawful source in a new or existing commercial enterprise that directly creates at least 10 U.S. jobs. Investors can put up as little as $500,000 if the company is in a rural area or in a county sporting 150% of the average national unemployment rate.
EB-5 is catching fire in the latest downturn. In 2007, the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved 473 petitions–called I-526 forms–for foreign investors. That figure rose to 640 in 2008, and jumped to 1,256 in 2009. Since October 2006, U.S. companies have raised more than $1 billion and have created over 20,000 jobs (directly and indirectly) through EB-5.