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Australia could stand to gain from Canada's decision. The country unveiled in 2012 its Significant Investor visa program to allow immigrants a residency visa if they invested 5 million Australian dollars (US$4.5 million) into a local business or approved managed funds. So far, the program attracted 601 applicants, of which 91% were Chinese nationals.

After I look up dictionaries, different explanations confused me. So I want to know the exact meaning of it.

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Australia is in a situation that may allow them to benefit from Canada's decision.


The general pattern is:

stand to verbinfinitive

Here, stand means "be in a position to". Here are some examples:

Australia could stand to gain from Canada's decision.
(Australia could be in a position to gain from Canada's decision.)

He stands to lose a lot of money if this deal falls through.
(He is in a position to lose a lot of money if this deal falls through.)

There are some other phrases such as be poised to which use a similar metaphor.

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  • In the Collins English Dictionary, the explanation of "stand to gain" is "If you stand to gain something, you are likely to gain it. If you stand to lose something, you are likely to lose it."So I wonder whether "stand" means "be likely".
    – user48070
    Feb 17, 2014 at 3:26
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    Yes, but the likelihood refers to the strength of connection between the event and the consequence, rather than the likelihood of the event itself occurring. So if I have invested in a start-up company with a new technology, then I stand to make a fortune if the venture is a success. But the chance of it being successful may be quite slim.
    – toandfro
    Mar 2, 2014 at 23:22

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