Quebec is the second-most populous province in Canada and with its predominantly French-speaking population it has a unique relationship with the federal government. Therefore Quebec was able to negotiate the Quebec-Canada Accord, signed in 1991, that gives Quebec the power to select the immigrants to settle in the province. Quebec has used this power to design its own immigration programs and currently has some of the most robust business immigration programs in Canada.
Below is the summary of the latest details about the three main business immigration programs in the province of Quebec. It should be noted that since Quebec is a predominantly French province, it has greater opportunities for French speaking applicants that wish to settle in Quebec.
Quebec Immigrant Investor Program
Canada does not have any immigrant investment program where buying a property will grant you permanent residence or citizenship. However, Quebec’s Immigrant Investor Program (“QIIP”) is the last standing program that allows investors that want to settle in Quebec to obtain permanent residence by making a direct investment with the government of Quebec.
To qualify under the QIIP, applicants must:
- Show they have legitimately acquired a personal net-worth of at least $2,000,000;
- Have at least 2 years of senior managerial experience within the past 5 years;
- Commit to making an interest free investment of $1,200,000 in a prescribed government-guaranteed investment for a period of 5 years (or finance this amount using an approved Canadian bank);
- Show an intention to settle in the province of Quebec.
The QIIP has a quota for each intake period. For the current intake period that started on September 10, 2018, the quota is 1,900 applicants. The QIIP has been extremely popular with Chinese applicants therefore a maximum of 1235 Chinese nationals may submit applications (representing 65% of the quota) and applications from other countries will make up the remainder of the quota. This quota does not apply to French-speaking applicants who can apply irrespective of the quota.
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding business immigration and particularly programs such as the QIIP.
Unlike some other countries that have citizenship investor programs, the QIIP only leads to permanent residence for applicants that are successful. Catchy article headlines often incorrectly raise concerns that applicants under the investor program “buy” Canadian citizenship.
This is incorrect, particularly given the complex and meticulous process that applicants have to go through to be approved and the level of documentation required from investor applicants to demonstrate their management experience and the legal accumulation of their assets. Just ask any applicant about the binders, and sometimes boxes, of documents they have provided in support of their application.
Most importantly, applicants under the investor program receive permanent residence and do not have a shortcut to Canadian citizenship and must adhere to the same residency obligations as all other immigrants and meet the eligibility requirements to become Canadian citizens.
Zeynab Ziaie is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and a lawyer licensed to practice in Ontario and New York. Her legal practice focuses on immigration and business law. She often works with clients to find suitable solutions in complex immigration and citizenship cases and represents clients at all levels of court.