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 predominately French the province 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 two years of senior managerial experience within the past five years
- Commit to making an interest free investment $1,200,000 in a prescribed government-guaranteed investment for a period of five years (or finance this amount using an approved Canadian bank)
- Show an intention to settle in the province of Quebec.
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 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.
This program is for applicants that want to use their entrepreneurial experience to set up or manage a business in Quebec. To qualify under Quebec's entrepreneur program applicants must:
- Show they have legitimately acquired a personal net-worth of at least CA$300,000
- Have at least two years of full-time management experience within the past five years in a business and must own at least 25% of the shares of the business
- Commit to either create or acquire a business in Quebec for at least $100,000 representing at least 25% of the business and manage the business on a day-to-day basis
- Quota for this program is currently at 60 applicants
This program is for those who are self-employed, often on a smaller scale than an entrepreneur, and wish to continue similar work in Quebec. This is different from the Federal Self-Employed program that is geared towards athletes and those engaged in cultural activities. To qualify under Quebec's self-employed program applicants must:
- Show they have legitimately acquired a personal net-worth of at least CA$100,000
- Have at least two years of full-time experience within the past five years in a practice or profession outside of Canada that they want to continue in Quebec
- Come to Quebec to create their own job (become self-employed) by practicing a profession or business activity
- Make a start-up deposit at a financial institution in Quebec ($25,000 or $50,000 depending on the region you will settle in)
- Quota for this program is currently at 50 applicants
While all three of these programs can lead to permanent residence, the entrepreneur program is different because there will be a condition on your permanent residence: under this program there will be a condition that you must set up the business you committed to within the first three years of becoming a permanent resident of Canada. And irrespective of the path you take to permanent residence you will face the same laws and regulations with regards to your residency obligation (maintaining your permanent residence) and applying to become a Canadian citizen.
These are the latest regulations with regards to Quebec's three business programs and reflect changes announced this past summer. Given the limited quotas under each stream I predict that the processing of these applications will be fairly quick, but this also means that you should act fast. If you are interested in one of these programs speak with a specialized immigration lawyer as soon as possible to determine your eligibility.