September 10, 2018, marks the re-opening of a globally prominent immigration program, the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP). Through the QIIP applicants who meet all qualifying factors may be selected to receive a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ), and then with the CSQ, obtain Canadian permanent residence status from the federal government through Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). IRCC will review the QIIP selected applicant and accompanying family members for security and health factors before issuing permanent residence status.
While the capital requirements for the QIIP are often straightforward for applicants with sufficient personal net worth, most face difficulty meeting settlement qualification factors that require them to demonstrate a sincere intent to settle in the province of Quebec.
The QIIP’s worldwide popularity is principally due to its uniqueness among global migration programs, including among other Canadian federal or provincial nominee programs, as it allows successful applicants to secure permanent residence on the basis of a passive capital investment. This means that applicants neither have any requirement for active participation in any enterprise connected to the investment nor are they required to place the capital in any at-risk investment.
This is unique as most international business based immigration programs, including Canadian federal or provincial nominee programs, ordinarily, have provisions for activity management rolls and compatible professional experience.
On completing and submitting the QIIP application package, applicants will be required to sign an agreement stating that they intend to make a $1.2 million CND investment, processed through a financial intermediary authorized to participate in the QIIP, to be managed by a provincial operated body called Investissement Québec. Investissement Québec uses the funds received from QIIP applicants to grant low-interest loans to Quebec start-ups and other enterprises. The prescribed investment from the applicant will be in a five-year term note that will be fully guaranteed by the Quebec government. It is finally returned in full after five years with 0% interest.
While applicants may opt to make the investment as soon as their application package is submitted for processing, there is no requirement to do so. The investment can be made after the applicant is approved in principle under the QIIP. This option reduces risk by allowing applicants to avoid making the investment and then being refused either the CSQ or the temporary resident visa from IRCC under other qualifying requirements.
The re-opened QIIP will accept up to 1900 new applications through to March 15, 2019. The background qualifying factors for applicants are fairly simple:
- The principal applicant must have legally acquired a personal net worth of $2 million CND.
- The applicant must have at least two years of management or business experience within the five years preceding the application.
- The applicant and family must intend to settle in the province of Quebec.
Minimum French and/or English language speaking abilities are not required, however, applicants with an “advanced intermediate” level in French are not subject to any of the intake caps, and may submit an application at any time. Furthermore, their applications are given priority processing.
In addition to the above selection criteria, program adjudicators may consider additional factors such as age, education, adaptability, language proficiency, and work experience to assess adaptability factors of an applicant.
Assets for consideration of the legally acquired personal net worth may include real-estate, bank/savings account deposits, stocks and bonds, and pension funds. Inherited assets may also be accepted for the purpose of determining net worth, however, any inherited assets counted must have been received more than six months prior to submitting the QIIP application package.
On the matter of demonstrating an intention to settle in Quebec, many applicants may expect to find great difficulty qualifying. For the current QIIP duration, the Quebec government has introduced a far stricter test on intent to settle than previously used. Applicants can expect to likely be refused if they have relatives, a child attending school, and/or own any property in Canada outside Quebec. Furthermore, previous travel by applicants to Canada but not Quebec can be a factor against them as well
On the other hand, intent to settle factors that could be considered in an applicant’s favour include current property ownership and/or family residing in the province; previous history of work, study or other residence in Quebec; upgrading French language speaking skills; and previous travel directly to Quebec, especially if done for the purpose of exploring career, business, children’s education and other settlement factors.
Quotas filled quickly in previous years the Quebec government opened the QIIP. This will likely happen again this round. Interested applicants will need to move rapidly if they hope to be considered.
Kieran Verboven practices in the immigration group and is a member in good standing with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC). Kieran received his Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and has been an immigration practitioner since 2007.
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