Quebec’s Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) will begin accepting new application from January, with stricter requirements.
Quebec Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette decided in late March to extend the closure of the program to new applications from Apr. 1 this year through to Jan. 1, 2024. It has been closed to new applicants for several years
“Since it is the intention of Quebec to put forward changes to this program to enhance the socioeconomic integration and stability of the selected investors in Quebec, there is reason to suspend the intake of applications to this program,” notes a Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) decision published earlier this year.
Under the beefed up requirements, applicants will now have to demonstrate a Level 7 French-language proficiency on the Échelle québécoise des niveaux de compétence en français, obtain a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and have at least a secondary school diploma.
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They, and any spouses or common-law partners on the application, will also need to live in Quebec for at least six months after getting their work permit.
Immigrant investors coming to Quebec under this program will have to invest $1 million with IQ Immigrants Investisseurs and provide $200,000 to it through a participating financial intermediary within 120 days of receiving a decision on their applications.
Last year, Quebec welcomed a record-breaking 68,705 new permanent residents as well as 89,765 temporary foreign workers through the International Mobility Program (IMP) and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), reveals the IRCC data.
Quebec welcomed a record-breaking 51,260 foreign nationals through the IMP last year, up almost 18.4 per cent from the 43,295 in 2021. The province also welcomed a record-breaking 38,505 foreign nationals through the TFWP last year, up 27 per cent from the 30,310 TFWP workers in 2021.
As immigration levels have risen, Quebec Premier François Legault has gotten antsy about the future of the French language in the francophone province.
During the last provincial election in Quebec, Legault insisted the province must hold the line on immigration. Then, in his inaugural address to open the latest session of the legislature, the premier announced plans to require that all economic immigrants to the province be francophone by 2026.
In her first immigration plan, the Plan d’immigration du Québec 2023, Fréchette tried to hold the line on immigration to between 49,500 and 52,500 new permanent residents to the province, citing the need to be able to provide adequate settlement services and integrate them all.
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“Immigrants bring with them a wide range of talents to Quebec and all the supports must be in place to help them integrate,” said Fréchette in a statement in French.
“This immigration plan contains important measures to help them learn French and integrate. Our government wants immigration to contribute to the Quebec economy in all regions of the province and to also maintain the vitality of the French language.”
Outside of Quebec, immigrant entrepreneurs can apply for permanent residence through the Start-Up Visa (SUV) program which allows them to initially come to Canada on a work permit while their application for permanent residence is being processed..
The entire process of applying for permanent residence to Canada through the SUV is currently estimated by the IRCC to take 37 months.
A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totalling $200,000.
A designated angel investor group must invest at least $75,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more investments from angel investor groups totalling $75,000.
A designated business incubator must accept the applicant into its business incubator program. It is up to the immigrant investor to develop a viable business plan that will meet the due diligence requirements of these government-approved designated entities.
Investing and the development of the business is usually done with the help of business consultants in Canada’s start-up ecosystem with oversight from experienced corporate business immigration lawyers who can ensure a start-up’s business concept meets all industry-required terms and conditions.
The basic government-imposed candidate eligibility requirements for the SUV are: