Money Talks – Immigration through Québec’s Investor Program

Money Talks – Immigration through Québec’s Investor Program

By Jérémie M. De Serres

Now on hold, Québec's Immigrant Investor Program is a popular way for wealthy foreigners to attain citizenship.

Now on hold, Québec’s Immigrant Investor Program is a popular way for wealthy foreigners to attain citizenship.

Canada has long been recognized as a popular destination for people from all over the world to migrate to because of its high quality of life, open society, and the beauty of its natural environment.

According to Statistics Canada, 6.8 million people living in Canada were born abroad, accounting to 20.6% of the country’s population. Amongst them, 1.2 M arrived between 2006 and 2011, mainly from Asia, and a majority decided to settle in the main urban areas: Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Although the number of new immigrants arriving in Canada is high, there are many more hoping to come, and it is a difficult task for the immigration authorities to cope with such a high amount of applications.

QUEBEC THE BOUNCER

It is stated in the Canadian constitution that the administration of immigration is both of federal and provincial jurisdiction. The way this responsibility is shared is included in agreements signed by each provinces and the federal government. It is thus possible for the provinces to manage immigrants’ influx in consideration of their own socio-economic needs.

According to the Canada-Québec Accord Relating to Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens of 1991, Quebec has the exclusive right to select who can settle in the province. It has the right to lay down the requirements an applicant must fulfill in order to be accepted for immigration. Once a candidate is selected by the province, it must pass final verification at the federal level, such as criminal background check and medical examination.

HOW TO GET IN?

An applicant can apply for immigration to Quebec under different programs, such as the ones for skilled workers, business individuals (entrepreneurs, investors and self-employed workers), temporary workers, foreign students, sponsored persons and refugees. Each program is designed to attract certain types of immigrants. The choice of the program under which a candidate applies will depend on his personal situation, since strict criteria apply to each program.

MONEY TALKS

Amongst the various programs mentioned above, the investor program is one of the most popular options. The program has been such a success that it has been over-subscribed and the government had to put it on hold last year in order to clear the backlog.

In order to qualify, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  1. Net worth of 1,600,000 CAD;
  2. Cumulate 2 years of management experience in a private or public organization;
  3. Generate a guaranteed 800,000 CAD investment in Quebec economy for a period of five years.

Other factors, such as age, education and language skills are also taken into account.

As a result, most successful applicants are high net-worth people, and the majority of them are from China. Those immigrants have a positive impact on the local economy not only because of the amount of their investment, but also through the know-how and business network they can bring.

TIME TO MOVE ON

The program is set to accept new applications from August 1st to August 16th 2013.  However, new rules will apply. This will especially affect the procedure of the application process, which is set to become more efficient.

Due to the backlog, one of the new rules is that the number of new applications accepted will fall from 2700 last year to 1,750. Also, a maximum of 1200 applications will be selected for a single country. A draw will take place in order to determine which candidates will have the opportunity to have their file examined. The others will have their files returned and the application fees reimbursed.

EVERY RULE HAS AN EXCEPTION

The time-frame and quotas for receiving applications do not apply for all candidates. Indeed, the Quebec government made an exception for the ones with an advanced intermediate level of French, who can apply anytime, regardless of the quotas and the time-frame.

This decision demonstrates the intent of the Quebec government to allow more French speaking candidates in. It wishes to improve the integration of the selected candidates this way.

As we all know, learning a new language is not an easy task, especially when such a language is not the mainstream language where the immigrant originates from. It is difficult to predict whether this “new exception” will encourage more French speakers to apply or whether it will only reduce the number of new applications.

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About the author:

Jeremie-de-Serres_headshotJérémie M. De Serres, LL.B., M.B.A was born and raised in Quebec City, where he attended Champlain St. Lawrence before moving to Sherbrooke to study law and business.

He now works as an immigration lawyer based in Hong Kong, and shares his experience as a Quebecer living abroad.

His experiences in moving from Sherbrooke to Hong Kong give him particular insight into how it is to be a Quebecer, and how someone foreign to Quebec culture sees him and his manners and habits.

Categories: Business

About Author

Jérémie M. De Serres

Jérémie M. De Serres, LL.B., M.B.A was born and raised in Quebec City, where he attended Champlain St. Lawrence before moving to Sherbrooke to study law and business. He now works as an immigration lawyer based in Hong Kong, and shares his experience as a Quebecer living abroad. His experiences in moving from Sherbrooke to Hong Kong give him particular insight into how it is to be a Quebecer, and how someone foreign to Quebec culture sees him and his manners and habits.

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