By Patrick McCarthy
On March 31st, the Province of Quebec announced that its popular Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) could be on hold until April 1, 2023. The QIIP had been paused since November 1 2019, and that pause was set to expire on March 31.
The extension is an administrative measure to allow the province additional time needed in order to finalize updated regulations. In a meeting with industry stakeholders on March 30, senior government officials explained that they were finalizing updates to the program with their federal counterparts, and negotiating final elements for the updated program. In that meeting, they indicated that updated regulations could be published within the next few months.
Indeed, in a March 31 email, officials from Quebec’s Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration pointed “Although the decree provides for a suspension until April 1, 2023, it is our intention that the new program will be ready before this date”.
It is widely believed that program updates could include measures which would increase the retention of applicants in the province of Quebec, and also to increase the chances that applicants acquire at least a very basic understanding of French after arriving in Quebec.
Under the current regulations, QIIP applicants are required to have:
- At least 2 years of management experience in the 5 years prior to their application;
- A legally acquired net worth of at least CAD$2 Million;
- The intention to settle in Quebec, and to commit to a government-guaranteed investment of CAD$1.2 Million
The QIIP has in recent years been Canada’s most popular business immigration program for a number of reasons. First, because of the nature of the investment, authorized financial intermediaries are able to secure financing of the investment for the applicant, greatly reducing his upfront cost. Secondly, the QIIP is the only “passive” investor immigration program in Canada. Unlike other popular programs, such as the Canadian Start-up Visa or PNP Entrepreneur Programs, the QIIP does not require applicants to be actively involved with the management of a business in Canada.
At this point, there has been no official word as to whether there would be any changes to the financial components of the program. Once new regulations are published, the public will have 45 days to submit their comments. Details of the updated program should be available later this year.
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