By Moustafa Daly
The Quebec government just announced that the revived Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) will be open for applications in January 2024.
The program, suspended since 2019, had been one of the most popular routes to residency investment to Canada, but its revived version comes with unpopular conditions.
“There was very strong global demand for a QIIP reopening, and it's great that finally - after being closed for more than four years - QIIP would finally be back,” says Julien Tétrault, president of Quebec-based JTH Lawyers Inc.
“This new QIIP would certainly be good for Quebec, but would it be attractive to investors?” he questions.
Stricter requirements may make QIIP unpopular
In its previous version, QIIP didn’t have French-language requirements and applicants could live anywhere in Canada. The revived version introduces more strict measures.
“There are three new components in QIIP,” explains Tétrault, as follows:
- French is now mandatory, and the level required is intermediate-advanced.
- A CAD200,000 ($145,000) donation is now required on top of the five-year loan [CAD350,000] that always existed, making the program significantly more expensive.
- After being selected by Quebec Immigration, a minimum [one-year] stay in Quebec is now required prior to even submitting the Permanent Residence application.
However, the one-year physical residency requirement can be shared between the main applicant and spouse, which Tétrault sees as an advantage for businesspeople since it can offer some needed travel flexibility.
QIIP will now also require applicants to have at least a secondary school education.
Minor silver linings for the revived QIIP
Among the announced measures is to eliminate the quotas for the program, which in the past have caused many backlogs. Applicants will also not be assessed as per the complex point-based system of the program’s older version.
QIIP, Tétrault expects, would now only make sense to a French-speaking investor who is keen on quick, albeit temporary, relocation to Quebec.
“QIIP [received] about 50 applications per year from French-speaking applicants in the past,” he explains.
The previous QIIP version had an annual quota of 1,750 non-French speaking applicants, meaning that 99.8% of total applicants would no longer qualify for the revised QIIP, adds Tétrault.
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