Canada’s constitutional laws feature a dual immigration system. Historically, both the Federal government and that of the province of Quebec operated their own passive business investment programs. Following the winding up of the Federal program in June 2014, the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program remains the sole option for business immigrants with a high net worth wishing to secure permanent residence on the basis of a passive investment.
The primary requirements to qualify under the Quebec Investor program are
- Have a legally acquired personal net worth of $1.6 million CAD;
- Possess two years of suitable management or business experience within the five years preceding the application;
- Commit to making an investment of $800,000 CAD into a passive government guaranteed investment for a period of five years bearing no interest;
- Intend to settle in the province of Quebec.
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The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program is passive in nature, meaning that individuals selected under its auspices are not required to establish or actively manage a business in the province. Rather, the program requires an investment of $800,000 CAD into a prescribed (government guaranteed) investment. Applicants must have the intention of settling in the French speaking province of Quebec. Successful applicants are issued a selection certificate from Quebec for Canada immigration, which allows them to obtain Canadian permanent residence following health and criminality examinations by Federal immigration authorities.
Legally Acquired Net Worth
In order to meet the minimum net worth requirement of $1.6 million CAD, applicants must demonstrate the net value of their current assets, as well as their history of acquisition of funds over the course of their careers through narrative statements and supporting documentation.
Net worth is established through bank statements, investor booklets, real estate evaluations, audited financial statements and other pertinent and up to date documentation. Candidates are required to declare all of their personal assets and liabilities, however they are not required to produce evidence of assets beyond $1.6 million CAD.
Applicants must also demonstrate that their net worth was acquired legally. This takes into account the individual’s past employment income, businesses, local market conditions, inheritances and donations. While it is often difficult to produce detailed documentation of the early stages of an applicant’s career, clear supporting documents will facilitate the application process.
Suitable Management Experience
The intention of the program is to attract business acumen and investment to Quebec. A qualified applicant has typically owned or managed an active trade or business, which may include professional practices, rather than merely managing investment activities. In this context gray areas include professionals that don’t manage the business, passive real estate investors and investment managers. For example developing real estate may qualify whereas merely owning real estate may not qualify.
Suitable management experience is defined in the applicable regulations as:
“[T]he assuming, for at least 2 years in the 5 years preceding the application for a selection certificate, of duties related to the planning, management and control of financial resources and of human or material resources under the investor’s authority; the experience does not include the experience acquired in the context of an apprenticeship, training or specialization process attested to by a diploma.”
Investment and Financing
Successful applicants are required to make their investment with Investissement Québec for a period of five years, at the end of which the capital is returned without interest. The five year period begins upon issuance of the selection certificate, before the applicant has even landed in Canada. Proceeds from the investment are used to fund various business and social programs within the province of Quebec.
The Quebec Investor program permits applicants to finance the bulk of their investment through designated securities brokerage firms and investment banks. Typically the financing schemes require a down payment of approximately $220,000. The bank loans the applicant the balance of $580,000. The applicant deposits the sum of $800,000 with Investissement Québec. The down payment is not refunded at the end of the five year period. The bank takes fees and interest from the down payment, the immigration agent takes their commissions from the down payment. The net cost to the investor is the down payment.
Complete our Free Assessment to determine whether you qualify for immigration to Canada as an Immigrant Investor.