The Quebec government selects business people, entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals wishing to become Canadian permanent residents and settle in the province.
Following the acceptance of their application, successful candidates will receive a Certificate of Selection of Quebec (CSQ) and will be able to submit a permanent residence application to the federal government.
Temporary Work Visas Under Business Owner-Operator Rules
Candidates may be eligible to apply under one of three business immigration categories:
Quebec Immigrant Investor Program
The Quebec government continues to promote the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program. The three primary conditions to be eligible under the program, updated in March 2018, are:
- Demonstrate a personal net worth of at least $2 million legally acquired through conducting business or holding a high-level management position in a private company, government or NGO.
a) Having owned and operated a business for two years in the previous five years, OR
b) Having held a high-level management position for two years in the previous five years in a private company, government or NGO.
- Invest $1.2 million in a passive government guaranteed investment for a period of five years and receive no interest. Applicants may finance their investment.
Watch Our Video: How the New QIIP Works
Quebec Immigrant Entrepreneur Program
The Quebec Entrepreneur Program aims to recruit individuals who have the skills and experience to operate a business in the province. The program has been revamped in 2018 and is now operating under two streams:
- First stream consists in creating a business in Quebec with support from a business accelerator, a business incubator or a university entrepreneurship center.
- Second stream consists of creating or buying an existing business, of which the entrepreneur must control at least 25% if it’s a new enterprise, or at least 51% of an acquired enterprise.
Under the second stream, the entrepreneur candidate must invest starting funds of $200,000 for a business outside the metropolitan area of Montreal, or $300,000 for a business located in the metropolitan area of Montreal. A minimum guarantee deposit of $200,000 is also required, as an assurance and might be returned upon realization of the business project.
The candidate must prove that they have legally acquired a net value of $900,000 CAD, alone with their spouse if applicable.
Quebec Immigrant Self-Employed Program
To qualify under the Quebec Self-Employed Program, applicants must meet the following conditions that differentiates them from the Quebec Skilled Worker Program:
- have two years of self-employed experience, in the profession or trade they intend to practice in Quebec;
- possess a personal net worth of $100,000 CAD, alone or with an accompanying spouse or common-law partner;
- register a start-up deposit of at least $50,000 if the self-employed candidate is based in the metropolitan area of Montreal, and $25,000 if the candidate is located outside of Montreal.
All business candidates are also evaluated according to various selection factors and must obtain a minimum number of points based on their education, work experience, age, language proficiency, business plan and/or investment, ties to Quebec, etc.
Candidates must also demonstrate an intention to reside in Quebec.
Annual intake periods and numerical quotas are imposed by the immigration authorities. In the case of investors, territorial quotas are also applicable.
However, candidates who demonstrate that they have intermediate-advanced knowledge of French language (by presenting French test results of level B2 in speaking and listening) can apply at any time and are not subject to any cap.
Foreign investor-entrepreneurs wishing to relocate to Canada, should consider acquiring an established business in Canada, and apply for a work visa as a management employee. Revised federal policies governing new business owners under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is gaining considerable attention.
How to Buy a Business and Move to Canada
Attorney Colin Singer published an extensive two-parts editorial in The Lawyer’s Daily, covering selection rules for Quebec business immigrants: