A Quebec entrepreneur applicant is a foreign national who comes to Quebec to either operate a business that he creates, alone or with partners, or to acquire a business already established in the province.
The program has been revamped in 2018 and is now operating under two streams under which an entrepreneur can apply for Certificate of Selection of Quebec (CSQ):
This stream is for candidates receiving support from a business accelerator, a business incubator or a university entrepreneurship center, and who wish to open and manage a business in Quebec.
The business can be established by the candidate alone or with partners.
The partners can be Canadians or foreign nationals, in which case they are limited to three.
This stream includes operating a business that the entrepreneur created or purchased.
Under this stream, the entrepreneur must control at least 25% of the shares of the new enterprise, or at least 51% of an acquired enterprise, which must have a value equivalent or higher than the funds needed to start the business project.
The candidate must also operate the business or actively participate in its daily management.
The entrepreneur candidate must invest capital funds of $200,000 if the business is located outside the metropolitan area of Montreal, or $300,000 for a business located within the metropolitan area of Montreal.
A minimum guarantee deposit of $200,000 must be given as an assurance and may be returned upon realization of the business project if certain conditions are met.
The candidate must also prove that they have legally acquired a net worth of $900,000 CAD, alone with their spouse if applicable.
The acquired business must have been operating for at least 5 years before the submission of the application and must not have been operated by a former entrepreneur candidate in the 5 years preceding this date.
The business should not operate in the following industries:
- Salary loans, check cashing or pledge loans;
- Real estate development, brokerage in real estate or insurance;
- Production, distribution or sale of pornographic or sexually explicit products or services related to the sex industry such as nude or erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages.
Additional conditions to qualify
The business project must be presented under a business plan format.
Applicants under both streams are also evaluated according to various selection factors and must score a minimum number of points based on their education, work experience, age, language proficiency, business plan, and ties to Quebec.
What is the difference from the Investor Program?
There are two important distinctions from the Investors Class.
1. First, Entrepreneur Class applicants must establish and become active in the management of a qualifying Canadian business in Quebec. Approved applicants are therefore admitted to Canada under a conditional visa and must report regularly to immigration authorities. Applicants who do not fulfill their qualifying Canadian business conditions may be subjected to removal hearings which could lead to deportation of the applicant and family members. Under the second stream, the minister can confiscate the guarantee deposit if the business project is not fulfilled, as per R56.
2. Second, applicants under the Entrepreneur program do not have to invest in a no-interest, five-year term deposit with the provincial government, as the investor candidates must do.
Quebec Entrepreneur applicants must successfully defend a business plan during a selection interview which outlines the feasibility and relevancy of the project to Quebec. The selection interview is typically preceded by a preliminary market visit to the province of Quebec by the applicant.
Once approved, the application proceeds to Federal security and medical verifications followed by visa issuance with mandatory terms and conditions, within an overall processing delay which can vary between 12-44 months.
Each year, the government accepts a limited number of applications under the Entrepreneur category. According to the August 2018 regulations, 25 applications will be allowed under the first stream, and 35 under the second stream.
The intake period began on August 15th, 2018 and will close on 31st of March 2019 or earlier if the quota is reached beforehand.