January 23, 2017 — With uncertainty surrounding the future of the US EB-5 under Donald Trump, Quebec is about to open applications for its popular investment immigration program.
The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) offers a stable and well-administered alternative to the EB-5, which has been beset with problems relating to fraud, manipulation of so-called Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) and an ever-growing backlog of applications.
Quebec is expected to maintain the QIIP investment threshold at CAD$800,000, putting it among the cheapest permanent residence programs on the market. This comes as the US looks likely to increase the lower EB-5 threshold to US$800,000 under recent proposals tabled in Congress.
- Legally acquired personal net worth of $1.6 million.
- Two years of suitable management or business experience within the five years preceding the application.
- Make investment of $800,000 for a period of five years bearing no interest. Money invested is returned at the end of the period.
- Intend to settle in the province of Quebec.
The QIIP program has not undergone an increase in investment requirements in more than a decade. Stakeholders expect the current program to remain unchanged for at least another cycle.
The EB-5 has likewise not seen an increase in requirements since inception in 1990. Since then the program has undergone several temporary extensions as U.S. lawmakers try to reach a consensus on what they want to do with the popular-but-controversial program.
Many expect President Trump to support the program, given the billions of dollars of investment it has attracted to projects across America. But there has been no indication yet on what Trump will do, meaning uncertainty is the buzz word among potential candidates.
The draw of moving to Canada, the relatively low investment requirement and the stability of that investment make the QIIP one of the world’s most appealing programs for high net worth individuals.
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In July 2016, Demetrios Papademetriou of the Migration Policy Institute described the QIIP as ‘among the most generous’ of the world’s investment programs, particularly among top tier nations.
He is not surprised that investors opt for Canada despite similar schemes in the U.S., the U.K., France and Australia.
The EB-5 is currently cheaper, but the $500,000 investment requirement has to be made without financing in often-risky, start-up projects which can fail and candidates can lose their investment and with it their residency option.
Tier 1 Program Comparatives
(CAD in brackets)
|New Zealand||$1.5m ($1.4m)||
QIIP is controversial within Canada because many of the investors choose to live in Vancouver or Toronto, despite stating their intention to settle in Quebec as part of the application process.
The QIIP is also controversial in the rest of Canada because many of the immigrants who come in through the program end up settling in Vancouver and Toronto, despite declaring their intent to reside in Quebec as part of the application process.
Experts suggest this is one of the reasons for the inflated housing markets in both major cities, particularly the West Coast giant.
Critics say Quebec should not be benefitting financially from the program if the immigrants given permanent residency do not settle in the province.
Quebec says it has attempted to slow the movement of immigrants out of the province, first by introducing the declaration to reside rule, and also by focusing on French-speaking applicants.
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