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Becoming a permanent resident (PR) in Canada is one step below citizenship. Permanent residents are allowed to reside and work in Canada for as long as their PR status is valid. Canadian PRs do not get the benefits of citizenship in Canada (i.e. they cannot vote in Canada or apply for a Canadian passport). On the other hand, they also do not have to renounce their citizenship if their country of birth does not recognize dual citizenship.

The road to PR can be long, winding, and complex. You must apply as the spouse, child, or dependent of a Canadian citizen, and it can take years to receive your status. While living in Canada is a dream for many, the PR process can be a rude awakening. So, if your situation allows for it, the Quebec Entrepreneur Program (QEP) is a great alternative for foreign nationals who wish to immigrate to Canada’s only French-speaking province.

What is the Quebec Entrepreneur Program

The Quebec Entrepreneur Program is a path to permanent residency for individuals who wish to own and operate a business in Quebec. Applicants can either open a new business or take over an existing one, and can either be sole proprietors or bring on partners to help run the company. Check out our infographic and the accompanying article for a quick and easy breakdown of the program.

First-Come, First-Served

One of the most attractive aspects of the QEP is that it operates on a first-come, first-served basis. While many other paths to immigration select the most qualified profiles from an extremely large and diverse pool of applicants, the QEP doesn’t compare one candidate to another. 

Instead, QEP spots are granted to whichever applicants cross the finish line – i.e. submit their candidacy – first, as long as they meet the following requirements.

What are the Quebec Entrepreneur
Program Requirements?

The QEP is divided into two different streams: one for applicants who are opening a new business, and another for both new and existing businesses. 


About Stream 1

If you are aiming to start a business in Quebec, you will need the backing of an incubator, accelerator, or university entrepreneurship centre to apply for the QEP. There is no official list of approved incubators, so whichever one has presented you with a business offer should suffice.

In order to receive backing from one of these organizations, you will need to submit a business project proposal. Once an incubator or accelerator takes on your project, you can apply for the QEP.

The biggest difference between the two streams is that this one does not require an investment on behalf of the applicant. For those looking to move to Montreal, Stream 1 is often a preferable option, since Stream 2 requires Montreal-based business owners to invest more money than those who are setting up shop outside the city.


About Stream 2

Both new and acquired enterprises are accepted under this category. To be eligible, applicants must control at least 25% of a new company’s shares or 51% of an acquired company’s shares, while performing an active managerial or operational role.

In addition to an investment in your business, you must make a security deposit of $200,000. Once your business has been active for at least 2 years, your deposit will be refunded.

The amount of the investment itself depends on the location of your business. If it is located outside the Greater Montreal Area (GMA), a capital investment of at least $200,000 is required. Businesses inside the GMA require an investment of $300,000. You must also prove that you have a net worth of at least $900,000 – if you have a spouse, their net worth can also be considered in this figure.

If you are applying for the QEP as the owner of an acquired company, the business must have been operational for 5 years before submitting your candidacy. During that time, it must also not have been operated by a QEP visa holder.

Is this Route Towards Permanent Residency Right for you?

Determining the best solution for your personal situation can be a challenge – that’s why having a professional on your side is the best way to stack the odds in your favour. The attorneys at Exeo know the QEP inside and out: contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

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