Quebec’s Immigrant Investor Program – or QIIP for short – is a path to permanent residency for high-net-worth foreign nationals. In exchange for an interest-free loan to the provincial government, eligible QIIP applicants are given permanent resident status, along with their dependents.
A Brief History of the Program
In 1986, a Canada-wide Immigrant Investor Program was put into place that aimed to attract affluent foreign nationals so they could help enrich the country’s economy. The program ran for many years, but it was given the axe in 2014 due to concerns that immigrant investors were not maintaining sufficient ties to Canada, and that they were not paying enough taxes compared to other economic immigrants.
So, how did Quebec manage to slip past this nationwide cancellation? It all comes down to the Canada-Quebec Accord. This agreement gives the country’s only French-speaking province the freedom to legislate its own immigration policies (among other things), and after the Canadian IIP shut down, Quebec decided to maintain its own version of the program.
// The QIIP is back on the table and reforms are expected to increase retention in Quebec.
In November 2019, the QIIP was suspended until July 2020, and then again until April 2021. There was a significant backup of applicants that had far surpassed the program’s quota, and many criticized the fact that immigrants were using Quebec as a “backdoor” to the rest of Canada. But now, the QIIP is back on the table and reforms are expected to increase retention in Quebec to address those critics.
QIIP relaunch in Summer 2021
While official confirmation is still forthcoming, we are confident that the QIIP will be relaunching in the second half of 2021 based on what the Ministry disclosed earlier this year in parliamentary budgetary hearings, as well as our own sources.
We expect that the program’s quota will be smaller than usual (especially given the backlog that accumulated before the QIIP suspension), and that there will be a particular emphasis on applicants’ intent to settle in Quebec due to the abovementioned “backdoor” issue. Namely, applicants will likely be required to demonstrate very basic notions of French. It is therefore essential to get in touch with an immigration professional as soon as possible, since spots are likely to be more limited than ever.
To begin the process, we recommend compiling tax and banking documents that go as far back as possible, in order to provide sufficient proof of funds. If you are proficient in English or French, register for a language test as soon as you can: it can take time to obtain your results and therefore delay the preparation and submission of your application.
Quebec’s IIP Eligibility
Eligibility for the QIIP is based almost exclusively on financial and management experience factors.
- Applicants must have a legally acquired personal net worth of at least $2 million, either alone or with a spouse
- Applicants must have at least two years of experience in a sufficient managerial role within the last five years (i.e. must have been involved in planning, managing, and controlling financial, human, or material resources)
- Applicants must make a five-year, interest-free investment of $1.2 million with Investissement Québec – Immigrants Investisseurs Inc. through an approved financial intermediary. A financing option is also available.
- Applicants must intend to settle in the province of Quebec
- Applicants and accompanying family members (spouses aged 16+ and children aged 18+) must obtain attestation that they have successfully learned about Quebec’s cultural and democratic values
How to apply for the Quebec IIP
Submitting an application for the QIIP is a two-step process. First, applicants must apply directly to the province of Quebec in order to obtain their Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ). Then, with their CSQ in hand, they must move on to the federal application process: a step that may require a police check and/or medical examination.
While that may sound simple enough, just like any other path to immigration, applying for the QIIP requires a fair amount of documentation to be completed in a very precise manner. If a candidate submits incomplete or incorrect documentation, they risk having their application rejected and starting over from scratch.
The best way to make sure you get it right the first time is to have a professional on your side. All of Exeo’s attorneys are highly experienced in economic immigration, and partnering with us will ensure that all of your documentation is complete, accurate, and most importantly, on time.