The Québec government recently announced the suspension of most of its immigration programs, including the Québec Immigrant Investor Program. The Québec Immigrant Investor Program allowed Immigrant Investors with a minimum net worth of $1.6M CAD to invest $800,000 CAD into the Canadian economy in order to apply for Permanent Residence. The applicants also had certain professional requirements: in order to apply, one had to be a shareholder of a private company for at least 2 years out of the past 5 years. This prosperous program accepted around 1,900 immigrant investors yearly, generating around $275M CAD on average. There were, however, certain flaws that made the program problematic.
First, the program created an unwanted back door to Vancouver and Toronto, as a significant amount of investors would eventually relocate to those two cities after a year or two of living in Québec, typically with the plans of investing into Toronto or Vancouver real estate. The changes in the program will be focused on creating a permanent bond between the investors and the province of Québec, by adding the requirement of making an investment of $1.2M CAD for a period of 5 years, an increase of $400K CAD. To further prevent the relocation of investors, immigration officers will now be stricter in selecting the applicants by not selecting foreign nationals who own property, have a child attending school, or have relatives in another Canadian province. Moreover, if the applicant has visited other Canadian provinces but never Québec, this will also now be cause for suspicion.
Second, the government wants to ensure that the investments into Québec companies will be notable, and make a real impact. The government will be changing the net asset minimum for applicants to $2M CAD, an increase of $400K CAD from the previous version of the program.
The new and improved program is planned to open in August of 2018, and more modifications regarding processing and selection criteria might be released as we approach this date, so if you are planning on investing in the Québec economy, make sure to keep up with our monthly newsflash.