Recently, Quebec Premier Francois Legault unveiled proposed changes to Quebec’s immigration programs, including significant updates to the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) and other business immigration initiatives.
One of the noteworthy changes in Quebec’s economic immigration programs is the introduction of a mandatory requirement for all applicants to possess strong oral French skills before applying. This modification will impact not only investors but also entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals. Principal applicants falling into these categories will need to demonstrate their proficiency in spoken French.
The rationale behind this change is the current low percentage of workers who are fluent in French. By making French proficiency a prerequisite, the government aims to enhance the integration of immigrants into Quebec’s business community and facilitate their contributions to the province’s economy.
Currently, the QIIP is closed to new applicants, having been suspended since 2019. Earlier the program was scheduled to restart in April 2023, however, it is now postponed to January 2024.
What are the other proposed changes to the QIIP? According to a newsletter released by AURAY Capital, the following criteria remain unchanged:
- Applicants must have a net worth of at least C$2 million, including their spouse’s assets.
- Applicants must have at least 2 years of management experience within the last five years.
However, the following criteria have been modified or introduced:
- Applicants must demonstrate a minimum proficiency in spoken French, equivalent to level 7 on the Quebec Scale of Competency Levels in French for Adult Immigrants.
- Applicants must hold a diploma obtained before the application’s submission date, equivalent to at least a secondary school diploma in Quebec.
- Applicants must have been issued a work permit following the notice of intent to issue a selection certificate (PCSQ) by the Ministry of Immigration, Francization, and Integration (MIFI).
- Within two years of receiving the work permit, the principal applicant must have been able to prove that they have lived in Quebec with their respective spouse for at least a period of six months.
- Applicants must make a risk-free investment of C$1 million, with 0% interest, with IQ Immigrants Investisseurs Inc. Moreover, one is required to offer a non-refundable financial contribution of $200,000 facilitated through a financial intermediary within the period of 120 days.
Business Immigration in Quebec
Established in 1985, the QIIP is Canada’s only passive investor immigration program. Quebec’s business immigration initiatives target high-income individuals who are believed to have the potential to create jobs and contribute to the economy. Under the QIIP, investor immigrants can apply for permanent residence by making an interest-free loan of $1.2 million to the province. This loan is fully repayable within five years, and candidates are not obligated to manage a business.
An applicant is required to hold a minimum of two years of full-time management experience in a particular industry such as agriculture, commercial, or industrial to name a few.
On the other hand, Quebec entrepreneurs are expected to actively manage their businesses. There are two streams available for entrepreneurs. Stream One focuses on new businesses or startups established within the province, with the support of a business incubator/accelerator or a university in Quebec. Stream Two targets businesses that are owned and operated by the applicants themselves.
Applicants who have applied to the Quebec Entrepreneur Program are required to submit a complete business project as part of their application. The project undergoes assessment, and applicants are expected to attend a selection interview.
Additionally, all Quebec Entrepreneur applicants must demonstrate their intention to reside in Quebec. Thus, the projected updates to Quebec’s immigration program are specifically targeted to promote the integration of immigrants into Quebec’s business arena by emphasizing the significance of French proficiency.