Quebec provincial government is extending the temporary suspension of the immigrant investor program.
The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) will now be temporarily closed to applications until April 1, 2021. The decision was announced the Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration (MIFI). It has been reported that the suspension of the program is not related to the current coronavirus crisis.
Quebec provincial government had previously closed the program until July 1, 2020.
The investor program allows people with a net worth of more than $2 million to get a Canadian permanent residence by investing a minimum of $1.2 million with a financial intermediary that has been approved by the government of Quebec.
The QIIP is polarizing, critics say it is easy to exploit the program, while supporters say it helps Quebec to gain more wealth.
Though the program requires interested applicants to have an intention to settle in Quebec, most take up residence in Ontario or B.C. Another common criticism is that the program allows people to “buy Canadian permanent residence.”
The QIIP is Quebec’s version of the Federal Immigrant Investor Program (FIIP), which was scrapped in 2014. Quebec is more interested in revising its programs as it stated in the recent ministerial decree.
In support of the Federal Immigrant Investor Program, the Investment Industry Association of Canada wrote a letter in early May, calling on the federal government to bring back Canada’s investor program.
They said it could help the Canadian economy recover quickly from the devastating effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) represents the intermediaries who facilitate the arrival to Canada of immigrant investors.
The Quebec provincial government profits from the investor program by taking a $1.2 million interest-free loans from immigrant investors. The government puts the money in interest-earning invests, such as bonds, and holds it in cash to ensure the money can be refunded to the investor after the five-year term. A small portion goes toward loans for small scale businesses in Quebec.
Quebec will have to consider lending rates set by the Bank of Canada when it reevaluates what it wishes to do with the investor program. Interest rates have plunged after COVID-19 pandemic prevention measures were implemented in March.
The low-interest rates raise the question of whether or not it will be of advantage for Quebec to maintain the investor program in an effort to stimulate the province’s economy.
Quebec Investor immigration program falls under business immigration, a category for high net worth individuals who have the potentials to create jobs and contribute to Canada’s economic growth. Business immigration also includes entrepreneur immigration.
The main difference between investor immigration program and entrepreneur immigration program is that entrepreneur programs require immigrants to actively engage in a business in exchange for Canada PR, whereas investor programs offer Canadian permanent residence in exchange for an interest-free loan.
For immigrants who wish who open a business in Canada, there are other options such as Quebec’s business immigration program. Canada also has the federal Start-up Visa Program and the entrepreneur stream offered by the provinces and territories under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Ontario, for instance, invited twenty-six (26) entrepreneurs under its PNP last month.