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Last month, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that two of the Federal Business Immigration Programs had changed. A moratorium was placed on the Federal Immigrant Entrepreneur Program and the number of applications accepted for the Federal Immigrant Investor Program from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 was limited to 700 applications. Within a couple of days, the cap limit for the Investor Program was reached. Fortunately, this does not mean an end to Canadian Business Immigration. The province of Quebec offers Entrepreneur and Investor Programs for applicants looking to obtain Canadian Permanent Residency.

The Quebec Business Immigration Programs are available to individuals who have acquired managerial experience and who intend to settle in the Province of Quebec following their acceptance. Once Quebec has approved an application, candidates receive a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ - Québec selection certificate), the official document issued by the Quebec immigration authorities (Immigration et Communautés Culturelles Québec) indicating that the applicant designated on the certificate has been selected by the province of Quebec. Once health and security aspects of the application have been completed, a Canadian Permanent Resident Visa will be issued by the federal immigration authorities.

Although immigration to Quebec is a two-step process involving both provincial and federal immigration authorities, Quebec-selected applicants are fast-tracked at the federal level and are often processed fairly quickly at the provincial level. As such, applicants under the Quebec program can usually obtain their Permanent Resident Visa within a reasonable amount of time.

The Quebec Entrepreneur and Investor categories have their own set of requirements and selection process:

Quebec Entrepreneur Program

To be eligible as an Entrepreneur, an applicant must:

• Have legally acquired a minimum of CAD $300,000 in net worth alone or with the help of his/her spouse or common-law partner (if the spouse or common-law partner is accompanying); and

• Have a minimum of two years full-time work experience in business management (planning, management and control of human, physical and financial resources) over the course of five years prior to the submission of the Quebec Entrepreneur application.

• Have controlled at least 25% of the capital equity of the business in which the work experience was obtained. The work experience must have been in a profitable business (agricultural, industrial or commercial).

After arriving in Quebec, Entrepreneurs are granted a conditional Permanent Resident Visa. Entrepreneurs will have to meet the following requirements for at least one full year within three years of acquiring residency:

• Must successfully create or acquire an agricultural, commercial or industrial business in the Province of Quebec;

• Control at least 25% of the capital equity of that business which accounts for a minimum of $100,000 CAD;

• Employ a Quebec resident in the business (other than the Entrepreneur or accompanying family members) in a position of at least 30 hours a week; and

• Participate in the day-today management of the business.

Quebec Investor Program

To qualify as an Investor, an applicant must:

• Have legally acquired a minimum of CAD $1.6 million in net worth, alone or with the help of his/her spouse or common-law partner in the event that the spouse or common-law partner is accompanying;

• Have acquired a minimum of two years full-time management experience (planning, supervision and control of the financial and the human or physical resources) over the course of five years prior to the submission of the candidate’s application. The work experience must have been in an enterprise (agricultural, commercial, or industrial, OR management experience in a governmental or international organization); and

• Agree to invest the sum of CAD$800,000 through an approved financial intermediary.

Applicants can choose to make a government-guaranteed investment of CAD$800,000 of their own funds with the Government of Quebec for a period of five years. The funds are then returned to the applicant in full with 0% interest. Alternatively, applicants can choose to pay a one-time financing fee to a government-approved financial institution. The financial institution will then invest CAD$800,000 with the government on the applicant’s behalf.

The Quebec Investor category generally considers management experience in different sectors, whereas the Federal Investor category only considers management experience acquired in commercial enterprises. For this reason, the Quebec Investor category may appeal to individuals with broader management backgrounds.

Given Canada’s increasingly strong economy, this is an ideal time to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency by investing in or starting a business in Canada. The Quebec Business Immigration Programs are great options for applicants looking to acquire Canadian Permanent Residency.

To learn more about Quebec’s Business Immigration programs, including the benefits and detailed requirements for each program, consult the professionals at Campbell Cohen, who can help you further your Canadian immigration plans. You can contact us directly or fill out our free Canadian Business Immigration eligibility assessment.

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