Quebec Investor Program—In Need of Restructuring?


Now effectively closed until March 31st 2013, the integrity of Quebec’s Investor subcategory has been called into question by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. He estimates that almost ninety percent of successful applicants to the program never ultimately resided in the French province itself. It instead served as a conduit for well-endowed immigrants to bring their assets to other metropolises such as Vancouver and Toronto.

Those eligible for this category were required to make an interest-free $800 000 loan to the Quebec government for five years.   For some, the move to the West Coast was a practical decision that facilitated their integration. The program received an overwhelming response from Asian candidates—many of whom already had established support networks in the West Coast.

However, their exodus from Quebec enriched the French province with hundreds of thousands of dollars while saddling Vancouver with a double-burden of real-estate price inflation and the social service costs for the newcomers’ dependents. Much to the detriment of the Federal government, a few of these wealthy households even managed to Canadian taxation by leaving these dependents in Vancouver while wage-earners returned to their home countries to manage their firms. Almost 8,000 cases have come under scrutiny for residency fraud within the past two years. 

Nevertheless, the Investor program was not discontinued because of its frailties.  It is rather a temporary provision in response to an anomalous surge of immigration applications submitted to the Quebec government in 2011. This inundation, the Ministry estimated, would impose a three-year delay between the time applications were received and finally processed.  Taking into consideration the fact that 96,472 submissions were still waiting to be administered by the end of that year, Quebec decided on March 21 to enforce a threshold on the number of applications that it processed under both its Skilled Worker and Business Immigration programs until 2013.

Until then, changes to ameliorate the program must be made in the best interest of applicants and the Canadian nation as a whole.  These changes, as well as other changes to Canadian immigration legislation, can easily be tracked on FWCanada’s website.

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