Quebec has one of the world’s most popular immigrant investor programs (called QIIP).
It’s the only investment program that allows access to Canada. And it’s one with a massive backlog and a long waiting time.
So far, the program has been suspended for the past 16 months. And as confirmed by Minister Girault, the program is predicted to stay closed until the beginning of April 2023.
That’s a 2 year delay, excluding the processing time required per application.
More Information on the Delays
This is the 3rd time that the Quebecois government decided to suspend the program.
The program had been halted in 2019 (quite abruptly, and with many backlogs kept on-hold). The reason cited for that was revision.
The Quebec government wanted time to revise how relevant the program was to the interests of its region.
This leads us to the next point…
Falling Retention Rates
While it is one of the world’s most popular programs, the program itself has an abysmal retention rate.
This is strange, considering the high financial ceiling of the program. Applicants are required to have a net worth of more than $2 million to qualify.
Also, they need to invest $1.2 million minimum in Quebec, through a government approved financial intermediary.
So the program isn’t a fast-track to immigration. It attracts serious business owners and wealthy applicants only.
How Investors See the Program?
Investors who do join the program use Quebec as a gateway to access the rest of Canada, rarely residing there after becoming permanent residents.
In fact, most choose to reside in Ontario or B.C. after gaining Quebecois permanent residency.
With the prolonged suspension, Quebec’s government hopes to fully revise its framework, and develop an offer that attracts those serious about residency.
The goal of the program is the eventual francization and integration of its applicants. Another goal of permanent residency is to ensure active investors who create jobs within its community.
How Popular Was the Program Before its Suspension?
As of 2019, the program had an estimated 18,800 files backlogged. That is almost double the backlogs of 2013, which amounted to less than 10,000.
Regardless, that’s 18,800 unprocessed applicants to Quebec’s immigration program.
With the program’s suspension came fears that the applications would be deleted. However, the government has assured its applicants that their files wouldn’t be affected by the decision.
This is a positive sign. It shows that the suspension is temporary, and that the program should be in full-effect after the revision is complete.
That sentiment can be seen in the statements of some QIIP advisory services, such as Mandeville and Associates. They think that leaving backlogs stored is a sign that the government might try to release the program before the promised 2013 date.
However, other advisory legal agencies do have doubts regarding the program’s success.
For example, Bayat Legal Service’s Sam Bayat (its founder), sees that the program has failed completely, and that other Western countries offer better alternatives.