In the competitive world of residence-by- investment immigration, the Portugal Golden Visa program is regularly talked about as the foremost residency program in Europe. How does the Quebec QIIP Investor program stack up to one of the world’s more popular programs?
Key differences between the two include Portugal’s wide range of investment options, compared to Quebec’s single stream. In Portugal, investors can choose streams with thresholds anywhere from €250,000 to €1 million. Quebec has the edge here, because all of the Portuguese options involve some level of risk, compared to the Canadian province’s government secured investment.
There is also no stated minimum net worth requirement in the European country.
Here, we look at the two programs and compare their advantages and disadvantages from the view point of potential candidates considering their investment immigration options.
Compared: Quebec Investor vs Portugal Golden Visa
|QIIP||Portugal Golden Visa|
|Investment threshold||CAD $1.2 million
|From €250,000 to €1 million ($378,000 to $1.5 million), depending on investment class.|
|Net worth requirement||$2 million||None stated|
|Nature of investment||Passive investment over 5 years bearing no interest||Capital Investment €1 million
Real Estate €350,000
Urban Rehabilitation €350,000
Scientific Research and Development €350,000
Promotion of Culture €250,000
Small Cap and Mid Cap Finance €350,000
Business Creation or Investment €350,000
|Residence qualification||Immediate permanent residence||Temporary residency permit is initially granted for one year, renewable for two years and then another two years. Permanent residency after five years, citizenship application after six years.|
|Physical presence requirement||To maintain permanent residence, you must live in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. To qualify for citizenship, you must be physically present for three years in the last five, as well as meet other requirements.||Initial temporary residence requires 7 days of physical presence in the first year, and
14 days in subsequent periods of two years.
|Application window||The QIIP sets managed application periods, with the recent threshold set at 1,900 applications, including a maximum of 1,330 from China, Hong Kong and Macao. With families, the program welcomes 5,000 new permanent residents each year. The next application period is expected to open in Q3 2018.||Applications received on a continuous basis. Dominated by Chinese applicants, drawing 3,645 visas as of January 2018. Other popular nationalities include Brazilians (393), South Africans (228), Russians (200) and Turkish candidates (131).|
|Financing available?||Yes, formal financing schemes available||No financing, must be cleared funds.|
|Controversies||The main controversy surrounding the QIIP is that investors use it as a back door to Canada (Vancouver and Toronto). Despite attempts to make investors state their intention to reside in Quebec, once they have permanent residence status, they are free to move anywhere in Canada. The program has been blamed for inflating house prices in Vancouver and Toronto.||Allegations of fraud saw the program overhauled in 2014, since when it has become one of Europe’s most popular. Program is not popular with EU officials, as it effectively sells the right to live and work in the entire bloc of countries.|
|Political climate||Canada’s political climate is stable and welcoming to new immigrants.||Portugal was a victim of the 2008 financial crash, and the golden visa was a way of emerging from that. The country is now enjoying increasing economic and political stability.|
|Program stability||The QIIP has just increased its investment and net worth thresholds for the first time in nearly a decade. The program is a well-established part of the Canadian immigration landscape.||After a 2014 overhaul in which many of the officials operating the program were arrested, the Portugal Golden Visa and been stable and has grown in popularity. It is Europe’s most popular residence program.|
The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program features a stable, passive investment with a financing option in return for immediate permanent residence. With the popular financing option, the investment is approximately $325,000 (USD $260,000). It is not without controversies, but they are not a direct threat to the future of the program. With managed annual application limits, the program is well-administered and benefits both candidates and the Quebec economy. Provincial representatives from B.C. and Ontario would like to see the benefits shared, given how many of the QIIP candidates settle in their jurisdictions. Processing delays to visa issuance are near 44 months for Asian based investors.
The Portugal Golden Visa is Europe’s most popular residence-by-investment program, featuring a range of investment options. It offers EU residence for as little as €250,000. As with many residence-by-investment programs, it has become extremely popular among Chinese investors. Investment from the program has sparked a turnaround in the Portuguese economy, crushed by the 2008 financial crisis, with the real estate sector now thriving. Fraud has been an issue with the program, which was overhauled in 2014, while it will always remain controversial with EU officials, as Portugal is effectively drawing investment by offering EU residence. The program does not offer immediate permanent residence, although the five years of temporary residence comes with manageable physical presence requirements.
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