The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), one of the world’s most popular in the residence-by-investment immigration industry, recorded a drop of 74 per cent in the number of applications received for 2014 compared to the previous year.
Only 1,400 applications were received before the application window closed compared to 5,389 applications received in 2013. This is the first time the QIIP has failed to reach its annual application limit with industry experts blaming strict new documentation rules for the decline.
For the 2014 intake, the authorities had delayed the application subscription period three times through the end of March 2015 in order to allow more time for applicants to submit their applications.
This year as well, the application window has been increased to five months as the program is set to launch on August 31st and run through January 31st, 2016. A new feature of the program which operates under a quota of 1750, requires investor applicants to identify a financial intermediary with continuing quota allocations.
The QIIP has historically been a popular immigration program for wealthy Chinese investors. It gained even more popularity after Canada terminated its federal IIP in 2012, forcing many applicants to consider the QIIP as an entry point into Canada.
The program requires candidates to demonstrate a personal worth of C$1.6 million and invest at least C$800,000 in a government guaranteed project on an interest-free basis for five years. Between 2002 and 2014, about 65,151 high net worth applicants and their family members gained entry into Canada under the QIIP. Approximately two-thirds were from mainland China. It is estimated that about 90 per cent left Quebec for other provinces after arriving in Canada.
However, it is widely expected that despite the drop in the number of 2014 applications under QIIP, Canada will continue to receive a steady flow of wealthy immigrants for many years due to the backlog of previous years’ applications. Statistics show that about 3,415 pending applications are being processed under the QIIP as of January 2015.
Canada’s immigrant investment industry been in turmoil during the past three years. The federal IIP was terminated by the Conservative government last year after a two year pause, affecting more than 15,000 unprocessed applications. It’s replacement launched earlier this year, the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program, has fared poorly receiving only six applications through early June 2015.
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