The draw of moving to Canada, the relatively low investment requirement and the stability of that investment make the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) one of the world’s most appealing.
Demetrios Papademetriou of the Migration Policy Institute describes the QIIP as ‘among the most generous’ of the world’s investment programs, particularly among top tier nations.
He is not surprised that investors opt for Canada despite similar schemes in the USA, the UK, France and Australia.
QIIP saw a record 5,000 investors given permanent residency in 2015, surpassing the previous high of 4,436 in 2012. In 2014, 3,669 immigrants were accepted. Projections suggest 2016 will also see more than 5,000 candidates awarded permanent residency, with 89 per cent of those coming from Asia.
The program asks for an investment of $800,000 in a government bond over five years and a personal net worth of a minimum $1.6 million. In return successful candidates get permanent residency, which offers access to Canada’s social support network and the right to live anywhere in the country.
By contrast, the American EB-5 is the only one that is cheaper, but the $500,000 investment requirement has to be made without financing in often-risky, start-up projects which can fail and candidates can lose their investment and their residency.
TIER 1 Program Comparatives
|Program||Investment requirement (CAD in brackets)||Notes|
|New Zealand||$1.5m ($1.4m)|
QIIP is controversial within Canada because many of the investors choose to live in Vancouver or Toronto, despite stating their intention to settle in Quebec as part of the application process.
The high-net worth candidates, mainly from China, are being blamed for the inflated housing markets in the two cities.
Canada’s federal government has little power to act on this for two reasons, first that Quebec has power over its own immigration policies as part of a 1991 agreement, and second that free mobility for permanent residents is an integral part of the Canadian constitution.
A federal program similar to QIIP was abolished by the previous Conservative government in 2014. If the Liberals moved to modify an unsuccessful updated version of this program, the problem of where the applicants settle and who gets the financial benefit would be resolved.
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