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Program of immigrant investors: “a predicted failure”? /></p>
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<p class=The criteria for the Immigrant Investor Program were changed in 2023 by the Legault government and risk leading to a huge drop in the number of candidates.

  • Alexandre Duval (View profile)Alexandre Duval

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Did Quebec shoot itself in the foot with its reform of the Immigrant Investor Program? Experts predict that the new criteria imposed by the Legault government will cool off the majority of potential candidates, which will deprive the province of considerable capital.

C' is a predicted failure, says Me Maxime Lapointe, immigration lawyer. Since the reopening of the Immigrant Investor Program in Quebec on January 1, he says he has discussed this immigration route with some of his foreign clients. But there is no appetite, he laments.

Two factors are involved. On the one hand, Quebec has changed the investment rules. Until the program was paused in 2019, applicants were required to make a guaranteed $1.2 million investment with the provincial government before immigrating.

Now, the program not only requires applicants to take out a $1 million loan, but also make a $200,000 contribution that they can never get back.

A bad idea, according to certified investment manager Alex Côté.

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ELSELSE ON INFO: An index in French at 16 million dollars

Quebec is in competition with other territories that have similar programs and this idea of ​​a contribution increases the price of the program and therefore reduces its competitiveness, he says.

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Alex Côté, certified investment manager and certified immigration consultant in Quebec and Canada

On the other hand, as in its other economic immigration programs, Quebec now requires prior knowledge of French. However, the majority of potential immigrant investors are not French-speaking.

Are there too many French-speaking investors in Quebec? quips Alex Côté.

Even if Minister [of Immigration Christine] Fréchette says that there are 300 million Francophones on the planet, before the program was closed in 2019, we had at most 50 [Francophone] files per year At that time. Demand will be very limited, analyzes Me Lapointe.

We do not sense any international enthusiasm for this program. There are allophone candidates who could have learned French along the way.

A quote from Me Maxime Lapointe, immigration lawyer

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Me Maxime Lapointe, immigration lawyer

The ministry is aware that the introduction of new selection conditions will lead to a drop in the number of applications, acknowledges Gabriel Bélanger, spokesperson for the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI), by email. /p>

The objectives of the program reform are that the selected people speak French, that they establish themselves in Quebec and that they remain there, in order to contribute to its long-term economic development.

A quote from Gabriel Bélanger , spokesperson for the MIFI

However, the expected drop in the number of immigrant investors will have financial consequences for Quebec.

The interest generated by candidate placements serves two causes: financing the integration of immigrants into the labor market and subsidizing small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) projects in Quebec.

We must expect a drop of around 10 times in revenue, assesses Alex Côté, a significant drop since in 2019, a report from the firm Aviseo Conseil estimated at more than 1 billion dollars in 10 years the returns generated by the investments of the Immigrant Investor Program.

Of this money, 477 million was used to subsidize the investment projects of numerous SMEs Quebecois.

We saw around 400 or 450 SMEs benefiting from this financing solution, so if we divide the economic impact of the program by 10 times, we should expect that 40 to 45 SMEs would now be able to benefit from it.

A quote from Alex Côté, approved investment manager

The MIFI is, however, of the opinion that its new investment formula, with a contribution non-refundable amount of $200,000, will stabilize and maximize the amounts generated by the Immigrant Investor Program.

We will judge the tree by its fruits, says Alex Côté. There is still work to be done for this program to be up to par with Quebec society.

Since the latest multi-year planning of the immigration presented last November by Minister Christine Fréchette only targets the years 2024 and 2025, Mr. Côté believes that the government will be able to rectify the situation for the future. I am of the opinion that this will be necessary.

Before being paused in November 2019, MIFI received 1,746 applications in the Immigrant Investor Program. In 2018, he received 973.

That year, however, a report from Enquête raised the veil on the flaws of the program, whose retention rate of immigrant investors in Quebec only reached 17.9% between 2006 and 2015.

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