BY Kunle Aderinokun
For desirous individuals seeking second citizenship in Canada, there is no need to wait or dilly dally as the Quebec Immigrant Investor Programme (QIIP) opens on May 30, 2016.
Although, the programme is intended to remain open until February 28, 2017, it would close as soon as the target of 1,900 applications, including up to 1,330 from Chinese passport holders is reached.
The programme had closed January 29, 2016, just two months before March 31, 2016, the end of the Quebec government financial year, which opens on April 1 of every year. Consequently, however, on March 29, 2016, Quebec’s Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion (MIDI) announced that the QIIP will reopen on May 30, 2016 until February 28, 2017 – or earlier if maximum quota is met.
QIIP is targeted at experienced managers who have a net worth of at least 1,600,000 CA$ and who are interested in making a passive investment of 800,000 CA$ (financing option is available) guaranteed by Quebec government through an authorised broker. In return, selection by Quebec as an immigrant investor leads to permanent resident status in Canada for applicants and their families, the first step towards Canadian citizenship.
Why is it important not to wait? In January, 2016, the Quebec Bar expressed concerns about a possible lack of procedural fairness in the Quebec selection process. Through a request for access to information, the Quebec Bar was able to obtain the number of selection certificate applications from qualified workers and investors that were refused by Quebec between 2010 and 2014. It found that the majority of refusal were based on a lack of proper documentation, not because people did not provide the documents requested but rather because these documents did not meet the MIDI very strict requirements.
Very few specalised immigration lawyers have experience in assisting in the complex and important immigration processes.
One of the few specialised immigration services that have carved a niche for itself is JTH Lawyers Ltd, a Canada-based firm, which offers full-range of services to high net worth individuals (HNWI), seeking to acquire foreign nationality for themselves and their family.
Led by Mr. Julien Tétrault, a Québec lawyer and former President of the Immigrant Investor section of Québec Lawyers Abroad, JTH Lawyers runs QIIP, established in 1986, which is one of its three programmes that are considered the most attractive to Nigerian HNWI. The others are the US EB5 (operational since 1992) and the Antigua and Barbuda programmes.
According to Tetrault, “Canada was one of the very first countries back in 1986 to open immigration to business owners and top managers, in spite of the usual criteria of age, language and education. Thirty years later, the Quebec Immigrant Investor Programme is still one of the most sought after destination for HNWI as they understand Canada is a fine stable, peaceful country with one of the best education and medical system in the world.
“Whether for their own ease of travel without visa, for children education and future, reasons are many but they come down to a common factor: the highest level of expertise, and highest level of trust.”
“I hope the trend continues, but I hear fewer stories about scammers: I think people are now more cautious about who they retain for their immigration matters. As an experienced Quebec lawyer, I have had the chance to earn a solid reputation in Nigeria for the last 10 years, and I am always happy when potential clients ask me for credentials. I am also happy to see that despite the current challenges of Nigeria economy, people still see the long term interest in getting has helped over 1 000 business people and their families from over 60 countries obtain permanent residence in North America (Québec, Canada and the USA),” he added.
As part of the benefits of pursuing QIIP, Tetrault pointed out that, “Quebec offers the possibility for you and for your children to learn another language, a very useful tool in this day and age. Children will have access to a world class education system that is free until college level.
You will save about 30 000 CA$ per child at the university level.
Contributing to a high quality of life, crime rate is low in Quebec and housing is affordable. Prices in Montreal are significantly lower than in Toronto and Vancouver for instance. “