According to an update on the Immigration Québec website, applications for the Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ – Québec Selection Certificate) under the Investors Program, Entrepreneurs Program, and Self-Employed Workers Program will be suspended from April 1, 2018 to August 15, 2018.
Although the Canadian government suspended its Federal Immigrant Investor Program (FIIP) permanently in 2014, the Québec provincial government still provides a route to Canadian residency through its own programs.
The Québec government cannot offer visas on the behalf of the central government, but instead provides investors and entrepreneurs with a Québec Selection Certificate. Once successful applicants obtain a CSQ, it can be converted into permanent residency limited to Québec.
Québec is currently working to overhaul and modernize its immigration programs, favoring those “persons who have the best chances of integrating into the Québec labour market”. The new system puts a priority on candidates under the Regular Skilled Workers program and will briefly sideline investment migration applicants.
Based on information elsewhere on the government website, it appears that economic migration applications have been paused to expedite a backlog of pending applications:
“The rules regarding the maximum number of applications received do not reflect a change in Québec’s immigration. By limiting the number of applications received, the Ministère is able to process a greater number of pending applications and reduce processing times.”
Québec is expecting to admit between 49,000 and 53,000 immigrants in 2018. Of this figure, the Québec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) has an annual cap of 1,000 applications (the cap is waived if an applicant speaks French) and the Regular Skilled Worker Program has a quota of 5,000 applications.
To qualify for QIIP, investors must demonstrate provable, legally obtained assets of at least $1.6 million CAN. Once applicants meet the criteria for the program, they are then eligible to apply for a CSQ. The QIIP application window is already limited to several months out of the year, so a further suspension on CSQ applications is sure to increase an already long wait for the program’s candidates.