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Quebec Business Immigrant Programs

Candidates may be eligible to apply under one of three business immigration categories:

  • Entrepreneur Program
  • Investor Program
  • Self-Employed Worker Program

1. Entrepreneur Program

To be eligible for this program, you must meet the following conditions:

Stream 1

  • You must present your business project in the form of a business plan, as well as a service offer. (Must be Writing in French)
  • You must obtain, by the prescribed deadline, an attestation of learning about democratic values and the Québec values. The members of your family accompanying you (your spouse of 16 years of age or older and your dependent children of 18 years of age or older) must also obtain the attestation.

Under the Entrepreneur Program, Stream 1, there is no list of support organizations, i.e. business incubators, business accelerators and university entrepreneurship centres authorized to support entrepreneur applicants under this stream and their project, nor are there any regulated criteria intended to recognize these organizations.

Nevertheless, to assist you with the procedure, you can consult a list of projects from business incubators, business accelerators, and university entrepreneurship centres, supported by the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, for information.

A business incubator, a business accelerator or university entrepreneurship centre that wants to support an entrepreneur applicant and his/her project must meet the appropriate definition:

  • A “business accelerator” is an organization with an establishment in Québec that offers support services, particularly for finding financing, to people whose business projects are aimed at the growth of innovative companies;
  • A “university entrepreneurship centre” is an organization managed by an academic institution referred to in Section 1 of the Act Respecting Educational Institutions at the University Level (chapter E-14.1), or an organization affiliated with such an institution and that provides mentoring services to entrepreneurs;
  • A “business incubator” is an organization with an establishment in Québec that offers mentoring services, including hosting, to, people whose business projects are aimed at the creation of innovative businesses.

The organization must demonstrate its ability to support the applicant and his/her project.

To this end, it must write a service offer in which it presents the services it intends to offer the entrepreneur to accomplish his/her project. The support organization must also present:

  • The proposed support plan (list and description of services that it plans to offer the applicant to carry out the project);
  • The operation plan (detailed budget for the service offer and the schedule for carrying out the support activities, i.e. the services offered);
  • Its expertise as a business accelerator, business incubator or university entrepreneurship centre (its skills and achievements in relation to the entrepreneur’s project).

As stipulated in the Service Offer Writing Guide – Entrepreneurs Program – Component 1, the purpose of the service offer is to assess the adequacy between the business project presented by the immigration applicant and the organization’s ability to support its implementation. The resources deployed by the support organization must be sufficient and adapted to meet the needs related to carrying out the entrepreneur’s project.

Note that even if you have already launched your business project in Québec, you may still be eligible for the Entrepreneur Program, as long as the project is not yet fully implemented. However, you will still have to observe all of the Program’s rules, which include presenting a business plan and meeting the financial requirements.

Stream 2

  • You must settle in Québec to create or acquire and operate a business.
  • You must make a startup deposit and a security deposit at a financial institution with an establishment in Québec with whom you have signed a deposit agreement:
    • You must use the startup deposit to set up your business. The required amount is lower (CAD $200,000) if you set up your business outside the Montréal metropolitan area (CMM). A startup deposit of CAD $300,000 is required if the business is located in the CMM.
    • The security deposit of CAD $200,000 serves as insurance that your business will actually be created. It will be refunded when you demonstrate that your business plan has been carried out.
  • You must also have a minimum net worth of CAD $900,000, alone or with your spouse or de facto spouse, and you must demonstrate that this money has been legally acquired.
  • You must present your project in the form of a business plan.
  • You must obtain, by the prescribed deadline, an attestation of learning about democratic values and the Québec values. The members of your family accompanying you (your spouse of 16 years of age or older and your dependent children of 18 years of age or older) must also obtain the attestation.
  • If you choose to create a business, you must own and control at least 25% of its equity capital. If you choose to acquire a business, you must own and control at least 51% of its equity capital.
  • Your business must not be involved in any of the following activities:
    • Payday loans, cheque cashing, or pawnbroking
    • Real estate development or real estate or insurance brokerage
    • Production, distribution, or sale of pornographic or sexually explicit products or services related to the sex industry, such as nude or erotic dancing, escort services or erotic massages
  • Your business
    • Must have been in operation during the five years prior to your date of application

It is the responsibility of the entrepreneur applying under stream 2 to find a financial institution in Québec to make the startup deposits and security deposits. No such agreement has been signed between the Ministère and financial institutions. Financial transactions pertaining to the startup deposits and security deposits must be carried out according to the terms and conditions defined by the financial institution chosen.

The Québec Immigration Regulation defines a financial institution as a “bank having an establishment in Québec that is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation and that is governed by Bank Act (S.C. 1991, c. 46) or a financial services cooperative within the meaning of the Act respecting financial services cooperatives (chapter C-67.3)”.

Please note that you cannot acquire a business purchased, in the five years prior to submitting your selection application, from an immigrant selected as an entrepreneur under the program.

Your application will also be assessed on the basis of other factors and criteria including:

  • your age
  • your level of education
  • your French and English language skills
  • your financial self-sufficiency
  • your visits to Québec
  • your family in Québec

Note that even if you have already launched your business project in Québec, you may still be eligible for the Entrepreneur Program, as long as the project is not yet fully implemented. However, you will still have to observe all of the Program’s rules, which include presenting a business plan and meeting the financial requirements.

2. Investor Program

To be eligible for the Investor Program, you must:

  • Have, alone or with your accompanying spouse or de facto spouse, legally acquired net assets of at least C$2,000,000, excluding any amounts received by donation less than six months before your application is submitted
  • Have management experience for at least two years in the five years preceding the application for selection. This experience must include duties related to the planning, management and control of financial, human or material resources under your authority. This does not include experience acquired in an apprenticeship, training or specialization leading to a diploma
  • Intend to settle in Québec
  • Sign an investment agreement with a financial intermediary (broker or trust company) authorized to participate in the Investor Program
  • Make a five-year term investment of C$1,200,000 with Investissement Québec – Immigrants Investisseurs Inc.
  • Obtain, by the prescribed deadline, an attestation of learning about democratic values and the Québec values. The members of your family accompanying you (your spouse of 16 years of age or older and your dependent children of 18 years of age or older) must also obtain the attestation.

Your application will also be assessed on other factors, such as your age, education and language skills.

What happened after 5 years?

At the end of the five-year term, the broker or trust company will reimburse the applicant C$1,200,000 without interest, within 30 days. However, the amount reimbursed may vary if the applicant secured financing for the investment.

3. Self-Employed Work Program

To be eligible for this program, you must:

  • Come to Québec to practice a profession or business activities, alone or with others, with or without paid help
  • Make a start-up deposit at a financial institution located in the region where you intend to practise your trade or profession:
    • C$25,000 start-up deposit if you intend to practise your trade or profession outside the Montréal Metropolitan Community (MMC) area
    • C$50,000 start-up deposit if you intend to practise your trade or profession in the MMC area
  • Have minimum net assets of C$100,000 in conjunction, if applicable, with your accompanying spouse or de facto spouse, and proof of its source and lawful acquisition
  • Have at least two years of experience as a self-employed worker in the profession or trade you intend to practise in Québec
  • Obtain, by the prescribed deadline, an attestation of learning about democratic values and the Québec values. The members of your family accompanying you (your spouse of 16 years of age or older and your dependent children of 18 years of age or older) must also obtain the attestation.

Note that even if you have already launched your career project in Québec, you may still be eligible for the Self-Employed Worker Program, as long as the project has not yet been fully implemented. However, you will still have to observe all of the Program’s rules, which include meeting the financial requirements.

Your application will also be assessed on other factors and criteria, such as:

  • Your age and the age of your spouse or de facto spouse, if applicable
  • Your level of education and that of your spouse or de facto spouse, if applicable
  • Your language skills in French and English and those of your spouse or de facto spouse, if applicable
  • Your financial self-sufficiency
  • Your visits to Québec
  • Your family in Québec

Important!

If you wish to practise a regulated profession or trade in Québec as a self-employed worker, you must contact the competent regulatory body in Québec as soon as possible. You must familiarize yourself with the conditions and take the steps required to obtain legal authorization from that regulatory body to practise your profession or trade in Québec.

A diploma or licence obtained outside Québec does not automatically confer the right to practise a regulated profession or trade in Québec.

In addition, to practise a profession governed by a professional order in Québec, you must pass a French language examination if you cannot provide proof that you have an appropriate knowledge of French, in accordance with Section 35 of the Charter of the French Language (chapter C-11)

If you are a self-employed worker and you do not meet the conditions of the Self-Employed Worker Program, check if you qualify for the Regular Skilled Worker Program. See Permanent workers – Requirements of the Québec Immigration Program for Skilled Workers.

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