MONTRÉAL, June 27, 2011 - The Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities, Kathleen Weil, and the Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, Clément Gignac, today announced an agreement between the Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés culturelles (MICC) and Investissement Québec that will shortly speed up the processing of immigration requests and boost the spinoffs of the Immigrant Investor Program.
"Québec's Immigrant Investor Program is an excellent program. Québec needs to remain competitive on the international stage to attract these immigrants, and this agreement is a key factor in increasing our capacity to process their files quickly. The Immigrant Investor Program is very beneficial for Québec, in terms of both economic development and helping new arrivals find employment. Last December we raised the amount of the necessary investment from $400,000 to $800,000 and the required net assets from $800,000 to $1.6 million," said Kathleen Weil.
This agreement, which has a three-year term, focuses on combining expertise and complementary strengths: Investissement Québec will analyze the candidates' files and the MICC will make the final selection. The MICC will remain in charge of the Immigrant Investor Program and will be responsible for the final decisions.
Every year, the investments made by immigrant investors under this program generate several million dollars of support for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Québec, among other things. In 2010, SMEs benefited from close to $65 million in financing; the amounts authorized over the last five years total more than $280 million.
"The exceptional results of the Immigrant Investor Program have helped us support the growth of Québec's SMEs, and business demand under this program has been rising in recent years. Today's announcement means that we will be able to boost investments without recourse to more public funding, creating more jobs in all regions of Québec," added Clément Gignac.
"Investissement Québec is happy to be able to make an even bigger contribution to the Immigrant Investor Program's effectiveness. In particular, the agreement will make it possible to substantially increase the financial contributions paid to Québec businesses," noted Jacques Daoust, President and Chief Executive Officer of Investissement Québec.
The Immigrant Investor Program also funds the Employment Integration Program for Immigrants and Visible Minorities (PRIIME). Every year, approximately 1,000 people get their first experience of the Québec job market in their own trade or occupation under this program, and more than 80% remain employed after the wage subsidy ends. "Thanks to the new financial requirements of the Immigrant Investor Program and the new partnership between the MICC and Investissement Québec, we will be able to allocate more funds to PRIIME, a strategic program that delivers concrete results," concluded Kathleen Weil.
Applications for immigration to Québec by immigrant investor candidates have grown steadily in recent years. Between 2005 and 2009, applications rose by more than 80%. In 2010, the volume of applications was even greater after the federal government stopped accepting applications last fall.
The agreement is scheduled to come into force in late 2011.
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Office of the Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities
Office of the Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade
Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés culturelles
1 866 870-0437