How to obtain permanent residency in Canada through investment


Authored by Nava Elmi, Owner and Manager of Nava Elmi Immigration Law Firm Professional Corporation, a law firm focused on Canadian business immigration for entrepreneurs and investors.

The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) has been one of Canada’s preferred immigration programs for businesspeople since 1986.

The province of Quebec has just reopened its investor program, the only one in Canada. The other business immigration programs are for entrepreneurs ready to open and actively operate a business in Canada. Therefore, the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program is currently the only passive investment program in Canada.

This program allows investors to obtain permanent residence in Canada by investing $1.2 million Canadian dollars without risk through or by financing this investment through a financial intermediary.


Through this program, the province of Quebec:

  • subsidizes its businesses,
  • funds the integration of immigrants by subsidizing Programme d’Aide à l’Intégration des Immigrants et des Minorités Visibles en Emploi (PRIIME), and
  • increases the number of business people who speak French in Quebec.


Much faster processing times

This latest version of the program brings a key difference compared to its previous version: the applicant, as well as his family, can settle in Quebec as soon as their work permit is accepted, while awaiting the processing of their permanent residence application. Previously, applicants had to wait to obtain permanent residence, which could take years before they could settle down and start a life in Canada.

The province of Quebec as well as the federal government seem to have understood that in order to attract investors, processing times previously of three years which then increased to five years, must be much more competitive. The province has therefore introduced a work permit allowing the applicant to quickly settle in Quebec and the government has emptied its inventory, which means that all new files submitted under this program will be processed very quickly; we estimate between 4 and 9 months to obtain acceptance from the province, proceed with the investment and then apply for a work permit. Once Quebec residency requirement is met, the Quebec Selection Certificate  application takes between 2 and 4 weeks and permanent residency at the federal level should take less than a year. The processing times remain approximate and we are waiting for the federal government, responsible for processing the permanent residence application, to finally publish its processing times in view of this new version of the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program.

A qualifying language requirement

Although the program provides important advantages which we detail below, it is worth highlighting another important difference compared to the previous version of the program: this program is only aimed at French speakers who can demonstrate a minimum B1 level in listening and speaking. In other words, Quebec only wants to attract applicants with a significant net worth who are proficient in French before even submitting the application, leaving all other high net worth individuals who could also add great value to the Province, out.

While drafting this new version of the program, discussions were leading towards requesting a French language test only after having resided at least one year in Quebec, which would have given applicants the opportunity to practice their French in a predominantly French-speaking environment prior to passing the language test. By imposing a B1 level in French which corresponds to an intermediate level, Quebec strongly limits the number of applicants eligible to apply under this program.


  • Willingness to settle in the province of Quebec, the predominantly French-speaking province of Canada.
  • Have at least 2 years of experience as an owner or senior manager within the last 5 years.
  • Net worth: $2,000,000 CAD. You can share this net worth with your accompanying spouse. You must be able to demonstrate the lawful source of the accumulation of this net worth. Note that if you have received gifts in the 6 months preceding the submission of the application, these gifts cannot be included in the net worth.
  • Investment: 2 options:
    • $1.2M CAD ($1M investment without interest + $200,000 donation to the province of Quebec). The $1M is refunded after 5 years by the province of Quebec without interest – OR
    • Finance the investment which will equal to $550,000 CAD. This is a non-refundable amount which includes the $200,000 donation to the province of Quebec.
  • Have a high school diploma.
  • French proficiency: intermediate (a French language test is required).
  • After your work permit is approved, you must reside in Quebec for 12 months (6 months must be completed by the applicant, and the other 6 months can be completed by the spouse). Residence for 12 months in Quebec is mandatory before we can apply for your permanent residency.


  • Your lawyer will analyze your eligibility
  • Verification of your documents, including numerous financial documents to confirm the amount and legitimate source of the accumulation of your net worth
  • Submission of the application to the Government of Quebec
  • We prepare you to the interview with an Immigration Officer
  • Interview
  • Acceptance
  • Investment (see two options outlined above)
  • We will then receive a letter of support from the province allowing us to apply for a 3 year work permit for you, as well as a work permit for your spouse and study permits for your children valid for the same duration
  • Within 2 years from the date of issuance of this work permit, accumulate 12 months of physical residence in Quebec; 6 months can be completed by your spouse
  • Once the residency requirement is met, we can apply for permanent residence.


  • Fast Processing: You can be in Canada with your family in approximately 1 year and then remain in Canada until your permanent residency is approved.
  • Family Included in the Application: Your spouse and children aged 22 and under can be included in the application.
  • Permanent Resident Status: Enjoy the same benefits as Canadians except the right to vote (universal healthcare, free public education, access to world-class universities, etc.).
  • Passive Investment: It is the ONLY passive investment immigration program in Canada. Canadian status is not conditional on starting or managing a business in Canada.
  • Risk-Free Investment: The investment is guaranteed by the Quebec government, meaning that the $1M will be 100% refunded. After 5 years, the province will reimburse you the $1M CAD without interest within 30 days of the 5 years anniversary of your investment.
  • Financing Available: You can finance a smaller portion of the investment requirement in the form of a non-refundable deposit.
  • Only 6 Months of Residence: Apart from the 12 months of residence in Quebec, of which 6 months can be completed by your spouse, you can spend the rest of the time outside Canada.
  • Option to Work or Not: You will be issued a work permit that will allow you to either work or not in Quebec. You can work for yourself, work for any employer in Quebec, or not work at all.
  • Safe and Stable Environment: Canada is known for its safe and stable living conditions, providing peace of mind to immigrants and their families.
  • Quality Education: Quebec has an excellent education system with prestigious schools and universities, offering exceptional learning opportunities.
  • Access to Healthcare: Residents benefit from high-quality healthcare, ensuring well-being and quality of life.
  • Business Opportunities: Quebec’s flourishing economy and diverse industries present promising business prospects and economic growth.

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