Davies Immigration Law helps foreign national business owners immigrate to Quebec through the Quebec Entrepreneur Program. This program was developed by the National Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec. It is intended for entrepreneurs with experience who want to purchase or develop a business in Quebec.

Approved applicants are given the ability to live in Quebec as permanent residents of Canada, while simultaneously earning a living for their families and themselves. As long as approved applicants adhere to the business immigration rules in Quebec, foreign national entrepreneurs can also establish a favourable position where they are able to eventually apply for citizenship in Canada.

Business immigration to Quebec starts with submitting an application and being selected to participate in the Quebec Entrepreneur Program by the Government of Quebec. Approved applicants are issued a CSO (“Certificat de Sélection du Quebec”) or “Quebec Selection Certificate”.

Once the appliance receives this certificate, they then submit their application for Canadian permanent residence to the Government of Canada. This application has to be approved by CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada). Once approved, the application can move to Quebec immediately. Four years after being approved for Canadian permanent residence, the applicant and their family are able to apply for Canadian citizenship, granted they have satisfied all of the requirements of the Quebec Entrepreneur Program.

The Government of Quebec established a cap to the number of Quebec Entrepreneur Program immigration applications they will accept annually. For the 2017 and 2018 intake periods, this capacity was reached very quickly with a huge number of applicants.

After submitting an application to the Quebec Entrepreneur Program, completing all the necessary steps in order to be approved to live in Quebec as a permanent resident in Canada can take between 18 to 24 months.

Please keep in mind it is highly recommended to complete as many of the necessary requirements for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program prior to applying to the program. Since the program fills up quickly, completely requirements ahead of applying could increase the likelihood of being approved faster.

Components of the Quebec Entrepreneur Program

To participate in the Quebec Entrepreneur Program, you can start or purchase a business in Quebec. You could also be eligible for the program if you previously started or purchased a business in Quebec.

Start or Purchase a Business in Quebec

A Quebec Entrepreneur Program applicant can either propose to start or purchase a new business. Their business proposal needs to establish the following:

  • The business being started or purchased is agricultural, industrial (manufacturing) or commercial (retail sales).
  • The business will be operated or is in Quebec.
  • The value of the capital equity in the business is worth at least $100,000 CAD.
  • The applicant controls a minimum of 25% of the capital equity in the business either solely or with their spouse or common law partner.
  • The applicant participates on a daily basis in the management of the business or as an operations and management partner.

Previous Acquisition of aQuebec Business

Foreign national immigrants may also submit their application if they previously acquired a business in Quebec. Their business proposal needs to establish the following:

  • The business was not acquired within the past five years by another applicant participating in the Quebec Entrepreneur Program.
  • The business is agricultural, industrial or commercial.
  • The business is located in Quebec.
  • The applicant has an invested value of $100,000 CAD in capital equity in the business.
  • The applicant participates daily in the management or as an operations and management partner.
  • The applicant controls a minimum of 25% of the capital equity in the business either solely or with their spouse or common law partner.

Eligibility for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program

Interested foreign nationals can be eligible to submit an application for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program if they are able to satisfy these two key components:

1. Proof the applicant owns adequate assets to participate in the program.
2. Proof the applicant has experience in the operation and management of a business.

Assets

Quebec Entrepreneur Program Visa applications need to establish they personally own assets that have a minimum net value of $300,000 CAD. They must also prove the assets were acquired legally. The applicant can be required to submit documentation to support the legitimacy of the assets to assure the Quebec Entrepreneur Program immigration authorities.

If the application intends to bring their spouse or common law partner with them to Quebec, the assets used to apply to the program can be:

  • Owned by you individually.
  • Owned by your spouse or common law partner.
  • Own jointly between you and your spouse or common law partner.

In addition, you have to demonstrate to immigration authorities, you have sufficient liquid assets to cover the first three months of living expenses in Quebec for residency in Canada.

Business Management and Operations Experience

Applicants need a minimum of two years of business management and operations experience for a profitable and legal small business. The two years of experience has to have occurred within the previous five years to the date the application for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program is submitted.

Management and operations experience in any legal business in agricultural, industrial or commercial is sufficient. Additionally, the applicant needs to prove they had at least a 25% control of the capital equity in the business during the two year period either individually or together with their spouse or common law partner.

Experience, according to the Quebec Entrepreneur Program requirements is defined that the applicant’s full time job duties included:

  • Control and management of business finances.
  • Being responsible for the management of human resources, including hiring, firing, and approving changes to employee salaries.
  • Business planning.
  • Control and management of materials used by the business.

These job duties must have been a part of the actual position held by the application, not job duties that were assigned to them as either part of a job training program or apprenticeship. The applicant must have performed these duties daily, during their normal working hours.

The more years of expertise in business operations and management the applicant has, the more likely their Quebec Entrepreneur Program application will receive favourable consideration.

If you are interest in learning more about the Quebec Entrepreneur Program for 2019, please feel free to contact Davies Immigration Law for a confidential consultation.

Quebec Business Immigration Assessment

The Quebec Entrepreneur Program immigration authorities will take into account the applicant’s ability to satisfy the aforementioned criteria, along with the following:

  • Relevant training and education.
  • Knowledge of Quebec.
  • The quality of the business proposal plan.
  • Age of the applicant.
  • Personal character and qualities of the applicant.
  • Ties to Quebec.
  • Proficiency in English and French languages (see below for more information).

The immigration authorities reviewing the application assign point values to each selection factor. They compare the points scored in each section to a selection matrix to determine whether the applicant is deemed eligible to be a participant in the Quebec Entrepreneur Program. If the immigration authorities determine an applicant is eligible, they will be contacted to schedule a selection interview.

Language Proficiency for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program

As part of the immigration application process, applicants should submit the results of English and French language skill evaluations and examination. Only testing and evaluations which have been conducted by sources accepted by Immigration Quebec will be accepted. Other adult family members who will be living in Quebec are also able to be evaluated.

Language proficiency evaluations consist of standardized exams in English and French. The exam evaluate the applicant’s ability to read, write, and speak the language. In order to earn points for language proficiency, the application needs to complete the appropriate exams, regardless if the applicant is already a native speak of French or English.

The exams should be completed no more than two years prior to the date the applicant submits their application to the Quebec Entrepreneur Program. The exam results should be enclosed with the application.

The only English exam that Immigration Quebec accepts is the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Immigration officials can only accept English exam results from IELTS approved testing centres.

Immigration authorities will accept French exam results which was administered by either the CIEP (Centre international d’études pédagogiques) or the CCIP-IDF (Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris Île-de-France) and includes the following French exams:

CIEP French Diplomas:

  • Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF)
  • Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF)

CIEP French Exams:

  • Test de connaissance du français (TCF)
  • Test de connaissance du français pour le Québec (TCF-Québec)

CCIP-IDF French Exams:

  • Test d’évaluation du français (TEF)
  • Test d’évaluation du français adapté pour le Québec (TEFAQ)
  • Test d’évaluation du français pour le Canada (TEF Canada)

IELTS, CCIP-IDF and CIEP approved organizations do have internet sites which list approved testing centre locations throughout Canada and abroad.

The assessment process will award a maximum number of points for proficiency in English and French. Applicants must have exam results which show a minimum of intermediate to advanced intermediate proficiency.

While applicants are not required to submit language proficiency exam results, they will not receive any points for language proficiency during their application assessment unless they enclose them with their application. Failing to submit exam results could effectively impair an applicant’s ability to secure a Selection Certificate.

While language proficiency exam results for family members may also be submitted with the application, they are given less weight, but are still taking into consideration during the assessment process. As such, it is highly recommended that all adult family members complete the appropriate examinations for at least one language.

However, French or English language proficiency in not a mandatory requirement of the Quebec Entrepreneur Program. It is possible to still be approved for a Selection Certificate, even if the application does not speak either French or English.

Selection Interview for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program

After the assessment process, if the applicant is deemed eligible for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program, they will be scheduled for a selection interview. During the interview, the applicant will need to arrive prepared to explain, discuss, and defend their business plan proposal to Quebec immigration authorities. Applicants are allowed to bring an interpreter to the selection interview if they require assistance.

The selection interview is conducted by a Quebec immigration counselor. Aside from confirming the information provided in the application, the in-person interview could focus on questions in other areas including:

  • The application’s ability to successfully carry out their business plan proposal.
  • Specific examples of the applicant’s experience in business operations and management, as well as an entrepreneur.
  • What efforts the applicant has already taken to start or purchase a business in Quebec.
  • The source of the assets reported on the application and proof of legal ownership of said assets.

The entire selection interview normally can last between one and two hours. At the conclusion of the interview, the immigrant counselor may inform the applicant immediately whether their application will be approved or denied.

In some cases, the immigration counselor may require more time before making a decision. If this is the case, the interviewer will issue a letter of intent, which means the application needs to supply additional supporting documentation. Otherwise, if the additional documentation is not received, the application will be denied. Immigration counselors will give the application 90 days to supply the requested documents.

How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved

There are specific things applicants can do if they meet the aforementioned minimum criteria discussed above to improve their chances of being approved for a Selection Certificate through the Quebec Entrepreneur Program. These include:

  • Schedule a market visit to Quebec.
  • Propose to purchase or start a business in a related or similar industry to that which the applicant has already operated and managed successfully.
  • Take language proficiency classes to improve English or French.
  • Get assistance from a profession to prepare a detailed business plan proposal.
  • Obtain references from Government officials or other business professionals in the applicant’s country.
  • Obtain references from business professionals in Quebec.
  • Obtain and complete specialized business training and education coursework.

Two important keys to Quebec Entrepreneur Program application success are:

1. Scheduling a market visit to Quebec.
2. Developing a detailed business plan proposal.

Davies Immigration Law professionally works closely with our prospective applicants through every step of the Quebec Entrepreneur Program application process to help increase the likelihood of having their applications approved.

Business Plan Proposal for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program

Part of the application and selection interview processes are sharing a business plan proposal. Your proposal should make it very clean what type of business you are purchasing or starting, along with the following information:

  • How do you plan on funding the business?
  • How do you plan on operating the business?
  • What success do you project for the business?
  • How will this success be achieved?

In addition to answering these questions, the business plan proposal should incorporate answers to all the questions you answered during your market visit to Quebec.

If you want to create a successful business plan for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program, it should include a detailed market study containing information about any competitors and which customers you intend to target. Lastly, you will want to prepare and include an operations budgets which shows projected expenses and revenues.

If you are not expecting to earn a profit during your first year of operations, your plan should explain how you intend to cover your business expenses until the business becomes profitable. It is important to be realistic when estimating and projecting expenses and profits.

An overly optimistic projection will not influence the Quebec immigration officials who review your application and make the selection interview decisions. It is better to take a more conservative approach when making estimates, along with providing the basis used to make your estimated earnings and expenses.

Scheduling a Market Visit

It is highly recommended to conduct extensive market research by scheduling a market visit to Quebec prior to submitting your application to the Quebec Entrepreneur Program. During your visit, you will want to obtain answers to these questions:

  • What is your target audience (customers) for your products?
  • How will you market your business to attract customers?
  • What other businesses in Quebec would be considered competitors?
  • Where is the best physical location for your business in Quebec?
  • What real estate opportunities are there to rent or purchase a space for your business?
  • Are there suppliers of the resources you need to conduct business in Quebec?
  • What is the market demand for the products you intend to sell?
  • What is the current size of the market?
  • What could you do to make your business stand out from the competition?
  • What resources will you need to acquire to operate a successful business?
  • How much will it cost to acquire the necessary resources?
  • Will you need to hire skilled employees and are the employees you require in Quebec?
  • Are there any regulations or laws which would apply to your business?
  • How much will you need to pay your employees based on the current prevailing wage?
  • What transportation infrastructure will be available to help support your business?

While you might be able to answer some of these questions through internet research or utilizing the services of aQuebec business consultant or qualified Quebec immigration lawyer, it is still recommended you make an actual visit to Quebec to verify and obtain answers to these questions.

An actual visit could help you gain insight to vital information you may otherwise be unaware or overlook. Your visit also enables you the establish contacts who could be essential to purchasing or starting your business once your application is approved.

Furthermore, making an actual visit to Quebec demonstrates to the Quebec immigration interviewer you are taking the appropriate steps to be successful if you are selected to participate in the Quebec Entrepreneur Program.

Davies Immigration Law’s professionals help our prospective immigrants interested in the Quebec Entrepreneur Program plan and execute their market visit to Ottawa, Toronto, or any other city in Quebec.

How to Satisfy the Quebec Entrepreneur Program Requirements

After being approved and accepted into the Quebec Entrepreneur Program, there are specific requirements you must adhere to as follows:

1. Participate, on a daily basis, in the operation and management of the business.
2. Hire at least one full time employee, who works a minimum of 30 hours per work week. The employee must be a resident of Quebec and cannot be a member of your family. The only exception is if you operate an agricultural business, then you are exempt from this requirement.

You must complete both of these requirements and practice them for a period of at least one year (12 months) over the course of three years, after being granted Canadian permanent resident status.

If you are approved for aQuebec Entrepreneur Program immigrant visa, it is in your best interests to not delay on acquiring your business or starting it as soon as you arrive in Quebec. The process of purchasing or opening your business can proceed more quickly if you took the time to start the process during your market visit and developing your business plan proposal.

Retaining the services of a Davies Immigration Law and our partner law firm can help provide assistance with these process and verify you are compliant with the necessary transfer of ownership or opening a new business. In addition, you will need to register your business in Quebec and obtain the necessary licenses and other such documents to make it legal. We can advise you so you will fully understand what is required of you.

If you do not acquire a business or start one after receiving your visa to enter Canada and in the allowed time, you can be required to attend a removal hearing. Additionally, if you do not hire an employee full time or you are not fully active in the business or you decide to sell part or all of your minimum required 25% interest in the business, you could also be subject to a removal hearing.

A removal hearing is the government taking action to revoke your visa and require you to leave Canada. However, you can object to being deported during the hearing, if you can demonstrate you actually did comply with the conditions of your visa and the Quebec Entrepreneur Program.

Otherwise, the government could order your and any family members that were also granted visas to surrender those and leave Canada. As such, it is important to make sure you have laid the appropriate ground work to make complying with the program requirements as easy as possible.

Davies Immigration Law and our professionals can help you apply for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program. We can also assist you in demonstrating to the government and immigration officials you have completed all the necessary requirements.

How Does the Quebec Entrepreneur Program Help Quebec?

If you are approved for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program, you are allowed to move to any city within the province of Quebec under your Canadian permanent resident status. The Quebec Entrepreneur Program entices immigrants with the financial means to help develop businesses and contribute to Quebec’s economy. The Quebec government expects the immigrant’s business will provide employment opportunities for Canadian residents, as well as for the immigrant and their family members.

Is the Canada Entrepreneur Program an Option for Entry Into Canada?

The Canada Entrepreneur Program was discontinued and closed permanently. Now that this program is no longer an option for entrepreneurs, the only immigration programs available are those offered through individual provinces, like the Quebec Entrepreneur Program.

Another option available is through the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program. This program requires you to have a net worth of $1.6 million CAD with a planned investment of at least $800,000 CAD. If you are interested in immigrating to Ottawa, both the Quebec Entrepreneur Program and the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program are viable options. Another possible options for immigration to Quebec, is if you are a highly skilled worker or highly educated. Then you could apply through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program to secure your visa.

Other Important Quebec Immigration Information

If you are approved for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program and receive your Quebec Selection Certificate, you are eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada. Part of this application process does involved you and your family members passing security screenings and medical examinations. Your dependents, even if they are not going to reside in Canada full time, also need to complete a medical examination.

IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) provides a list of physicians authorized to conduct the medication examination and are located around the work. You must select one of the authorized physicians to conduct your medical examination. The results of your exam are submitted to the appropriate Canadian visa office. Upon receipt they are reviewed and a decision is made whether you failed or passed your medical exam.

The Quebec Entrepreneur Program is operated by the Quebec government. Securing a visa through the program affords many of the same entitlements one would receive through the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, like Canadian permanent residence. However, the primary difference is the Entrepreneur Program Visa is a conditional visa, which means you have to satisfy specific requirements, like actively participating in your business.

In addition, you are required to adhere to and follow all Canadian and Quebec laws, including city-specific laws. Before moving to Quebec, it is highly recommended to familiarize yourself with these laws. Furthermore, you will want to conduct research into housing costs and availability, which you could complete during your market visit to Quebec.

It is equally important to learn about utility costs, transportation options, schools, healthcare services and health insurance options to help you prepare a person budget so you know how much you will need for your monthly living expenses.

For further information about the Quebec Entrepreneur Program, Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, or Quebec Skilled Worker Program, please feel free to contact Davies Immigration Law for a confidential consultation today!