The trick is simple: a loan of$ 800,000 for a passport

News 13 March, 2018
  • Photo: Martin Knight
    Ottawa closed its program of immigrant investors in 2014, finding that he ” provided little economic benefit for the country.” But Quebec insists to keep his, even if the repercussions are almost non-existent

    Philippe Orfali

    Tuesday, 13 march 2018, 01:00

    Tuesday, 13 march 2018, 01:00

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    Nine immigrants in ten investors do will ever in Quebec even if they benefit from a program of Investissement Québec to get their canadian passport.

    The Program quebec immigrant investors is far to generate significant economic spin-offs in Quebec, because 90% of the participants are leaving the province to take up residence elsewhere in the country, reveals data compiled by Statistics Canada for The Journal.

    Nearly 1,900 foreign business people are admitted every year in the framework of this program, Investissement Québec. They must :

    • have at least $ 1.6 million of assets;
    • having ” the intention to settle in Quebec “;
    • loan of $ 800,000 without interest at Investissement Québec.

    From 1991 to 2016, 57 935 immigrants, mainly from China, have benefited from the program.

    Of the lot, only 6050 now live in Quebec. Vancouver and Toronto are hosting 46 000, or 80 %.

    Their revenues in the country are much lower than the canadian average, which suggests to experts that the essential part of their wealth is in their home country, escaping to the canadian tax authorities.

    A ” landing point “

    “Montreal is just one point of landing. […] Quebec gets his loan and all the costs are included in other canadian cities, ” says David Ley, University of British Columbia, expert of the program of immigrant investors in Canada and Quebec.

    Ottawa has closed its programme in 2014, because it ” had no economic benefits “, according to the government. However, Quebec insisted on his regrets, Mr. Ley.

    “It has been closed by the conservatives, that you can’t accuse it of being anti-business. The income of the people in Canada were so low that they do not contribute to economic growth, and this, while sending their children to school and using our health services. They also actively contribute to the spiralling costs of real estate in Vancouver and Toronto. “

    This reality has pushed the ex-prime minister of British Columbia, Christy Clark, to ask Quebec to change its program, for immigrant investors to ” spend and stay in Quebec “. In vain.

    The Conseil du patronat du Québec, which has produced a study on the program, is more nuanced. The program is flawed and must be reformed, believes the chief economist, Norma Kozhaya.

    Not that bad

    She said that she was “surprised” by the proportion of claimants who leave Quebec, but argued that those wealthy people contribute to the economy through their purchasing power. Their loan of $ 800,000 is big, ” she adds.

    It is true that Quebec has a no-interest loan of $ 5 billion. The income generated by the investments of the applicants are funding two programs to assist businesses.

    “If we demanded that they remain in Quebec or they buy a residence here, they would spend more, would start, perhaps, of the companies, would create jobs,” believes Ms. Kozhaya.

    More than$ 10 Million per year to manage the program

    Controversial and much maligned by the Western provinces, the program quebec immigrant investors has cost nearly $ 12 million to the Quebec government last year, show data obtained by The Newspaper. Much more than the old federal program, which served yet nine provinces and three territories.

    The costs related to the quebec program has continued to increase since 2012.

    Rising costs

    During this period, the costs of all kinds related to the programme have increased from 9.3 million to $ 11.8 million, according to data obtained under the Law of access to information.

    In comparison, for the rest of the country, the operating costs of the federal program were $ 5 million per year when it was abolished by the conservatives due to its inefficiency, in 2012.

    The vast majority of costs are attributable to salaries of persons employed by the ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion (MIDI) du Québec and Investissement Québec, in Québec and abroad.

    These funds are used is to analyse the applications submitted by the candidates of the quebec program of immigrant investors.

    An office in Hong Kong

    “These [employees] are required to verify the compliance of the standards of the programmes [sic], including the investment agreements and the legality of the funds that will be placed in Quebec,” says a spokesperson for the NOON in an exchange e-mail.

    The Immigration minister, David Heurtel, refused to grant an interview to the Newspaper.

    The costs are also attributable to the occupancy of premises in Hong Kong, the rent, the management and various administration costs, according to the ministry.

    The income generated by the investments of the candidate, of approximately $ 45 million per year, funded two initiatives to help businesses, in addition to cover all of the costs related to the management of the program.

    – With the collaboration of Marie-Christine Trottier

    Illustrations Fotolia

    The Program in figures

    57 935 people have benefited from the programme québécois since 1991

    10,4 % of them live today in Quebec

    21 856 $ : average total Income in Canada of the participants

    47 487 $ : average total Income of Canadians

    $12 million : Cost of the program for the government of Quebec

    $52 million : Paid per year on average in the program of immigrant investors for business support and assistance for the integration of immigrants in employment

    Sources : data compiled by Statistics Canada and the MIDI at the request of the Journal