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08 April, 2021

Canada extends freeze on citizenship by investment program for two more years

Canada will not resume accepting applications for the Quebec Citizenship Investment Program until April 1, 2023. Here's why the program has been suspended and how else investors can get Canadian citizenship.

Canadian Citizenship: Quebec suspended investment program
Photo: Adobe Stock

The government is suspending the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program for the third consecutive time. Applications were first frozen in November 2019 for seven months to review a backlog of investor applications.

In May 2020, Immigration Canada announced that the program would not resume until April 2021. The decision is documented in Immigration, Francisation and Integration Order 2020-001.

In March 2021, the ministry again extended the freeze on the program for two more years. The official reason was that investors were moving from Quebec to other regions of the country, which violated the terms of the program.

In 2023, the Government of Canada will have to decide what to do with the program next: resume accepting applications, change its conditions, or permanently close it.

Under Quebec's program, Canadian citizenship was granted to investors who:

  • Remain permanent residents in the Quebec region;
  • Have deposited C$1.2 million or about C$9.53 million at 0% per annum;
  • own assets valued at Cdn$2 million or $1.6 million or more;
  • have two years of management experience or five years of commercial employment experience;
  • have received a certificate of study in Canadian democratic values.

There were 18,800 applications pending with the Quebec Ministry of Immigration in April 2021. The Ministry has given assurances that it will process all applications by April 2023.

How the program's unprocessed applications accumulated

Canadian Citizenship by Investment: Quebec Program Applications Number
The application queue has doubled in 6 years

How to get Canadian citizenship by investment in 2021

Investors who wish to become Canadian citizens must first obtain permanent residency status through one of the special immigration programs. After 3 years of permanent residency in Canada, investors are eligible to apply for citizenship.

Canada has dozens of residency programs for investors and businessmen. The most popular programs are:

Quebec Entrepreneur Program. Under the terms of the investment program, an entrepreneur:

  • buys or starts a business in Quebec with a starting capital of $200,000 Canadian dollars, or $159,000;
  • owns at least 25% of the company's shares with a total value of CDN$100,000 or $80,000;
  • manages the business;
  • has two years of experience as an IE in his or her chosen field;
  • receives a certificate of study in democratic value

The program is valid until September 30, 2021. Whether the government will extend the program is unknown.

Federal Start-Up Visa Program. The program is suitable for innovative entrepreneurs who plan to start a startup. To apply for the program, a startup must be supported by a government-approved organization.

5 company founders and their families can get permanent residency in Canada under the Startup Program. The annual quota is 2,750 visas. Participants of the program confirm their knowledge of English or French.

Provincial Nominee Program. Canadian provincial nominee programs for candidates who want to live and work in the provinces. They can be entrepreneurs, skilled professionals or students. Each province has different requirements for candidates.

Conditions for Canadian citizenship

Anyone who plans to apply for Canadian citizenship fulfils several conditions. They must have lived in the country for at least 3 years before applying for permanent residency. Applicants for citizenship must demonstrate proficiency in English and French as well as knowledge of the country's culture and history.

Participants in some business programs are tested for eligibility before applying for citizenship. A score of 40 or more is required to qualify for Canadian citizenship. Age, level of education, knowledge of English and French, and business management experience are assessed.

Where else can you get second citizenship by investment

With the freezing of Quebec's citizenship program for investors, the demand for citizenship programs in other countries has increased.

Citizenship by investment is offered by countries in Europe, Oceania and the Caribbean. Governments of states offer different investment options: contribution to a state fund, purchase of real estate or bonds, opening a business on the territory of the country.

Citizenship of Malta and Montenegro. Of all the countries that offer citizenship by investment Malta provides investors with the maximum opportunities. For example, Maltese citizens can travel visa-free to more than 180 countries, including Schengen countries, the UK, the U.S., Australia. They can also live, work, study in any country of the European Union.

Malta grants citizenship by naturalization for exceptional services by direct investment. The applicant undergoes a strict vetting process. First, the investor receives a residence permit, and after a year or three years, he can apply for citizenship.

To become a Montenegrin citizen, the investor buys real estate and makes a non-refundable contribution to the state fund.

Caribbean and Vanuatu citizenship is chosen for visa-free travel around the world. With a Vanuatu passport or Caribbean passport, investors can travel freely to more than 130 countries, including Schengen and the UK. The processing time for a Vanuatu passport is from 1 month and a Caribbean passport from 2 months.

An investor with a Grenada passport can travel visa-free for 30 days to China, as well as obtain an E2 investment visa in the United States.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent who helps you get a second citizenship by investment. If you want to get a second passport, seek advice from investment program experts.

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Canada extends freeze on citizenship by investment program for two more years