As a provincial immigration program for foreign nationals, the government of Quebec offers an investment program. There are a few requirements for those who wish to apply. First, the applicant must show a net worth of $1,600,000 CAD. This can include all of the assets of the applicant and the applicant’s spouse.
Experience in management is also expected of applicants. The minimum requirement, is to have at least two years of management experience with two or more full-time employees over the last 5 years.
Other factors like education and age are also considered. Eligibility is best determined by a case-by-case basis.
Finally, the applicant must invest a certain number of funds from his net worth. There are two options. First, the applicant may make an investment of $800,000 CAD by lending this to the province of Quebec. The province will then return this amount after 5 years without any interest. The other option is to get financing from a financial intermediary. This way, the applicant gives the intermediary around $180,000 to $225,000 and the intermediary finances the $800,000. The finance of $180,000-225,000 will not be returned to the applicant.
Over 99% of applicants usually decide to go with the second option of using a financial intermediary. Based on the inflation rates and the time value of money, it is better to give the intermediaries the $180,000-225,000 than to lend the government $800,000 for five years.
At Taraz Immigration and Accounting, we believe in being transparent. This means having all the information in relation to fees, processing times, procedures and anything that might be relevant to our clients as clear as possible. One of the issues raised by clients that immigrated under the QIP (Quebec Investor Program), is that applicants were unaware of way fees and commissions work between their financial intermediary and their lawyer or immigration consultant. The truth is that lawyers and consultants are granted a commission with every successful process under the QIP. The commission fees range from $40,000 to $60,000; depending on where the applicant lands on the range between $180,000-225,000. Unfortunately, this information is not always disclosed to the applicants. Lawyers and immigration consultants are legally bound to tell their clients about this commission fee, but often, they choose to omit this part to avoid the interested party to use this information as leverage to begin a negotiation. This act is not only dishonest, disloyal, and a violation of codes of conduct, but it creates a conflict of interest for the lawyer or consultant. Based on this conflict, the lawyer or consultant may not negotiate the best deal for the applicant with the financial intermediaries. He has an incentive to have the applicant pay the maximum to the financial intermediary so that the maximum commission fee could be paid.
The commission granted to the lawyer or consultant has been a known practice for decades and it should be disclosed and understood by all the interested parties in the QIP process. This would allow applicants to better evaluate their options when choosing a representative for this important process, and ensure them that the best deal will be sought for them. It is not only required in the ethics regulations but it is the morally right thing to do.
After all, immigrants are vulnerable in that they are not familiar with the way Canada and more generally the Western system works. Most often, they rely on their immigration lawyers and consultants to integrate themselves into Canada. It would be a shame if that trust is broken and their first impression is unethical legal practices.