Recently, I wrote about how Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) was becoming increasingly stringent with Provincial Nominee Program applicants who could not convince Port of Entry Officers that they intended to reside in their nominating province. On December 23, 2010, CIC released Operational Bulletin (“OB“) 256. OB 256 makes it clear that CIC will also be getting tough on Quebec Entrepreneurs who do not reside in Quebec for at least one of three years after immigrating, as is required under the program.
The Quebec Entrepreneur program is the Quebec alternative to the Federal Entrepreneur program. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have net assets of at least $300,000 that were legally obtained. As well, they must have two years experience in running a business that was acquired during the five years preceding the date of application. They must have owned 25% of the business.
Upon arriving in Quebec, applicants are required, for at least one year during the three years after obtaining permanent resident status to create or acquire, in whole or in part, an agricultural, commercial, or industrial business established in Quebec where the applicant will hold at least 25% of the capital equity with a value of at least $100,000. During this year, the Applicant is required to participate in the daily operations of the business.
Some people who immigrated under the program never intended to reside in Quebec. They may have established a business there, and even employed Quebec permanent residents or citizens. However, when it came to managing the business, their involvement was either passive, or was done from another province. Indeed, Immigration Officers in provinces other than Quebec have noted that Quebec-selected entrepreneurs admitted to Canada under these Quebec-specific conditions have reporting for monitoring with the Quebec-specific conditions at CIC inland offices outside of Quebec.
According to OB 256, where an entrepreneur selected by Quebec is reporting to a CIC inland office outside of Quebec and has not complied with Quebec’s conditions, an inadmissibility report should be prepared detailing the allegation of non-compliance. A determination will then be made as to whether the report should be referred to the Immigration Division for an admissibility hearing, which can lead to deportation.
For those that think that the obvious solution to this problem is to simply mail the compliance-application to a Quebec office, OB 256 also instructs officers in CIC-Quebec to forward the file to the province where the applicant is living.
Those who immigrated under the Quebec Entrepreneur should not think that all is lost. There are ways to address this situation. However, such people should be aware that they cannot simply assume that there will be no consequences for ignoring the conditions that were imposed as a requirement of immigrating.