By Ishola Balogun
Mr Julien Tétrault, is a Quebec lawyer, President of JTH Lawyers Inc, Canada. He founded and acted as President of the Immigrant Investor section of Québec Lawyers abroad. According to report, he has represented over 1,000 immigrant investors from over 60 countries, including a significant number of Nigerian families that have already relocated to the province of Quebec, Canada. In this interview, he speaks about Quebec Immigrant Investor Program.
About Quebec Immigrant Investor Program
The program was designed to offer the possibility to managers, executives, company owners to obtain unconditional Permanent Residence to Canada through a guaranteed investment of about 220,000CA$ (about N35million), regardless of their age or education. A price that may seem high at first glance even for HNWI, but that leads to further savings already in student fee just by having two children doing their superior studies in Canada.
Most people will do it first and foremost for their children, because it is the smartest solution on all levels. On economical level, it gives top quality education, free until college, then get about 90% rebate compared to foreign student fees at University. Its free healthcare system is amongst the best in the world. And as Canadian permanent residents (eventually citizens), they enjoy the freedom to take employment.
But there is more to it- quality of life, low crime rate, social stability, affordable housing, and also excellent business opportunities. Canada is at crossroads of a generation gap that will lead to about 50% SME to change hands in the next 10 years, and this is especially true in Quebec province where 25,000 businesses will be sold within the next 5 years. Canada is the only country in the world actively seeking for new immigrants to support the growth of its economy. With Nigeria economy being now the first in African; Canada economy has continued to strive despite the world economic crisis, the ties between the two countries continue to grow substantially, and Quebec is the best location and strategic province in Canada.
Besides all these advantages, we cannot ignore the security issue. For example, our clients from Libya, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria that have gone through the process are so happy they took the decision to engage in the Investor Program while there was still stability in their country. I am very confident in Nigeria stability, do not get me wrong on this, but no one can ignore the fact that it is intelligent planning to continue to plant seeds – and by this I mean submitting one’s application under the QIIP, – for having the option to later move to a safer harbor. The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program is not a process that can be completed overnight, and people that realize that usually want to engage in the process right away.
Only Quebec lawyers or registered Quebec immigration consultants are authorized by our government to represent immigration applicants, and we are to my knowledge the only law firm in Quebec to have focused solely on servicing applicants under the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program.
But we as lawyers have been confronted with the challenge of having Nigerian investors seeking further support in the document preparation and collection, or simply wanting to see how legitimate we were because of numerous fraudsters taking advantage of Nigerians. Hence, in order to be closer to our Nigeria HNWI clients, our Canada office has made an affiliation with a Nigerian entity called JTH Immigration Services.
Our lawyers in Montreal are still taking full charge of file preparation, from identifying tailor-made solutions to investor applicants under the QIIP, to designing their file and representing them throughout the process of immigration until they obtain permanent residency in Canada, which is the first step prior to citizenship.
But in order to facilitate this process, the support from JTH Immigration Services will have an added value for the customer : from assistance to document collection, guidance through the process, to after-landing services such as school registration for the children, assistance in finding a home, getting a car, and all the paper work such as getting the Canada health card, Social Insurance card, etc.
Basically, the Permanent Residence status in Canada leads to the Nigerian investor to enjoy same rights and privileges as Canadian citizens, except for the right to vote. Then four years after getting permanent residency, family can apply for Canadian citizenship. Canada allows dual citizenship so it will not affect the Nigerians nationality. Besides, I cannot think of any passport that has a better reputation and value than the Canadian passport and its visa-free travel possibilities throughout North America, Europe, Asia, etc.
Advice for prospective immigrant
First of all, beware of fraudsters: ask for recommendation from former clients, and double-check the validity of the license since all Quebec lawyers are registered with the Quebec Bar and verification can be made by anybody online. Also, seek for experienced lawyer that knows the Nigeria environment and its challenges: ask questions and make sure you can get the assistance you need.
And finally, look for added value, look for leadership: immigration process is important and must be properly done, but once landed immigrant, you will wish to be accompanied for business and investment solutions. For all these reasons, I believe we represent the best choice for Nigerian HNWI.
Every one of our client tells us the same thing. They say: “If I had really understood and realized all these advantages, I would have started this process much earlier.” Every year the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program is getting more expensive, conditions are becoming more stringent, delays are not getting any shorter.
Top managers and business owners are used to planning for the future hence if they ever consider getting permanent residency for Canada for their families, they don’t miss the opportunity. There is no better time than right now to launch their application.