[Interview] Max Donzella, Director and First Expert Advisor, VIP Business Immigration, Canada
Max Donzella is Director of VIP Business Immigration, a firm that consults on and manages investor immigrant programs into Quebec, Canada. The immigration program is currently open to all African countries.
Could you introduce your company?
Basically our Office is an Immigration Firm exclusivelly dedicated to Passive Canadian Investment Immigration throught the Quebec Investor Program. We are Canadian and Quebec Certified Immigration consultants and we also have Quebec registered lawyers partners. I am the Director of the Office, also an Expert Accountant and Certified Immigration Consultant. I also acted as an AdHoc Advisor on Business Immigration Matters to the Minister of Immigration of Canada until 2015.
Where is your company located and in what countries do you operate?
Our Office is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as per regulations. There cannot be offices outside of Quebec when dealing with this program so clients are protected from international fraud and money is only transferred through the banking system to our intrust account in Quebec. We work with clients from over 40 countries worldwide all by scanning documents and emailing and by international courier for signed documents.
Your company is currently representing high networth entrepreneurs’ immigration into Quebec, Canada. Correct?
Yes we represent high Net Worth individuals, meaning they have at least $2.0M Canadian in global personal net worth, which can include the spouse assets also. However just a note on the entrepreneur expression: The Quebec Investor program is not focused on starting a business in Canada, but rather on making a passive investment in Quebec Goverment bonds of 1.2 M$ Canadian for 5 years without receiving any compensation in interest. The investor can also make a one-time contribution of $325,000 Canadian and not make the passive investment, actually almost all clients choice the second option. So it is a passive investor program and not an entrepreneur program which was cancelled for now. There are no requirements to have any specific activities in Canada when they immigrate. They can simply retire if they wish. After three years of living in Canada they will get the Canadian Citizenship and passport.
Does your company regularly represent African countries, or is this on just this one program?
Yes, one of our exclusive markets is South Africa were we represent more than 80% of Investors moving to Canada and we are having success in Nigeria, Uganda and Botsana and are open to all countries in Africa. We also are present in French speaking Africa as we all speak at least English and French at minimum. Africans are important to us and represent 50% of our clients and they are all selected very successfully under our representation.
Please explain the immigration program and who exactly can qualify, given the usual restrictions imposed on immigration processes.
Its fairly simple as there are three. First the applicant must show a Personal Net Worth of at least $2.0 Canadian. This can include almost all assets such as properties, bank accounts, portfolio investments including life insurance and the net accounting value of a private company.
Secondly and the most important one, the Immigrant Investor must demonstrate company ownership or Management experience as a paid employee inside the last 5 years of a minimum of 24 months.
And finally, once the first two conditions are met and well documented with strong evidence and the client has been selected by the Quebec Government , he/she must either make the financial contribution of $325,000 Canadian or the passive investment of $1.2 M that we just talked about.
The greatest thing about the the Quebec Investor program is that it is the only option without any age limit, any diplomas required and any language test requirements: as long as you have the recent management experience, you can apply, even at the age of 60-70. This is one of the reasons why many are ready to pay what can seem to be a high cost to some.
What do you think explains the surge in South Africans investors’ move into Canada in recent years?
Just the General conditions in South Africa in terms of security, the economy, social issues, I think South Africans know better than us why they are thinking of leaving and there are many differents reasons. However i must say that many were going to Australia before as the program was marketed in SA; we did convert many to Canada after bad experiences in Australia. Concerning Canada, well my efforts in getting the word out about the Quebec Investor Program since 2008 when I invested personally in South Africa to open this market and give South Africans the same chance as others to move to the Best Country there is … all these efforts are showing good results with an increase of 25% of applicants per year. Also in particular for South Africans that do not feel safe as they get older and that do not have family to support them, it's great as they can apply just before retirement or just after.
Why do you think Canada is creating this opportunity for South Africa in particular, of all African nations?
I'll answer that with another question: How is Canada different? Imagine a young boy being born and raised in Somalia, leaving at the age of 13 for Canada as a refugee. Where is he today? He is the Minister of Immigration of Canada. There are many such amazing examples in Canada.
Canada is a wealthy nation of opportunities and most welcoming in the World for everyone.
Are your services going to be extended to include other countries?
We are open to all countries as the service is offered from a distance as long as the individuals have the legal requirements and have the proper documentation to support their accumulation of net worth done legally. This might pose a challenge in some African countries were there is too much corruption and no proper documentation. However we do not discriminate based on nationality and give everyone their chance to apply. The limit of this is that only 570 families can apply worldwide per year, meaning that applicants must have a good case to be considered based on a quota system. When we sign a client, it means we trust that they will have at least an 80% chance of being approved. This strategy has proven efficient as we have a 100% approval rate under the Quebec Investor program since 2008, where our competitors and the market stands at around 60%.