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Ottawa must Review Provincial Business Immigration Program

November 2017, 29
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The opposition leaders of the Prince Edward Island have called the Federal Government, to investigate a Provincial Business Immigration Program, which faces allegations of oversight and abuse.

James Aylward, Leader of Progressive Conservative Party, said that the province is not ready, to review and reform the program, as it receives millions of dollars, in the form of Forfeited Deposits, from the immigrants, who do not start a business.

There is a criticism from the Immigration lawyers, of the Ownership Stream of the PNP, as a side door to enter the country, with many participants of the previous year, losing their deposit, worth $150,000 to the province, as they failed to start a business.

The Island Investment Development authorized to hold the deposits for the business of newcomers, showed $18 million as net revenue of the previous year, from the immigrant companies that could not create a business.

The province has mentioned that 177 out of 296 nominees never opened a business, and 10 percent were not in a position to fulfill the conditions regarding escrow agreement and hence had to forfeit their deposits. One-third of the remaining 92, closed their operations after completing mandatory 12 months of existence.

Aylward added that the government is addicted to default on escrow deposits and the federal government needs to step in for better results in this program.

It must be ensured that the program is meeting all federal requirements listed in the Federal-Provincial Agreement.

This agreement has a clause mentioning that the province must be duly diligent that all applicants add benefit to the economic development of the province and possess the ability to become economically established on the Island. This clause was not met he added.  Some applicants have not opened a business but arrive on the Island, spend a day and move off. They basically buy a PR.

The province has set up a tip line and has welcomed direct reports in this matter. The Government should be serious about these allegations and investigate the program to determine the abuses.

The province has witnessed few success stories in this nominee program, and some business immigrants stay to boost the population of the province.

MacDonald, Minister, Economic Development has said that the program brings economic benefits to the Island, and millions of dollars in the forfeited deposit is helping in paying for social services which help immigrants and others.

Under the system, used by the Prince Edward Island the applicants nominated for the Ownership Stream of the PNP need to invest $150,000 and have expenses of $75,000 annually.

They are nominated after the business plan is approved, and the escrow deposits are made, and the province sends a certificate to Ottawa.

When approved federally, the applicants receive the permanent residency.

The provincial auditor general can deal with this matter and make suitable recommendations for carrying out the change.

A similar audit in Manitoba found many shortcomings in applicants’ monitoring and records. Manitoba announced the closure of the deposit system and has raised the minimum investment level required for the Winnipeg area. It has placed additional qualifications for applicants to obtain a work permit.

The spokesperson for the Federal Immigration Minister did not reply in this matter. There was only an email regarding working closely with the provinces and measuring performance to improve program models.

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