The Prince Edward Island (“PEI”) provincial government will no longer accept applications from immigrants looking to set up a business in the province in exchange for immediate permanent residency. This move eliminates the entrepreneur stream of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and moves Prince Edward Island in line with most jurisdictions across Canada. However, the province will accept applications from individuals to come and open a business if they meet a series of controls proving the business is successful and continuously operational for at least a year. As is done in other jurisdictions across the country, only then would they be considered for permanent residency.
Prince Edward Island will continue to accept applications for workers coming to the province to fill jobs that employers have not been able to fill locally.
“Since forming government in 2015 we committed to do business differently, and we delivered on that commitment. We recognized the need for greater scrutiny of our immigration programs, we set up tighter oversight over the agents who act on behalf of newcomers, we launched initiatives to help rural communities attract newcomers, and we increased overall accountability,” Economic Development and Tourism Minister Chris Palmer said in a statement.
“Even as these changes are providing better results, it is clear that concerns remain – specifically around the entrepreneur program. We understand these concerns and believe it is in the best interest of our province to eliminate the entrepreneur escrow program entirely.”
Overall, the province found that much of the capital provided by applicants to the program was simply “walked away from”, as investors left the funds dormant and moved to a different province, armed with nearly-immediately acquired permanent residence status. As constructed, there was little incentive for immigrant investors to actively manage and use those funds in the province. This defeated the core purpose of the program, and as a result action was taken.
To provide adequate notice to applicants and immigration agents, government will undertake one more draw to select applicants on September 20. No more than 10 applicants will be selected, and no more applications will be accepted moving forward under the previous model.
“As a government we must ensure that our programs are working to benefit our province,” said Minister Palmer. “It is clear that previous successive governments were unable to alleviate concerns about the entrepreneur stream. This decision will ensure that our programs are working in the best interests of Islanders.”
We at Green and Spiegel have deep experience in assisting clients with acquiring permanent residence in Canada via Immigrant Investor Programs. The Firm’s attorneys also have considerable experience in obtaining the prerequisite work permits for investors as now required by the PEI program.