Despite canceling broadcasts several years ago, Prince Edward Island continues to receive millions of dollars in default payments under its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) investor categories.
Four years after the 2018 stream of 100% ownership and fractional ownership entrepreneurship ended, Atlantic Canada’s province still managed to pocket almost $8.9 million in default payments last year.
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Under those now-defunct streams, would-be immigrants could obtain permanent residency on the island province by opening a business there and paying a $200,000 deposit. That deposit is then returned to the expatriate subject to certain conditions.
These programs were controversial because many immigrants put down their deposits with no intention of starting a business, effectively paying for permanent residency in Canada.
And because of the delay in handling matters at IRCC, many of these deposits are now deposited into the provincial coffers.
“When the province of PEI nominates an individual and their family members, it goes to the federal government for processing,” PEI Finance CEO Jamie Aiken told SaltWire.
Unfortunately, federal processing times have increased to 24 months over the past few years. And then with the pandemic — that also slowed down the processing of cases.”
Finance PEI is the provincial crown corporation of the Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism and Culture, which serves as the principal financing group for Prince Edward Island.
Tens of millions of dollars in similar deposits remain in escrow accounts pending IRCC’s final decisions.
The 2021-2022 Island Investment Development year-end report shows that Prince Edward Island still has $37.4 million in deposits from other investors who have migrated to the province under these flows.
The Startup Visa provides a way for immigrant entrepreneurs to obtain permanent residency.
Millions of dollars in deferred deposits were obtained from 47 immigrant entrepreneurs last year. With their dependent family members, their requests brought a total of 169 people to the island through those streams.
As of 2018, the Startup Visa (SUV) program has largely replaced these two entrepreneurial streams. Started as a pilot program in 2013, the SUV became permanent in 2018, the same year Prince Edward Island canceled its PNP entrepreneurship stream.
Foreign nationals with a business idea or eligible businesses seeking permanent residency through the SUV must be supported by a designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator, to In addition, they have the necessary budget for settlement of accounts and language ability.
Candidates under the SUV can immigrate to Canada with a work permit while establishing their business before being eligible for permanent residence. To be eligible, applicants must be actively involved in managing a business in Canada.
Canada plans to welcome 3,500 newcomers through trade programs in 2023, rising to 6,000 by 2025. A significant number of these people will be provided through the start-up visa.
Under the SUV, the undertaking required from a designated entity must meet the following criteria:
- A designated angel investor group must certify that it will invest at least $75,000 in the eligible business or two or more commitments from the designated angel investor groups in the amount of $75,000. Or
- A designated venture capital fund must certify that it invests at least $200,000 in eligible businesses or two or more commitments of $200,000 from designated venture capital funds. Or
- A Designated Business Growth Center must confirm that it accepts an applicant into its Business Growth Program.
In order to be eligible, the business in question must also be registered and doing business in Canada at the time of the undertaking and:
- The applicant must have at least 10% of the voting rights in the company and
- No other person can hold 50% or more of the total amount of voting rights in the company.
Up to five applicants may support their application for permanent residence with the same business investment. However, certain applicants may be determined to be essential to the business in question.
If any original applicant withdraws their application or is rejected for other reasons, other applicants under the same business venture will terminate their application.