PNP de­posit hike

Prov­ince dou­bles de­posits for ap­pli­cants to $200,000

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERESA WRIGHT

Im­mi­grants who use P.E.I.’s Pro­vin­cial Nom­i­nee Pro­gram to gain ex­press en­try into the coun­try now have to pay a much higher de­posit to the P.E.I. govern­ment.

Pre­vi­ously, im­mi­grant in­vestors un­der the busi­ness stream of the Pro­vin­cial Nom­i­nee Pro­gram (PNP) were re­quired to make a $100,000 de­posit, to be held in es­crow by the pro­vin­cial Crown cor­po­ra­tion, Is­land In­vest­ment De­vel­op­ment Inc.

That de­posit has dou­bled to $200,000.

Jamie Aitken, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Is­land In­vest­ment De­vel­op­ment Inc., says de­posits were in­creased to en­sure the best pos­si­ble ap­pli­cants come to P.E.I. through this pro­gram.

“The de­posit is there to en­sure the ap­pli­cants do come to P.E.I., that their in­ten­tions are gen­uine and they will com­mence a busi­ness op­er­a­tion,” Aitken said.

“We want to make sure we are at­tract­ing the best ap­pli­cants, so in­creas­ing the es­crow would in­crease the gen­uine in­tegrity of the ap­pli­cants.”

For­eign na­tion­als who ap­ply to the busi­ness stream of the PNP can get a full re­fund of their $200,000 de­posit only by meet­ing both res­i­dency and busi­ness own­er­ship re­quire­ments.

Af­ter six months of res­i­dency on the Is­land, they can get $25,000 of their de­posit re­turned. They get an­other $25,000 af­ter one year in P.E.I.

The re­main­ing $150,000 is re­turned once the ap­pli­cant meets the con­di­tions of the es­crow agree­ment they sign with the prov­ince. Ap­pli­cants have three years to meet the terms for a full re­fund.

The es­crow agree­ment says they must open or pur­chase a busi­ness in P.E.I. or in­vest in an ex­ist­ing busi­ness, own­ing no less than 33-and-a-half per cent of the com­pany’s equity.

They must also meet cer­tain ba­sic English lan­guage re­quire­ments, demon­strate a min­i­mum net worth of $600,000, be be­tween 21 and 59 years of age and have busi­ness own­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence.

They also must make an ex­ploratory trip to the prov­ince and sub­mit a de­tailed busi­ness plan for ap­proval.

“We have not seen a neg­a­tive re­sponse, so that would sug­gest to me po­ten­tially that change was a good one,” Aitken said of the de­posit in­crease.

But Op­po­si­tion Leader Jamie Fox takes is­sue with this de­posit hike.

“Here, we’re try­ing to en­cour­age th­ese peo­ple to come into this coun­try and in­vest in our in­dus­tries and small busi­nesses, and I would have to won­der if we in­crease the de­posit from $100,000 to $200,000, would that limit the abil­ity of new­com­ers to have the cap­i­tal to put into and de­velop a busi­ness?” Fox said.

“This could cause them to look at other provinces or ju­ris­dic­tions.”

He noted the prov­ince has pock­eted mil­lions in de­faulted PNP de­posits in past years, and ques­tioned whether this could be the rea­son for the in­crease.

In­ter­est ac­crued from PNP de­posits is not re­turned to ap­pli­cants.

“Is the prov­ince’s fi­nances that des­per­ate that we need to be putting an ex­tra bur­den on the peo­ple who are try­ing to bet­ter their lives and im­prove the econ­omy of P.E.I.?”

Aitken says there has not, to date, been a de­crease in ap­pli­cants nor have there been any de­faulted de­posits since the re­vamped busi­ness stream was in­tro­duced in 2012-13.

He did note the 12- to 18month ap­pli­ca­tion process to­gether with the three-year es­crow win­dow means po­ten­tial de­faults may not have been re­al­ized yet.

P.E.I.’s PNP has been the sub­ject of nu­mer­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tions in the past, in­clud­ing by the au­di­tor gen­eral and the RCMP.

The pro­gram has since un­der­gone an over­haul and was re­launched with new rules and re­quire­ments sev­eral years ago.

Jamie Fox

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.