British Columbia’s provincial nominee program (PNP) aims to help immigrant entrepreneurs find business opportunities in the province, along with helping to create and maintain jobs for Canadians. But, earlier this year, the provincial government put the program on hold so that improvements could be made to the increasingly in-demand service.
Alex says, after the cancellation of the federal immigrant investor program — which allowed applicants to invest $800,000 in Canada to gain permanent residency — other immigration programs started to become overwhelmed.
“[The province] wasn’t really equipped to handle the number of applications they received,” Alex told The Tyee. “They should have anticipated to some extent that if there was going to be a problem with the closing of the federal investor program that all their programs would be affected.”
The Tyee notes the average number of business PNP applicants was 161 between 2009 and 2011, with that number rising to 1,077 in 2014 after the federal immigrant investor program was officially cancelled.
Since the PNP was put on hold, government has made improvements aimed at streamlining the process for applicants, including introducing online pre-registration.
Despite improvements, there are still issues with the program that leave immigrants vulnerable to immigrant consultants who charge huge fees and help multiple immigrants apply for the same business.
“The purpose of this program should not be to enrich middlemen,” says Alex. “It should be to maintain jobs in Canada and create jobs in Canada. It’s not creating jobs if all you’re doing is moving new immigrants’ money to people in the immigration industry.”
The long waits for application approval, some up to 13 months, can also affect both immigrants and Canadians looking to sell their business. Bob Wang, a Victoria business owner looking told the Tyee that some prospective buyers for his on-the-market restaurant have asked him hold the business for them while they wait for immigration approval.
However, with such stuff competition, Alex says some of MKS’s clients take the risk, buying a business in hopes that they will receive approval.
Maynard Kischer Stojicevic Citizenship and Immigration Law are based in Vancouver and provide guidance to businesses and individuals on immigration issues such as the provincial nominee program. Book a consultation to learn more about how MKS can help you navigate the Canadian immigration system.