|Marwa Badra – Immigration Advisor|
Marwa Badra | Immigration Advisor | Pace Law Firm: The government of Prince Edward Island recently announced the second revamp of the PEI-PNP entrepreneur program since spring 2013.
The summary of the recent changes are:
- The application fee has increased to $7,500.
- The escrow deposit has increased to $200,000
- $50,000 of that $200,000 is tied to residency – $25,000 will be refunded after the applicant has lived in PEI for at least 6 months, and $25,000 will be refunded after the applicant has lived in PEI for at least 12 months.
- The remaining $150,000 will be tied to the business, refundable under the terms and conditions currently outlined in an escrow agreement.
Why the changes? Some background:
Since the federal government paused the investor program in July 2012, business applicants started seeking alternative programs for admission to Canada. The fast processing times and lower financial threshold of the provincial programs made them attractive options.
The Prince Edward Island program attracted a large number of investors after its re-launch in 2011. It gained an international reputation as a fast and “affordable” program compared to its counterpart in Quebec.
Last spring, the PEI government announced its first increase of the required net worth of applicants to $600,000, instead of $400K, and the escrow bond to $150,000 instead of $100,000. However, such changes had no impact on the program’s high popularity – especially in China, which remains the number one source country for PEI.
It appears that the provincial government has realized that the matter remains a “supply and demand” one. They appear to be simply asking, if people will pay more money for the program, then why not charge for it? And so here we are, with the price now rising yet again.
The new changes put the PEI-PNP program at par with the Quebec program, if not somewhat higher.
If I were an applicant weighing my investor immigration options, Quebec may come as a better option at the present time, especially since Quebec has no language requirement and no escrow obligation to fulfill. Has the PEI government gone overboard with these changes? Time will tell.