Prince Edward Island’s immigrant partner program was, at the outset, conceived to satisfy the province’s specific labour market needs and to introduce capital flows from abroad. While the program succeeded in bolstering many of the island’s modest businesses, it quickly lost sight of its first goal as most migrants became ‘silent partners’ in various enterprises. What was intended to propagate active, lasting investments in P.E.I.’s economy became a misinterpretation of the Federal Government’s legislative attempts to discourage ‘passive investment proposals’.
For a sum of $200,000 this PNP permitted candidates, most of who never ultimately resided in the province or departed within a few months, to access permanent resident permits. The P.E.I. government allowed immigrant partners to colonize the seats of a local enterprise’s Board of Directors to create a pretense of their active involvement in managing the businesses’ affairs. Although they received preferred shares of the P.E.I. corporations, most never interacted with the business and were usually precluded from enjoying a return on their investment as most of the money flowed to intermediaries.
Recognizing that this program jeopardized the integrity of other province’s stricter nomination programs and even the government’s own investor class—which requires a much larger loan—Canadian immigration authorities reacted quickly and mandated the PNP’s demise in 2008.
Most immigrant investors ultimately wanted Canadian permanent resident permits to improve their quality of living and were able to do so at first through P.E.I. before moving to other provinces where they already had established networks of support. They were prepared to never see a return on their investment if Canadian Immigration renewed their chances of making an honest living in a country with strong governance and a promising business environment.
Not all of P.E.I.’s PNPs should be seen as opportunistic attempts to salvage the province’s small economy. The immigrant partner program is one bad thorn amongst a bouquet of other options that now abide by Canada’s federal immigration legislation and act as concentrated efforts to cater to the island’s needs, such as a points-based skilled worker program and critical worker program.
As the Canadian immigration reform process continues to distill selection towards labour-market needs, booming provinces benefit from the influx of new foreign workers. PEI, a smaller province disproportionately burdened by these reforms, perhaps saw that it had no other way to access the much-needed foreign capital and labour needed to sustain its modest economy. If P.E.I.’s government consulted with Canadian immigration professionals to develop the logistics of the PNP in the first place, perhaps this tumultuous battle with the federal authorities could have been circumvented altogether.
Please consult our website for a free job offer assessment to see if you qualify for Canadian immigration through a provincial nomination program