April 23, 2019

As Canada eliminates single-step escrow immigration programs, the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Business Impact Category becomes best option for immigrant investors

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The most significant transformation to Canada’s federal and provincial immigrant investor programs has been the transition from single-step escrow models to two-step work-permit models. Only the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program remains the exclusive passive investment single-step escrow immigration program. While it is decidedly one of the most popular immigrant investor programs in Canada and the world, it has among the most demanding and laborious application procedures of its kind. This is the result of many years of public and political scrutiny directed towards the Quebec government to change procedures.

For immigrant investors considering more efficacious alternatives for investment backed settlement in Canada, Prince Edward Island (PEI) has introduced recent changes to their Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Business Impact Category that are advantageous. In 2019 PEI consolidated three previous Business Impact Category streams into one Entrepreneur Work Permit stream. In doing so, the PEI government has implemented the most straightforward and efficient non-escrow immigrant investor program in Canada.

The PEI Entrepreneur Work Permit stream is a straightforward two-step process:

  • Candidates come to Canada on a temporary work permit to establish or manage a private PEI enterprise in which they are an investor;
  • Candidates are nominated for permanent residence once that enterprise is established, or enterprise business goals are reached in accordance with terms of their PNP investment agreement.

The PNP investment agreement outlines the details of the proposed investment between the applicant and the PEI enterprise and will confirm that:

  • The enterprise is not operated primarily for the purpose of deriving passive investment income;
  • The proposed amount of the investment will be $150.000.00 CAD or more;
  • The investment will result in no less than 33 1/3% equity ownership; and
  • The candidate will provide active and ongoing management of the business from within PEI.

The agreement will also outline time frames for establishment goals within a 12 months qualifying period.

Eligible candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Candidates must be between ages of 21 – 59;
  • Candidates must have a minimum personal net worth of $600,000.00 CAD accumulated through legitimate sources;
  • Have a minimum high school education;
  • Have transferable management skills or past business ownership experience;
  • Have the ability to meet base Canadian immigrant language requirements equivalent to CLB/CNC 4;
  • Intend to invest $150.000.00 CAD or more in the private enterprise;
  • Intend to live and serve as manager for that enterprise in PEI.

Potential candidates may already have a start-up and/or business plan in mind when they submit the application; otherwise they may have connection with a local operator establishing or expanding an enterprise that is seeking partners.

The advantage to both the PEI government and the immigrant investor is the ability for the candidate to settle in Canada immediately on a work permit with spouse and dependents and meet qualifications for permanent residence while in Canada. All previous escrow programs to date often took up to 12 months or more before the candidate could even enter Canada.

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