By Uglobal Staff
The Canadian province of Manitoba has announced that it is reorganizing its economic immigration program to establish new pathways to permanent residence for entrepreneurs.
Americans Jon and Karissa Warkentin are among the investors who have obtained permanent residency in Canada. The family came from Colorado in 2013 to run a hunting and fishing business in Waterhen, a city northwest of Winnipeg. The family made headlines after their application for permanent residency was initially denied, earlier in the year, due to their child’s health condition. The federal government claimed the child’s special needs might place “excessive demand” on the country’s health and social services. The decision has since been reversed and the Warkentin’s were granted permanent residency in early December 2017.
“In my view, they are among the ideal candidates for this program and the province needs to ensure that it continues to attract business leaders and families with entrepreneurial experience,” said immigration lawyer Alastair Clarke of Clarke Immigration Law in Winnipeg, who helped them.
The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) has been renamed the Business Investor Stream and will consist of two pathways, one of which is the Entrepreneur Pathway.
The first step in the restructuring of the program was “clearing the application backlog and improving service standards for applicants,” said Ian Wishart, Education and Training Minister in a statement. It would include new pathways to permanent residence that will “help Manitoba attract and retain talented people from around the world,” he said.
The business investor stream will give priority to those who start businesses within the first 12 months of arriving in Manitoba, and specifically to applicants who begin a business outside of Winnipeg.
One aspect of the program that is effective immediately is that applicants will no longer have to submit a deposit to the MPNP. They will instead sign a business performance agreement to begin a new business or buy an existing one and will be given a letter of support for a temporary work permit by MPNP.
“The elimination of the $100,000 deposit will provide needed clarity for the program,” said Clarke. “Unsophisticated investors have not been clear on the difference between a deposit and a fee. In addition, the elimination of this deposit closes the door to potential scams and corruption in the system.”
The minister said the changes will ensure applicants are helping to bolster Manitoba’s economy by investing in businesses that create jobs. Wishart said they are improving the business investor stream to obtain better outcomes that meet the goals of the program. In April, Wishart announced improved service standards and said applications will be processed in six months or less.
“Former Minister of Immigration John McCallum publicly lauded the MPNP as a model for other Canadian provinces at the 2016 CBA National Immigration conference. This program has been extremely successful for applicants and the contributions to the economy,” said Clarke.
The MPNP is an economic immigration program originally established in 1998 to attract skilled workers and investors in Manitoba to spur economic growth.
“Provincial nominee programs are an important part of the government’s focus on aligning our immigration system with labor market needs. The program helps to strengthen provincial economies by attracting qualified individuals to fill critical labor shortages and promote business development,” said Rémi Larivière, a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Larivière said provinces and territories handle the design, management and evaluation of their respective Provincial Nominee programs. He said under the Provincial Nominee Program, “participating provinces and territories nominate foreign nationals whom they believe will meet particular regional labor market needs and who intend to settle in their province.”
Bordered by Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west, Manitoba is home to over 1.2 million people and is described as one of Canada’s most diversified and stable economies. It boasts competitive tax rates and tax credits for investment in manufacturing equipment and R&D, low land costs and Canada’s most affordable housing.
Under the renewed Entrepreneur Pathway, the minimum investment required is $250,000 for businesses within Manitoba. The minimum investment is $150,000 for a business outside of Manitoba. Requirements also include that the proposed business should create or maintain at least one job for a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident in Manitoba and does not include owners of the business or their close family members.
A business plan is required as part of the application process as well as a business research visit for an investor to conduct research on a potential business or proposal. The required minimum net worth of an investor must be $500,000. The new terms and conditions are set to become effective in the first quarter of 2018.
Clarke says he anticipates that some of the effects of the changes to the economic immigration program will include a potential increase in investment to cities in Manitoba outside the capital region. He said cities that may benefit include Brandon, Winkler and Thompson.
“Currently, there is a growing immigrant population outside the capital region. The changes to the program make these regions very attractive," Clarke said. "Personally, I spoke with a dentist from India who is immediately considering an investment based on this amendment.”