Canada’s province of Manitoba offers a business component of its provincial nominee program through which applicants can obtain Canadian permanent residency. The program was initially created through an agreement between Manitoba and the Government of Canada as a means to attract exceptional business people who will make an investment in, and be active in the management of, a new or existing business in the province of Manitoba. Manitoba issues a Nomination Certificate to approved applicants which allows for faster processing of permanent residency applications with the Federal Government of Canada.
Within four to six months after submission, and once an application under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program for Business (MPNP-B)
has been approved, a letter is issued to the applicant with detailed instructions on how to complete the required CAD $100,000 deposit as well as how to submit the permanent resident visa application to the Centralized Intake Office of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. A Deposit Agreement must be signed, and the deposit must be made prior to receiving a Certificate of Nomination from the province which allows for the submission of the permanent residence application.
After approval of the permanent residence application at the Federal level, the applicant can move to Canada to begin their business project in Manitoba. This is where the debate lies: some applicants choose not to settle in Manitoba and forfeit their deposit altogether, writing it off as the cost of immigration. In fact, almost a third of applicants to the MPNP-B do not get their deposits back. Each unreturned deposit is a loss for Manitoba; a loss of a minimum business investment of CAD $150,000 into local economy, as well as the loss of the creation of jobs and economic activity the business will bring. Manitoba’s goal is not to be used as a backdoor for wealthy investors to settle in Vancouver or Toronto, although not uncommon.
The Deposit Agreement is used as a guarantee that an applicant will live in and start or purchase a business in Manitoba. If the business intent or project is not put into action within two years of arriving in Canada, the province of Manitoba reserves the right to retain the deposit. If, however, the business is operational, and the terms and conditions of the Deposit Agreement have been met within the two-year period, the CAD $100,000 is returned in full, without interest, to the applicant.
The province of Manitoba understands that business plans may change, or that an initial project may be discovered as unfeasible. In that situation, applicants can contact the Business Settlement Office to have a new plan approved, or to request an extension on the two years after landing.
Prior to 2013, the required deposit was only CAD $75,000, however, due to the increasing number of forfeits, the program had to be stopped and revamped. There is still uncertainty as to whether the number of deposit forfeits decreased to a sustainable level after the deposit increase to CAD $100,000. After all, the deposit amount is but mere pocket change to the wealthy global investor. When compared to other programs like the U.S. EB-5 visa requiring a minimum USD $500,000 investment, Manitoba appears to be the better option. But how easy is an application under the MPNP-B?
The province of Manitoba has implemented stricter measures of assessing applications to ensure that applicants will operate a business in the province upon arrival to Canada. Only the highest-scoring Expression of Interests (EOI) are selected for application submissions and these often include those who have completed an exploratory visit to the province to conduct exceptional research. Further, business plans must include significant detail and must be viable projects that will economically benefit the province. It isn’t as simple as paying CAD $100,000 for a visa.
Nevertheless, the Canadian Constitution grants the right to Canadian residents to reside anywhere in Canada they desire, and the province of Manitoba cannot prohibit a move to another province. Whether the deposit of CAD $100,000 is sufficient to deter investors from moving elsewhere is up for debate. Some experts suggest that a better option would be to take example from British Columbia’s provincial nominee program for entrepreneurs, where applicants are given a temporary work permit and must meet conditions of having a business operating in BC before receiving a nomination certificate and applying for permanent residency. Others recommend again increasing the deposit amount, but how much is enough? Given that a minimum net worth of only CAD $350,000 is required to qualify for the program, there isn’t much room for raising the deposit amount.
For now, the program remains as is with a minimum CAD $150,000 investment into a business in Manitoba, and a CAD $100,000 fully refundable deposit. If you have a business idea or would like to purchase an existing business in Manitoba, contact our office today. We have multiple resources in the province to assist you with putting together a detailed business plan. What you do once you become a permanent resident, however, is entirely up to you. As a Canadian permanent resident, the Constitution protects your human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to live wherever you choose.
For more information on Manitoba’s PNP for Business, please click here
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