N.B. ends Chinese nominee project

The provincial government has ended a Chinese immigration pilot project, which operated under the provincial nominee program.

The provincial government has ended a Chinese immigration pilot project, which operated under the provincial nominee program.

"As soon as Auditor General Kim MacPherson raised concerns and shared her findings with us, steps were taken to begin correcting the areas identified for improvement," said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Martine Coulombe.

In February 2010, the government stopped accepting new applications to the program. Up until then it required $60,000 deposits from each applicant with the economic development agency Enterprise Fredericton as part of the application process.

Under the nominee program an immigrant could invest in a partnership with a New Brunswick company in order to get his or her immigration application fast-tracked.

The money was to be repaid once they settled and started businesses in the province.

A new process was set up in February 2010, requiring a $75,000 deposit paid directly to the province.

The 180 applicants who were still being processed under the pilot project will be told they can reapply under the new process.

They must also apply to get their $60,000 back.

In February, MacPherson released a report that said the government was not monitoring whether people immigrating under the nominee program were staying in New Brunswick, and therefore whether they deserved to get their deposits back or not.

Under an agreement with Ottawa, the provincial government was supposed to monitor the nominees for three years.

The provincial nominee program has been credited with bringing 5,509 immigrants to Canada, but the auditor general said the government did not know how many immigrants actually settled in New Brunswick.