Manitoba

Manitoba is 'open for business' for immigrant investors

Attention immigrant investors: Manitoba's putting out the "open for business" sign again. Only this time around, the province expects you to stick around.

Province wants foreign investors to live here, not leave here

Manitoba's nominee program for business was halted in 2013, revamped and revised. (iStockphoto)

Attention immigrant investors: Manitoba's putting out the "open for business" sign again. Only this time around, the province expects you to stick around.   

Winnipeg immigration lawyer Reis Pagtakhan. (Submitted photo)
"Their biggest challenge is how are you going to retain the people?" said immigration lawyer Reis Pagtakhan. "The question is, 'Why are they doing that?'"

Part of the problem was through the provincial nominee program for business. Here's how it was supposed to work: immigrants interested in getting into business here could put down a $75,000 deposit, move here, and have up to two years to invest up to $150,000 into a business.

Instead, hundreds of nominees got here, packed up and moved to greener pastures, forfeiting the $75,000 and summing it up as the price of admission to Canada.

"Every $75,000 the government kept was a failure in terms of, 'Manitoba is not the place to do business for this immigrant,'" Pagtakhan said. 

As a result, the program was halted in 2013, revamped and revised.

Every $75,000 the government kept was a failure in terms of 'Manitoba is not the place to do business for this immigrant.'- Reis Pagtakhan

This time, however, the deposit will be increased to $100,000. Investors will also have to pay a non-refundable processing fee and once here, they'll be more closely monitored to determine what effort they're putting into the business.

But while Pagtakhan said it's a good start, he's not convinced the risk of forfeiting an extra $25,000 in deposit fees will act as a deterrent.

"On the business side of things, I am still concerned about their model," he said.

"As to whether this is simply, 'I'm going to pay $100,000 for my visa to Canada, as opposed to $75,000,' it remains to be seen whether that will solve the problem."

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