It seems like Prince Edward Island is a nice place to visit but thousands of potential residents aren't ready to actually live there.
The Canadian Border Security Agency has recently launched an investigation into almost 500 applications from Chinese citizens seeking to be part of the province's nominee immigration program.
Under the program, potential immigrants can receive permanent resident status by depositing a $200,000 returnable deposit with the provincial government and committing another $150,000 investment in opening and operating a business on P.E.I. Of course, they`re expected to live on the Island in order to operate the business.
Many however never actually go there to live. They are using what is termed an address of convenience to receive their paperwork, which is then forwarded to them wherever they might be. Just three addresses were used in more than 460 applications alone.
The program is meant to be a means to fast track the immigration process for legitimate immigrants, but it is clearly being abused. P.E.I. is becoming a gateway for folks who would not otherwise be able to immigrate to other regions of the country as easily.
Critics of the program suggest the abuse was to be expected, since the reward of permanent residency was granted before many of the potential businesses were actually established.
This is not the first time addresses of convenience have been used to circumvent provincial regulations aimed at improving the way of life in Anne's Land. It was suggested that when the Island government amended its land use and taxation legislation to effectively increase taxes for non-resident landowners that many non-residents used post office boxes on the Island to receive their mail.
This was their “Island” address.
PNP programs have a long history of misuse in many jurisdictions. It is refreshing to see something actually being done now to correct the abuses.
Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister living in Springhill.