N.B. Immigrants Hit With $75K Deposit

N.B. immigrants hit with $75K deposit

CBC News
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 | 7:27 AM AT
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The New Brunswick government is demanding that immigrant entrepreneurs pay a $75,000 deposit when they arrive as a way to keep more of them in the province longer.

The entrepreneurs will get that money back, provided they stay for two years and run a business for at least 12 months.

Tony Lampert, the executive director of the New Brunswick government's provincial nominee program, said the province believes too many of the entrepreneur immigrants who come to New Brunswick end up leaving within a short time for other provinces.

“The retention rate is around 60 per cent, which for a small province is high, but it's below what our mandate is, and so we have to start working on increasing it,” Lampert said.

The immigrant will get the deposit back after they meet the criteria. Several other provinces have similar deposits.

In return, the province plans to expand a mentorship program, which is run with local chambers of commerce, to help immigrant entrepreneurs learn the ropes of doing business in New Brunswick.

Stephen Green, a lawyer at Canada's largest immigration law firm in Toronto, said the New Brunswick government shouldn't wait two years to refund the money to people who choose to come to the province.

“Why not give this money immediately to the foreign national who immigrates to the province, so they can use it to buy a better business, to put more money into the economy?” Green said.

Deposit doesn't violate rights

Although he has questions about how the fee is structured, Green said the deposit is legitimate and doesn't violate an immigrant's right to mobility within Canada.

“It's a contractual matter between us and them, and if they meet the contractual obligations they will be getting their deposit back, and if they don't it stays with us,” Green said.

“But it has no implications on mobility, because they are still free to go within Canada, wherever they want to go.”

As a part of the New Brunswick government's agenda, it said early in its mandate that it wanted to increase the province's population by 100,000 by 2025.

The latest figures from Statistics Canada released in December showed New Brunswick's population grew by 989 people from July to September. That brought it to just shy of the goal to attract 6,000 new people to the province by the end of 2009.

When the population growth strategy was released in 2008, the provincial government announced that it would focus on bringing immigrants to the province who possess skill sets needed in the economy or who are entrepreneurs.

The Prince Edward Island government announced in December that it wanted to bring back its provincial nominee program, which helped recruit immigrant entrepreneurs.

The New Brunswick government also announced recently that it would make it easier for family members of immigrants under the nominee program to come to New Brunswick themselves as long as they have skills the province wants.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/02/16/nb-immigration-provincial-nominee-634.html#ixzz0fiVicEpf