Immigrant entrepreneurs to be charged $2,500
Last Updated: Friday, March 5, 2010 | 8:35 AM CT
Immigrants who want to come to Saskatchewan and set up a business will soon be charged $2,500 for that privilege.
The province says it will start charging immigrant entrepreneurs the fee in October.
And that doesn't sit well with Ernesto Hernandez, who's from El Salvador and is the owner of the EE Burritos restaurant in Saskatoon.
He says starting a business when you're new to Canada costs a lot of money and a $2,500 fee wouldn't make it any easier.
“I think it's very insensitive,” he said. “Not everybody has a lot of money. Now, when you have to pay $2,500 for fees and licensing, you're talking about $10,000 to $15,000 just to open a business. And that's only on government regulations.” However, Rupen Pandya, the Saskatchewan government's assistant deputy minister for immigration services, says immigrants who want to come to the province as entrepreneurs tend to already have a lot of money.
These applicants will welcome the $2,500 fee because it's a way to weed out applicants who aren't really interested in coming here, Pandya said.
“We had folks who were just making application to our program and other programs across the country just to see how far they can get along the path,” he said.
“What we're really interested in is quality applicants who are serious about living in Saskatchewan and we think that a fee demonstrates some of that commitment.”
Advanced Education, Employment and Labour Minister Rob Norris also said he didn't think a $2,500 fee would deter immigrants from applying.
“This is a fair fee for high-end entrepreneurs who are coming to invest in Saskatchewan,” he said. “For these individuals, it's a little more than a filing fee.”
The government will start charging the fee in October. All money will go into the general revenue fund.