Hundreds of PNP applicants still awaiting visas

Teresa Wright
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Close to 400 immigrants nominated by P.E.I. for permanent residency through PNP are still awaiting their visas.

It has been four years since P.E.I.’s immigrant investor program was shut down by the feds, but close to 400 immigrants nominated by P.E.I. for permanent residency are still awaiting their visas.

Information obtained from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) shows a total of 102 Provincial Nominee Program applications from P.E.I. were still not yet processed by immigration officials as of July 3, 2012.

But each application represents multiple people because an applicant will bring their family members with them when they move to Canada. That’s why a total of 391 individuals are still waiting for their Canadian visas.

Paul Northcott, a communications official with CIC, says the extended delays are due to the huge influx of applications submitted by P.E.I. in 2008.

“For the 2008 Annual Immigration Levels Plan, P.E.I. estimated they would nominate 1,000 provincial nominees. In 2008, applications for nearly 8,000 P.E.I. nominees were received by the department,” Northcott said in an email to The Guardian.

“It has taken time to process all these applications to a final decision.”

The federal government changed its regulations in 2008 after it learned P.E.I. was allowing Provincial Nominee Program applicants to invest in businesses in which they had no active involvement. CIC officials at the time said this violated the spirit of the program, which was established to encourage immigrants to settle in P.E.I.

The federal department notified P.E.I. it would be changing its rules and gave the province a few months to wind its existing program down.

Instead, provincial officials decided instead to nominate as many immigrants as possible before the new regulations came into effect on Sept. 2, 2008. P.E.I. submitted a total of 2,158 applications in 2008, according to CIC. This represents a total of 7,349 persons.

“For the 2008 Annual Immigration Levels Plan, P.E.I. estimated they would nominate 1,000 provincial nominees. In 2008, applications for nearly 8,000 P.E.I. nominees were received by the department,” Paul Northcott, a communications official with CIC

In 2009, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenny warned P.E.I. of extended delays due to this unexpected influx in PNP applications. At the time, he estimated some of P.E.I.’s nominees would have to wait five years for their visas.

Former Innovation Minister Allan Campbell refused to send out warning letters to P.E.I.’s applicants advising them of these delays, so Ottawa sent them out instead.

Four years later, hundreds of PNP applicants are still waiting for their visas.

As of July, 2,093 of P.E.I.’s PNP applications had been processed. Fifty applications, representing 172 persons, were denied and 15 applications were withdrawn.

The province did establish a contingency fund near the end of its program for refunds for those refused or who withdrew their residency.

This 9-million fund could provide a refund approximately $55,000 per applicant, but department officials have said these funds won’t be available until Ottawa has completed processing the backlogged files.

In the meantime, federal officials are plugging away at P.E.I.’s remaining PNP applications.

“We are continuing to process applications while exercising all appropriate due diligence,” Northcott wrote.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Geographic location: P.E.I., Canada, Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Lori
    November 10, 2012 - 19:04

    Good investigative reporting. Keep digging and reporting on this Theresa. You are doing a great job reporting.

  • keepdigging -you have the support of us non-criminals
    November 10, 2012 - 14:46

    This is not a pointless story, it is one of crime and corruption within government and the business community. Its about the financial abuse of immigrants. This story is not going away as much as some or most would want it to- It will come to legal charges of fraud and theft being handed out to those found in violation of the program- Long are gone the old days when no one paid attention to PEI, the level of finacial abuse is growen to such a large extent here on the island that can no longer go unnoticed. Get ready the guilty, cause you will pay for your crime- no one is above the Law and you are about to learn that harsh lesson, just like any other common criminal would

  • So which one had their CSC?
    November 09, 2012 - 18:46

    To sell investment products, such as shares in stock one must be insured and hold their CSC? My question is how did these professional people not know the preferred share structure was wrong and unacceptable?

  • Riddle Me This
    November 09, 2012 - 17:52

    Who Cares? Let's get serious here, the fact this is still looming in our local news is ridiculous. I'm glad the list is out and we know for sure that our entire business community, liberal, conservative or other wise, benefited from a great program. Now the air is clear and we can move on from this pointless story. I would like to see Theresa's count for PNP stories..

    • AMAZED
      November 09, 2012 - 22:13

      Business community benefited??? Lawyers and accountants reaped (raped) the best of this fund and should be held strictly accountable for any liabilities.YOU should have known if your client was eligible to receive said funds and if everything was on the up and up.Presumably this is why YOU carry liability insurance,leave taxpayers out of this equation.If the accountant didn't realize there was no entitlement the lawyer should have red flagged it,or, how do you account for the extravagant fees???

    • Chet
      November 10, 2012 - 06:07

      Whoa whoa slow down Ghizites and all lovers of traditional PEI corruption politics. The list is bogus. Many commentators have already pointed that out. And today in the Guardian we see a letter from Bill Callbeck clarifying that Callbecks Ltd. did not receive PNP and should not be on the list. So go easy with the cover up enthusiasm. When you demand silence on PNP you signal PEI as a corrupt, backward and racist place. Stop harming our reputation please. Ghiz and Brown have already done more than enough.

    • Victims of the program & honest citizens care
      November 10, 2012 - 18:25

      Honest citizens care that they live in a non-corrupt society. The program was abused and not followed so that immigrants were severely ripped off, robbed, and businesses committed fraud. The Island was severely told off by those who reviewed what had happened and many Canadians are in shock and awe that Islanders could be so corrupt and rip off so many immigrants, just sell Canadian citizenship. All those involved should be ashamed and held accountable for such actions. But, to make this whole thing even more disgusting and disgraceful, are people like 'Riddle me this' who downplays corruption and wrongdoing as if it is acceptable everywhere. Well, it is not accceptable everywhere. If you would get you head out of the sanddunes then maybe you would see how horrified others are, both on and off the Island, who did not and would never take part in such corruption are absolutely sick about the way this program and immigrants were abused and riped off. Shame shame shame!!

  • Islander
    November 09, 2012 - 17:50

    Why do these people have to wait until the rest of the applications are either accepted or rejected? Is this the government's way of telling them that the amount of their refund is dependant on how many others are rejected? That is highway robbery and the provincial government ought to have charges brought against them. The way I see it, either these people are going to get short changed or we the taxpayers have to pay them. Should be the people who received PNP money from the rejected immigrants and those intermediaries pay that money back....not the taxpayer and the applicants shouldn't be short changed. Where is the attorney general in all this?

  • Hold on a minute
    November 09, 2012 - 17:43

    SO you mean to tell me all of the slanderous material that the tories were sending around during the last election saying the premier benefited directly from the PNP program werent true at all? Talk about filthy politics.... that mixed in with Jason 'the hypocrite' Kenny launching the ridiculous investigation days before the election was called... man oh man... Didn't Kenny just sign a behind-closed-door deal to strip refugees of their supplementary health benefits... Ya... you're a real class act JK!

  • Read between the BS
    November 09, 2012 - 17:02

    Looking at the big picture of this whole program all I can say is that it is a tremendous shame that PEI lost the PNP file for no other reason than the Federal Conservatives playing the worst kind of politics and shutting the program down because there was a change from a Provincial Conservative government to a Liberal one. The program ran for almost 10 years before the Liberals came to power and the investors were never “actively involved” in any of the companies prior to 2007 or after 2007; and you don’t have to take my word for it, go ask some of the 1400 companies outlined in the 29 page report who received units and you’ll find out that the investors were never involved. So the point that CIC makes about shutting the program down because of lack of foreign investor involvement is nothing but a bunch of political BS.

  • Good one-eh
    November 09, 2012 - 14:08

    A pure disgrace to the people of P.E.I. The Q.E.H. is looking for extra funds right now wouldn't that PNP money come in handy now .instead of giving it to millionaires.

  • islander guy
    November 09, 2012 - 13:50

    Give them back their money and and tell them to stay in their own country

    • Native Island Observer
      November 09, 2012 - 17:34

      Is this still in the news? From 2008? Move on already nobody cares. I've talked to several immigrant families that came here through the program that say it's the best change they've ever made. My cousin has a business that would have gone under if not for the program. Give it a rest already and move on to more important things.

    • TO ISLANDER GUY
      November 09, 2012 - 19:03

      Unless you are Aboriginal, you and your family were also immigrants and I would truly like you to leave.

  • not grants then it was manna from MacMillan
    November 09, 2012 - 13:43

    Dynamite Dick Brown denies they were grants. It appears the immigrants were investing in citizenship but once Brooke MacMillan changed the rules these funds were given away as no strings attached as explained By Irwin Ellis to the farmer who got a 18,000.00 dollar tax bill from CRA. Is it manna from MacMillan?? It was called an investment but it was never an investment that should be provided any privacy. Everything elected people touch is PUBLICLY ACCOUNTABLE, dig it and thanks eh

  • jimmy buffet
    November 09, 2012 - 13:20

    I haven't heard of any lawyers disbarred over this debacle yet ,I guess we can only wait and hope.I would like to know the names regardless so I can avoid ever retaining one of them.I always believed lawyers should hold themselves to a higher moral standard but I guess all this loose cash separated the greedy from the ethical.Natures way of culling the herd,now let them fall on their swords.

  • maybe
    November 09, 2012 - 12:52

    Maybe we do need Maritime province ammalgamation.

  • oye vey
    November 09, 2012 - 12:21

    400? What the H E double hockey sticks for? I currently know more people looking for work than I know who have work. I could understand Ontario, Alberta, BC having a waiting list 400 long but here in PEI?

  • No Shame
    November 09, 2012 - 12:04

    The agents who connected the investors with the companies are the ones who made most of the money. Who were the agents? Well Blake Doyle for one. Interesting. Isn't he the new PC party president?

  • It All Makes Sense
    November 09, 2012 - 11:58

    It blew me away that the Ghiz Government got back into power after their wasteful spending habits and corruption during their first four years of governing. However, it all makes sense now that the PNP list of businesses has been provided. Have a look at these businesses and than have a look at the amount of people who are connected to them. It is many. If I can remember correctly, Mrs Crane was going to blow this PNP scandal wide open if she became premier….something that all these people wanted hidden. This is quite the thing that Ghiz did to get votes…free money people!!!!….was it worth it? I have a feeling that a small group of folks can protest all you want about the corruption of this Ghiz government but however….after seeing the high volume of people involved and the amount of people that Ghiz controls…. you will just not have the numbers needed for change. There is too much greed here on PEI.

  • Lauren Redmond
    November 09, 2012 - 11:51

    To NOT GRANTS, do you honestly think that people actually got shares in companies, lord love a duck child...That was NEVER the intention, their hope is to receive citizenship...and those that received PNP money, they bought toys, paid off their mortgages....and helped their weathly friends. No immigrant received shares in any company or corporation and to suggest that this somehow was an investment is simply misleading and while our focus is on this, I wonder what else they are sliding past us.....hhmmmm

    • Scandal
      November 09, 2012 - 16:38

      The immigrants were given 'non-voting shares' in a company. They had shares, and could attend board meetings but did not have one ounce of say in any company that they 'bought' into.

  • Wayne MacKinnon
    November 09, 2012 - 11:29

    Now are all Islanders going to join together and demand a public inquiry into this fiasco. It is the only way the situation here is going to change. The way we are being governed now is not sustainable. Think about your children and grandchildren's future.

  • Wayne MacKinnon
    November 09, 2012 - 10:50

    Great job in getting the story out Thersa. For anyone who never had the opportunity to see the PNP LIST which connects the names of the businesses with the principles of the companies here is the link. http://ruk.ca/sites/ruk.ca/files/pnp_people.csv

  • Stoned Miles
    November 09, 2012 - 10:48

    Richard Brown should have come clean on this PNP mess long ago. Shameful. As for Robert Ghiz I predict he will not even be living here a year from now. Horrendous behaviour. Very abusive. Or very stupid. There is no escaping one conclusion or the other.

  • Bruce
    November 09, 2012 - 10:09

    Just for once , I would like to see all those people who have been writing in that this is this pnp issue is the worst thing that they have ever seen get a grip. If the truth be known , I would bet that the main motive for all this " CONCERN" is fueled by 1) political hate 2) not getting any of this money 3) plain lack of knowledge of what the rules are 4) noisy or love of the rumor mill . What is quite apparent by these ( CONCERNED ) people is they have too much time on their hands so they go of in a tangent to vent their fustrations,and pnp just happens to be one way of doing it

    • I agree Bruce
      November 09, 2012 - 15:02

      It is time to quit stirring the pot (all of this is old news anyway) and get on with life.

    • Denied PNP Money
      November 09, 2012 - 15:14

      How much money did you get Bruce?

  • mej
    November 09, 2012 - 09:55

    Just trying to add up the numbers. As of July there were 2093 applications processed; 65 applications were either denied or withdrawn and there are 102 yet to be processed, representing 391 individuals. But there were only 2158 applications in 2008 "according to CIC" If there were only 2158 applications, and 2093 were processed that leaves 65(which were denied or withdrawn) Where did the extra 102 yet to be processed come from???

  • James McGoo Lakeside
    November 09, 2012 - 08:28

    This story is important because the outcome will ultimately reveal the character of PEI. The wrongful conduct has occurred. It is well documented. The impacts are still lingering - people awaiting resolution as a result of what occurred in PEI. To have officials and some residents continue to "rationalize" less than honorable behavior does not help. Our leadership should admit to the facts, let the law take it's course, and find a way to assist those still waiting. Denial and continued rationalization of these events is childish and unworthy of the people of PEI.

  • Just Duke Reel
    November 09, 2012 - 07:54

    How many of these remaining immigrants correspond to Islanders who blew their PNP take on personal luxuries or just added to an already large bank account? Think about it. Think about the stress that has happened to these people. Now stop for a moment. Put aside your lack of regard for them because they are immigrants, people that you know nothing about. Think of them as a family like your family. It feels different. Does it not? And now think about your Liberal vote. The past is the past but there our future votes coming. And a new NDP leader. Think about it folks. You did not punish Robert Ghiz and Richard Brown for how callously they behaved with the lives of real people last fall. But you still can. If their names are on the ballots next time. You still can. Think about it. Think NDP. We still have a chance to look decent int he face of the world. Think about it.

  • John W.A. Curtis
    November 09, 2012 - 07:36

    Islanders are seeing P.E.I.'S reputation burn because of the ghiz government. BURN BABY BURN.

  • Resident
    November 09, 2012 - 07:33

    Class action suit is coming to PEI taxpayers. Make no mistake, people who have such money to invest are not dumb. The Agent companies who racked up hundreds of millions in fees through this pyramid scheme need to be investigated for defrauding the Immigrants and PEI businesses. These are selected 10-15 local Legal and Accounting firms. That's where the real problem and links to political corruption is. Going after a few abusive businesses on the PNP recipient list would be a waste of time.

    • Come From Away
      November 09, 2012 - 17:05

      I absolutely agree. It appears to be a completely unethical and immoral way of doing business. These lawyers should be ashamed of themselves - but since they don't appear to be - brazen instead and full of denial - where is the law society in all this?. It is their job to oversee those in the law profession.I imagine, since many of them are QC, that it is a bit like the police policing themselves. Time to stop looking the other way! PEI deserves better. It is an embarassment in front of the rest of the country and the world. Give them their money back along with a written apology, please.

  • Sylvia
    November 09, 2012 - 07:19

    Teresa, thank you for the work you're doing on this. Keep digging and we'll keep reading.

    • I Second SYLVIA
      November 09, 2012 - 13:25

      Yes. Islanders know it's next to impossible to do investigative journalism - any effort in this direction is so appreciated. (Wish the overtime pay could be better!)

  • cromwell
    November 09, 2012 - 07:14

    So we allowed totally unsuitable immigrants from Asia and the Middle East to come to Canada simply because they had the money to bribe their way in, while at the same time denying legitimate candidates who followed the proper procedures. Also while we are looking for those who benefited from the PNP (politicians, lawyers, accountants, etc.), let's not forget the middle-men who actively solicited immigrants from China, etc.

  • Marie
    November 09, 2012 - 07:10

    A good honest lawyer ( trust me...that was hard to say) should step forward and take on the government...at all levels...on behalf of the people that had their life's work and savings taken by a few greedy pigs. I'm not offended that Anne and Gilbert are owned by Chinese. Who do you think has kept Anne of Green Gables alive all these years? There's nothing wrong with LEGITIMATE business dealings...they DO stimulate the economy. But what this particular ship of fools has done appears totally illegal and is going to destroy the Island's name and economy for years.

  • Chester Field
    November 09, 2012 - 06:58

    All I can say is, if there is a pay back here to immigrants than it damn well better not be on the taxpayer, that would be me and you, if there is a payback to the immigrants, it better be from the recievers of the funds.

  • don
    November 09, 2012 - 06:13

    what is bad is that the minister are put into the firing squad but only one is to blame and that is ghizzy. he has the last word. he has to go. but is the back room boys of the island liberal party got the back bone to do it. and do it means fire ghizzy?

  • statler
    November 09, 2012 - 05:58

    Mabey 400 of these $5 companies that were formed to defraud thousands out of immigrants should pay for these visa

  • don
    November 09, 2012 - 05:57

    This just proves the lies, crooks in the ghizzy government and it boils down to him he is the leader. So ghizzy who is going to be fired. Or are you going to say nothing was done wrong? But this story admits your gang was breaking the law. (Tourism Charlottetown, which created two corporations that both received PNP funds – TCI Major Events and TCI Facilities.) as a tax payer I think we have the right to see the law breakers charged and theses companies be forced to pay back the money. And I do not blame Mr. Roach but I see now why you got brown out to protect him from his illegal work. but again you are the boss the same as the Callbeck government Catherine was leader same as you and as they say the buck stops at the top so I think it is only right you step down in face of this mess,liers no other way of saying it. You knew what was going on and you allowed it. Now liberal voters you voted theses crooks back in so in a way you are just as much to blame as them. And to the back room boys of the liberal party how much did you get? And how much did the ole boys in the PC party get? And when are you going to come on cbc and admit the laws were broken and when the government breaks the laws that is a disgrace to all ISLANDERS. And this liberal government is a “disgrace” . and all the things that your government has done wrong will come out and no luck will fallow anyone that lied in this PNP program.

  • mr. nobody
    November 09, 2012 - 05:54

    no. absolutely not. no more. shut the door and make these thieves pay back the money.

  • One of the Great Unwashed
    November 09, 2012 - 05:53

    OBVIOUSLY NO SMELL TEST, but Did the recipients have to meet some threshold of financial stability? Could a newly incorporated company, without significant capital receive PNP money? Could a technically bankrupt company (liabilities exceeding assets) receive PNP money? Was it simply 'free money' for those 'invited' to apply? What was the average legal fee charged per unit? What was the average accountant's fee per client? Was the recipient responsible for his fee to provide a business plan, or was that charged to the PNP immigrant? So many questions...

  • Chester L
    November 09, 2012 - 05:44

    The View From Martinvale...................Stay the course Ms Theresa 1. If one was to hire a " Body reading expert " then Richard Brown would have lots more to reveal regarding his role, by the look on his face.....hhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmm 2. Their is really no more comment that can be added as their has been a tremendous outpouring of thoughts and discussion on this PNP file.....This Government with any release now is just to prolong the inevitable , they are properly shredding documents, selling off ill gotten assets, changing banking arrangements all that can be done to hide their decietfulness........Truth will out!!!!.............How Are The Mighty Fallen..seems to fit what is to come.

  • Ashamed to be an ISLANDER.
    November 09, 2012 - 05:29

    The nightmare continues. It would not surprise me if they(Liberals ) rename the Homburg Theatre, the Ghiz Theatre. Even better, change the name of the province to GambinoVille.Islanders, wake up and stop these politicians from ruining your lifes and your childrens lifes. Start asking for resignations from these corrupt people.

  • kyle
    November 09, 2012 - 04:01

    Since the court ordered publication of the company names many comments have been made insinuating that the PCs were in this scandal up to their necks, This charge seems odd since the PC has consistently demanded transparency, not the wish of a guilty party. It would help understanding if the numbers from the Binns' government were given by year. My guess is that he did not sell the Canadian birthright which is what Ghiz & the Gang did.

  • Messy pants professionals
    November 09, 2012 - 02:58

    Well all you lawyers and accountants have ducked the bullets for years, never offering any comment or acknowledging what we are all seeing so far. Rule books and ethics were thrown out by the government, lawyers and accountants simultaneously over millions and millions and a very greedy go at the trough in unison. It would appear that the time to start messing in your pants has arrived. The picture of one fella raising money for hospital equipment really caught got me to wondering. Can the taxpayers hold the professional corporations responsible for what appears to be allot of liability. We trusted these guys and they are very well insured. thanks eh?

  • Joe Blow
    November 09, 2012 - 00:32

    Keep digging!!! There is a lot more to this story that needs to be uncovered!! Time to get to the bottom of this whole scandal and time for the crooks to go to jail for fraud!

  • Unbelievable
    November 08, 2012 - 23:35

    I think Richard Brown should be the one who explains all of this. He should have been let go from the party!

  • rosieredrose
    November 08, 2012 - 23:16

    With the end of 2012 fast approaching, it will be very difficult for Prince Edward Islanders to determine the top story for this year. We may be a small province but there are so many stories from which to select. Now that more information is released regarding the PNP ,it will probably outrace other great stories to the number 1 position!!!

  • I wonder
    November 08, 2012 - 23:14

    I wonder where the money's coming from to refund the unsuccessful applicants? It should have been held in trust for them until they receive notification of issuance of their immigration visas - but that's not how this government ran the programme, the money was taken and spent/given away.........

    • to I Wonder
      November 09, 2012 - 10:36

      The article does state: "The province did establish a contingency fund near the end of its program for refunds for those refused or who withdrew their residency." Does that answer your question?

  • Sorry Ghiz its looking like your name ruined
    November 08, 2012 - 22:31

    Well if we start an inquiry quickly and get the lead out of the judges pants we might have a party reason for 2014. It has been suggested we become the deathbed of public office corruption which would be a modern way to dovetail in with the cradle of Confederation. Will any Canadians come here anymore???? thanks eh

  • public inquiry watch your caucus Ghiz boy
    November 08, 2012 - 22:16

    Every day now the file gets worse. We still have to ask the lawyers and accountants why the fees they collected were more than the grants given out. The list so far brings many professionals into very murky waters and almost all the big shots are involved up to their teeth, and they are not saying anything yet. ...........The entertainment value is good if we here up and send the criminals to jail. Allot of entertainment people in the loop. The con fed centre was even fudging fake companies to get money and it looks like Anne and Gilbert is owned by chinese.

    • Not grants
      November 09, 2012 - 07:15

      Please don't use the word "grants". PNP money was not grants, that would imply a gift of some sort. This money was investment. The same as if you or I were to buy shares in IBM or Microsoft. The immigrant investors were buying a stake in companies. Unfortunately, from what it sounds like, it appears that in many cases their money was taken by the owners of companies, and the investors did not receive their share of the company in return.