Demonstrating once again why it is important for representatives to contain “change of law” clauses in their retainer agreements, the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (“BC PNP“) has effective immediately suspended the Fast Track nomination option in the business immigration stream.
The suspension will affect applications in processing. Applicants with applications in processing who as of November 15, 2012, had not signed performance agreements with the Province of British Columbia (the “Province“) will not be eligible for the Fast Track option. Such applicants can either (1) continue under the regular nomination process, or (2) withdraw their application and receive a refund of their application fee.
Through the Fast Track option, BC PNP business applicants who obtained PNP supported work permits and who had arrived in British Columbia to set up their respective businesses could request immediate nomination for permanent residence if they posted a $125,000 performance bond with the Province. The bond was returned without interest to Fast Track nominees when they fulfilled their respective PNP performance agreements, but was forfeited by nominees if they failed to meet their performance obligations.
According to the Province, since 2007, only 26 Fast Track nominees successfully completed their performance agreements, compared with 261 business applicants nominated through the regular nomination process who fulfilled their performance agreements.
As any British Columbia immigration lawyer can confirm, since the Government of Canada suspended the Federal Immigrant Investor Program, the amount of inquiries about the BC PNP business applicants Fast Track Option have sky rocketed. Many of those inquiries came from individuals who clearly had no intention to actively manage a business in British Columbia.
Indeed, because of this, those law firms (such as ours) which enjoyed meeting with and representing entrepreneurs who were passionate about their business idea in British Columbia will likely welcome the changes that the BC PNP makes to preserve the integrity of the business program.
The BC PNP has produced a FAQ on the Fast Track Suspension, which can be found here.