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BARTLAW LLP Canadian Immigration Newsletter

When Express Entry Immigration is Not Possible,  Prince Edward Island’s Business Immigration Entrepreneur Program Offers an Excellent Alternative

The province of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.)’s provincial nomination program for entrepreneurs is an attractive option for experienced business owners and entrepreneurs who may not qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker program, or who have Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores too low to be selected by the federal government.

This program targets applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated experience as a business owner/operator, or high-level senior manager;
  • Intention to purchase an existing business or start a business in the province of Prince Edward Island;
  • Have a minimum verifiable personal net worth of CAD $600,000.00;
  • Must sign an escrow agreement with the province and submit a $200,000.00 deposit to the province, which is refunded upon meeting the terms of the agreement

Unlike many other provincial business immigration programs, applicants under the P.E.I. program can apply for permanent residence immediately rather than applying for a work permit to come to Canada initially.

Biometrics is a New Reality for Visa Applicants

Starting on July 31, 2018, many applicants from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa applying for a visitor visa, work/study permit, permanent resident status, or refugee or asylum status will be required to provide fingerprints and a photograph to Canadian Immigration as part of an expansion to its Biometrics Program. This expansion of the biometrics program in Canada is comparable to those in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Applicants will be able to provide biometric information at various locations, including overseas Visa Application Centers (VACs), local immigration offices, and Application Support Centers (ASCs) in the United States. As part of the expanded Biometrics Program, the capacity to collect biometrics is being added at overseas VACs in 99 countries around the world, as well as at Service Canada Centers and at 57 Ports of Entry. Most applicants will be required to provide their biometrics at a VAC prior to entering Canada. Only asylum claimants and work/study permit applicants who do not require a visa will be eligible to provide biometrics at a Port of Entry when entering Canada. Additionally, until an in-Canada biometrics service is established (scheduled for 2019), anyone applying for a visitor visa, work/study permit, or permanent residence from within Canada is exempt from having to provide biometrics.

Once collected, an applicant’s biometric information will be valid for the next 10 years.

In addition, overseas permanent residence applicants will be required to provide new biometric information even if they previously provided biometric information in the last 10 years.

The Canadian government’s expanded Biometrics Program will begin to apply to applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific, and the Americas starting on December 31, 2018.


The following specific groups are exempt from biometrics requirements:

  • Individuals under the age of 14 or over the age of 79;
  • Canadian citizens and permanent residents;
  • Visa-exempt foreign nationals (including US nationals) visiting Canada;
  • United States nationals applying for a work or study permit;
  • Heads of state and heads of government;
  • Diplomats of other countries and the United Nations, entering Canada on official business;
  • U.S. visa holders transiting through Canada;
  • Individuals applying for a visitor visa or work/study permit who already provided biometrics in support of a permanent resident application still in progress; and
  • Individuals applying for a visitor visa, work/study permit, or permanent residence from within Canada (until an in-Canada biometrics service is established in 2019).