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N.B. stops accepting immigration applicants from China

Date: Thursday Nov. 3, 2011 6:52 AM ET
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick has halted all applications under a Chinese immigration pilot project following an internal review of the province's nominee program.
The decision announced Wednesday follows a review by auditor general Kim MacPherson, who in February raised concerns about the provincial nominee program.
MacPherson noted that the province accepted more than 5,500 immigrants under the nominee program between 1999 and 2009 but didn't track where they ended up living.
The provincial government said it has withdrawn nomination applications made at visa offices in Hong Kong and Beijing.
As well, applications under the provincial nominee program have been turned down.
Labour Minister Martine Coulombe acknowledged there are areas within the program that need to be improved and said the province is working with Ottawa to do that.
MacPherson said in her report that there was no way of determining how many immigrants maintained full-time employment or if applicants made the required investment of at least $125,000 in provincial businesses.
Without that information, she said it's impossible to report on the program's performance.
MacPherson said that while the Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn't allow the government to require immigrants to stay in the province, it can at least monitor where they settle.
The province said affected applicants can submit a new application under the business applicant category of the nominee program and those applications will be given priority processing.

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