HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's auditor general is criticizing an immigration program that placed people in six-month work programs, saying it failed to properly screen employers.

Jacques Lapointe's report released today looks at the province's immigration mentorship program, but notes it was handcuffed by a lack of information made available by the provincial government.

The auditors did a sample survey of the businesses chosen to mentor immigrants and found that 14 out of 16 weren't qualified.

The report also concludes the government didn't properly monitor the private-sector contractor that ran the program, and didn't track whether immigrants stayed in the province.

The mentorship program required immigrants to pay up to $130,500 to participate in the program in return for being placed in a middle management job at a Nova Scotia company.

The program was suspended in June 2006 when problems emerged, and the remaining immigrants in the program were given the option of receiving a $100,000 refund provided they lived in Nova Scotia for 12 months.