PROVINCE IMPROVES SERVICE STANDARDS, RENEWS PROVINCIAL NOMINEE PROGRAM
– – – Helping Attract Skilled Workers, International Students Seeking Careers in Manitoba: Wishart
Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) applicants will now benefit from improved service standards, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today at an event highlighting renewed directions for the immigration program.
“We are pleased to implement higher service standards for applicants to restore the integrity of this important pathway to permanent residence in Manitoba,” said Wishart. “As of this month, all candidates who submit complete applications to the program will be processed in six months or less.”
Wishart noted the MPNP is an economic immigration program designed to attract job-ready skilled workers and active investors in Manitoba’s economy. This program has been a valued part of the immigration system since 1998, but in April 2016 a backlog of more than 5,100 applications had compiled, some dating as far back as 2013, he added.
Thanks to efforts over the last six months, the backlog has now been cleared, Wishart confirmed and noted that less than 70 files from prior years remain in process as the program awaits documents from applicants in accordance with fairness and integrity provisions. The minister also highlighted several features of the renewed program.
Due to Manitoba’s success in attracting international students seeking to build careers and become permanent Canadian residents, the minister confirmed the MPNP will include new pathways, supported by partnerships with post-secondary institutions that will encourage international students to choose training programs leading to in-demand jobs. Wishart noted over 11,000 international students from 125 countries study in Manitoba annually and expanded outreach initiatives will encourage those interested to pursue careers and settle in this province.
In addition, a new online resource that will include an in-demand jobs list will be updated regularly according to provincial labour market analysis and real-time labour market information from industry groups and training partners. The list will help prioritize invitations to apply from the Expression of Interest pool based on whether the candidate has in-demand occupational skills, is currently employed in Manitoba or has a high potential for employment. The minister noted the new resource will be published once approval is received from Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), in accordance with the Canada Manitoba Immigration Agreement.
“Better information sharing and openness will improve service for applicants and ensure the respectability of this program moving forward,” said Wishart. “Our new online resource will include priority areas such as increased francophone and regional immigration.”
In recognition that community connections help newcomers successfully settle in the province, the program will continue providing additional points to applicants with close family ties in Manitoba who are able to demonstrate employable skills. The minister also confirmed, in response to community feedback, the MPNP will no longer consider having a close relative in a different province or territory as a risk factor and subtract points from applicants on this basis.
Manitoba’s labour market forecast projects approximately 170,000 job openings in the province between now and 2022, with demand spread across multiple sectors including manufacturing, finance, services, trades and transportation, agri-business and information technology. At least 25 per cent of projected job-openings are expected to be filled by immigrants, the minister said.