News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

February 8, 2008


Manila, Philippines—Premier Gary Doer today signed an agreement with the Philippines government to work together on ways to streamline the immigration process including better connection of Filipino applicants with potential employers in Manitoba.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by Doer and Secretary Arturo Brion of the Department of Labour and Employment in the Philippines. 
“This agreement builds on the close relationship that already exists between Manitoba and the Philippines,” Doer said. “By working together, we can ensure the ethical movement of people, improve the application process, strengthen worker protection and better meet the needs of employers.”
Currently, more immigrants come to Manitoba from the Philippines than any other country, with Filipino newcomers accounting for more than 25 per cent of the province’s total immigration. Manitoba’s growing Filipino community now has nearly 50,000 residents. Manitoba received about 12,000 immigrants in 2007, with the goal of reaching 20,000 a year within in the next decade.
Features of the MOU include:
·         allowing Manitoba to pre-register employers and connect them with licensed immigration agencies that will pre-screen and prepare skilled workers;
·         ensuring immigration recruiters operate within the guidelines set out by Manitoba policies and legislation, as well as Philippines law, thereby enhancing worker protection; and
·         establishing a working group on shared priorities such as quicker processing of work permit applications and improving training in the Philippines to meet Manitoba standards.
Doer also announced the launch of a pilot project that will provide pre-migration information and orientation to provincial nominees and other workers destined for Manitoba. Developed in partnership with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the project is the first-of-its-kind to be offered by a Canadian province and will be delivered through the Canadian Immigration Integration Program office in Manila. It will be supported through the Labour Market Strategic Initiative, a cross-departmental partnership funded by Human Resources and Social Development Canada.
“We are always looking for ways to make the transition to Manitoba easier for people and their families,” Doer said. “This program will give participants an opportunity to develop settlement plans and connect to the wide range of resources that are available to them in Manitoba.”
The province currently has 16 organizations that serve the Filipino community under the umbrella of the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba. Services offered include settlement and integration supports as well as educational and cultural programs.
The premier said Manitoba’s approach to immigration helps address skilled labour shortages, while also being sensitive to the needs of migrating workers by focusing on permanent visas that allow individuals to move to Manitoba with their families.
Doer also praised the federal government for announcing that seven more immigration officers will be sent to the visa office in Manila to speed up the application process.
Doer is participating in a community and business mission to the Philippines that runs until Feb. 13. The mission includes dozens of leaders representing a range of companies, organizations and institutions and is part of regular visits to the Philippines by Manitoba trade and immigration officials. In addition to signing the MOU with Brion, Doer also met today with Philippines Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto Romulo.
The overall goals of the mission are to promote the province as a prime location for immigration and investment, introduce Manitoba businesses to new opportunities in the Philippines and further diversify Manitoba’s export markets.
Two-way trade between Manitoba and the Philippines totalled $29 million in 2006. Leading Manitoba exports to the Philippines include wheat, iron/steel articles, pork and processed foods. Top imports from the Philippines to Manitoba include TV cameras, electronic circuits, moving/grading/scraping or boring machinery, furniture and electronic parts.
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