While Canada is a large and diverse country, traditionally newcomers tended to settle in immigrant enclaves like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. The situation is changing, however, as immigration programs like the popular Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program become more of an attraction.
In an effort to more evenly distribute the benefits of immigration, in the 1980s Canada began looking for ways to promote immigration to less traditional destinations. To achieve this goal, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) were introduced. PNPs allow each province and territory to create their own tailored immigration program targeting immigrants with the best chance of success in their respective region. Quebec is the exception: the province has no need for a PNP since it already determines the selection criteria for its economic immigrants by administering its own immigration programs.
Manitoba was the first province to aggressively use the PNP to attract newcomers, and it has increasingly bore fruit: more than three-quarters of the province’s new immigrants last year arrived as part of the Manitoba PNP. Largely as a result, new Canadian census numbers released this month show that Manitoba’s population growth between 2006 and 2011 was the highest in 50 years.
Chart courtesy of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website; final numbers not available for 2011
Manitoba, in earlier times, was a lesser known destination for immigrants. The prairie province, located just west of Ontario, is now increasingly being built on immigration, with residents from all over the world speaking more than 100 different languages. New grand infrastructure projects, specialized services like the Manitoba Immigrant Center, and an effort to foster meaningful relationships between new arrivals and current residents, have all combined to make Manitoba a much more popular destination.
Manitoba’s Immigrant Center
Linda Lalande is Executive Director of the Manitoba Immigrant Center and is a big supporter of the Manitoba PNP. She explains that her facility is unique in the country in providing new immigrants an integrated approach to settlement. The center’s approach includes tailored job counselling and language help through settlement workers who meet with new immigrants on average 6-8 times in their first year.
“Ottawa is looking specifically at the model of the Immigrant Center [to copy in other provinces],” says Lalande, who goes on to stress its growth: “We saw 33% more clients last year. The center has moved from a 6,000 square foot facility to one with 18,000 square feet and we have plans for satellite offices outside of Winnipeg.”
Lalande also pointed out that the Immigrant Center is completely staffed by immigrants to Manitoba, and as an example of immigrant success in general, she said, “Of our last three hires, each now owns their own home, has their own vehicle, and those with older kids have them all on the honour role.”
The Value of Family and Friends in Manitoba
An emphasis of the Manitoba PNP is for newcomers to arrive already having a personal connection to the province. Because of the increase of Manitoba’s current population with roots abroad, more potential immigrants can take advantage of family and friends to support their nomination. For example:
- Two close friends in Manitoba can serve as an applicant’s sponsors. These friends are only required to have been permanent residents (PR) in the province for a minimum of one year. As well, there is no limit to how many immigrants a Manitoba PR or citizen can sponsor to immigrate to the province, as long as those that they previously sponsored settled in Manitoba.
- Under the Family Support stream of the Manitoba PNP, a broader range of family members can sponsor newcomers for immigration to Manitoba than the federal Family Class Sponsorship program. Of particular interest is that under the federal program, a two year moratorium has been put on sponsoring parents and grandparents, while for the Manitoba PNP, this option remains intact.
The Immigrant Center’s Lalande confirms that the Family Support stream is currently the most popular way immigrants are coming to Manitoba.
General and Priority Streams of the Manitoba PNP
The Manitoba PNP, like other provincial programs, has its own set of eligibility criteria, such as particular age brackets and minimum settlement funds. It is split between a more targeted Priority Stream, which benefits from quicker processing times, and a General Stream, which works on a points system that more broadly evaluates applicants across several criteria.
The Priority Stream includes 3 categories of eligibility criteria targeting those with a job offer and work experience in Manitoba, family support, or those with a post-secondary education from Manitoba who also have a job offer.
The Manitoba government also undertakes strategic recruitment initiatives to identify and then invite potential applicants to apply for its PNP. These initiatives fall outside of the scope of the General and Priority streams, but do benefit from quicker processing times.
While family members in Manitoba can be a means for applicants to qualify for the Manitoba PNP under both the Priority and General streams, applicants should only apply under the General Stream if they do not qualify for the faster Priority Stream.
The relevant eligibility criteria for those with family in Manitoba are as follows:
FAMILY STREAM (priority):
To be eligible, the applicant must:
- Have an affidavit of support from a close relative in Manitoba (parent, child, sibling, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, grandparent or first cousin)
- Give authority to disclose information about their application process to the sponsoring close relative
- Meet minimum requirements as follows:
- Age: Be between the ages of 21 to 49
- Education: Have a minimum of 1 year of post-secondary education or training
- Work: Have a minimum of 2 years of full-time work experience within the past 5 years (skilled or unskilled)
- Language: Have a minimum score of 5.0 on IELTS (General)
- Have the intent to establish themselves in Manitoba
- Be employable in Manitoba based on work experience
To be eligible, the applicant must show one of the following:
- 1 affidavit of support from a close relative in Manitoba
- 2 affidavits of support from close friends or distant relatives in Manitoba
- Evidence of 6 months of full-time work in Manitoba
- Proof of completion of an educational program in Manitoba (excluding language programs)
Applicants must also score at least 55 out of 100 in the General Stream’s point system. Points are awarded across the following criteria: age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and adaptability. Adaptability points are awarded for having relatives and friends in Manitoba, having worked or studied in Manitoba, as well as if the applicant is willing to live outside of Winnipeg.
Because of the success of the Manitoba PNP, along with similar successes in the other prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada has spread out where its immigrants settle, with the PNP being referred to as a prairie migrant magnet. Indeed, a report issued last month by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) highlights the program’s effectiveness: “Today 26 percent of all economic immigrants are destined for provinces other than Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, compared to 11 percent in 1997.”
The Manitoba PNP also includes separate categories for farmers and business applicants which will be explored in an upcoming newsletter.
Understanding the differences in eligibility criteria among the Canadian federal programs, let alone the different PNP programs available in provinces and territories, as well as Quebec’s programs, can be a difficult task. Also, following through with the application process, which can be different for every program, can be complicated.
The Law Firm of Campbell Cohen provides advice and guidance to its clients, no matter the federal or provincial program. The first step is to out what Canadian immigration program you may be eligible for, which you can do by filling out our free online eligibility assessment.
|For more information on:||See:|
|The Manitoba PNP in General||Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)|
|Questions and answers about the Manitoba PNP||Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) FAQ|
|The step-by-step process of submitting an immigration application for the Manitoba PNP||Canada Immigration Process - Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)|
|The province of Manitoba||About Manitoba|