Canada immigration news: Manitoba’s 2022 budget has earmarked $5 million for immigration programming to attract newcomers to the Prairie province and fill jobs going begging for a lack of Canadians to fill them.
“Labour shortages have been identified in Manitoba across sectors and within businesses of all sizes,” the province notes in its budget document.
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“Immigration is an economic driver that can be used to fill labour market needs that cannot be filled domestically.”
Manitoba Wants Green Light From Ottawa to Bring in More Immigrants
Attracting and retaining immigrants to the province is being seen as a vital component in ensuring Manitoba’s economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The province is already in talks with Ottawa to renegotiate the Canada-Manitoba Immigration Agreement, which has been in place in its current form since 2003, and hopes to hammer out a new deal by the end of this summer.
“Revised immigration targets are also under consideration in 2022 with a view to expanding the current program, informed by a new temporary task force on immigration,” notes the province’s budget document.
In late March, members of Manitoba’s newly-created Immigration Advisory Council began looking for ways to improve the province’s immigration policies and procedures.
The advisory council, headed by World Refugee Council chair Dr. Lloyd Axworthy and Manitoba Immigration Minister Jon Reyes, includes 20 other Manitobans and was formed in late February.
Immigration Advisory Council Working on Manitoba Report
“This group is made up of individuals with expertise related to immigration services, governance, economic development, analysis, project management and community integration,” said Axworthy. “I know they will provide clear recommendations and concrete actions to the Manitoba government later this year and I’m excited to begin this work.”
The council’s job is to:
- promote Manitoba and attract more immigrants and business investors to the province;
- streamline the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program, especially with regards to setting the right balance between the province’s regional labour market, economic development and community needs, and;
- foster Manitoba’s settlement and integration programs and services, as well as foreign credential recognition programs, to encourage labour market attachment, improve foreign credential recognition and bolster immigrant retention.
“As we recover from the pandemic, we need to encourage economic growth, invest in education, training and job creation and support investment, and immigration is one part of this bold plan,” said Reyes.
“I look forward to working with the council as we review the current system and recommend creative new ways to welcome people to our province and create a place where people want to come to work, live, prosper and put down roots for their families.”
The Immigrant Advisory Council is expected to produce a final report by the end of the year.
In February, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson said the council’s work would ensure Manitoba continues to welcome all newcomers, including refugees and international students, and the province becomes more of a destination for immigration and business investors.
MPNP Selects Immigrants Through Four Streams
Under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP), the province selects candidates for immigration based on its specific economic needs through four streams:
- the Skilled Worker in Manitoba Stream;
- Skilled Worker Overseas Stream;
- International Education Stream, and;
- Business Investor Stream.
The program’s aim is to be flexible to Manitoba’s labour market and broader economic priorities. Those priorities are communicated to candidates via a regularly updated list of In-Demand Occupations.
During the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, immigration to Manitoba slowed to a trickle, falling by almost 54.4 per cent from 18,910 new permanent residents in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic, to only 8,630 new permanent residents in 2020.
Since then, immigration to Manitoba has largely rebounded, rising by almost 91.9 per cent to hit 16,560 new permanent residents last year. That’s only 12.4 per cent shy of the pre-pandemic levels.
The funds earmarked for immigration in the latest budget come only a few months after Manitoba announced a call for applications for up to $2 million for projects that support developing community connection projects for newcomers.
Organizations that were deemed eligible to apply until March 7 included:
- service provider organizations offering services for newcomers;
- established non-profit organizations, community groups, registered companies, and;
- direct service and program providers.