A new department of advanced education, skills and immigration has been announced by Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister as part of the Canadian Prairie province’s bid to boost its COVID-19-stricken economy.
“Our pandemic recovery plan is focused on getting people back to work and ensuring new job opportunities for young Manitobans and new immigrants we welcome into our province,” said Pallister.
“This new department will focus on aligning advanced educational institutions with the needs of the labour markets of today and tomorrow by giving young Manitobans the skills they need to succeed and new immigrants the job opportunities our province can offer.”
Lac du Bonnet MLA Wayne Ewasko, a long-time teacher and guidance counsellor, is the minister overseeing the new department.
Manitoba announced the new department during a cabinet shuffle that saw nine ministers sworn in.
The newly-created Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration’s mandate includes attracting and welcoming more immigrants to Manitoba through the province’s Provincial Nominee Program and its connection with community partners.
The department is being created to promote access to Manitoba universities and colleges as part of a bid to give more economic and social opportunities to the province’s graduates and immigrants.
The province is hoping the new, stand-alone ministry will also:
- ensure greater linkages and alignment between the offerings of Manitoba’s advanced educational institutions and the skills needed to equip the labour force of the future;
- deliver student aid and financial assistance programs and bursaries that reward and create more educational opportunities for young Manitobans, and;
- take a leadership role in developing and delivering quality, relevant skills programming that will increase the participation of Manitobans in the economy through greater adult learning and literacy.
Last year, Manitoba sent out 5,105 Letters of Advice to Apply (LAA) in 26 draws. Upon receipt of an LAA, the prospective immigrant has 60 days to log into his or her account and gain access to the full Manitoba PNP application and complete it.
In 2020, 3,914 of those LAAs were issued under the Skilled Worker in Manitoba Stream (SWM) which selects foreign-trained workers with the required skills for specific employers and nominates those candidates for permanent residence in Canada. That stream prioritizes candidates with a strong attachment to Manitoba, with two pathways to Manitoba immigration.
That same year, Manitoba issued 603 LAAs through its International Education Stream (IES) which is for international graduates of Manitoban colleges and universities.
Manitoba also issued 588 LAAs last year through its Skilled Worker Overseas Stream (SWO) which includes both a dedicated Canada Express Entry Pathway and a direct provincial pathway. The SWO is for international skilled workers with skills and training in Manitoba’s in-demand occupations. Priority is given to applicants and spouses with close family connections, plus the language proficiency, training and experience to find jobs quickly.
The Prairie province also has a Business Investor Stream (BIS) which allows it to recruit and nominate qualified business investors and entrepreneurs from around the world who have the intent and ability to start or purchase businesses in Manitoba.