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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

Changes in MPNP skilled worker selection

by Michael Scott

The much-anticipated announcement from the Manitoba government on changes to MPNP has finally been made – at least in a press release. First there was the minor change in employer registration for MPNP certificate holders effective April 1, 2017. Effective that date, employers of PNs no longer have to register under the Worker Recruitment and Protection Act (WRAPA). Now for the changes in MPNP for skilled workers…

Training and Education Minister Ian Wishart announced on April 6, 2017 the directions his government is taking the MPNP.

“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.”

The department has been attending to the old backlog. In 2016 there were over 5,100 applications in the backlog, some dating from 2013. MPNP assessment staff have been working to reduce this backlog and at this time only 70 files remain in process. This commitment to a faster turnaround time and dedication to the task is something we can all applaud.

The Minister’s announcement included specifics about the direction of the selection process. He spoke of Manitoba’s effort to attract international students and the new pathways the department was pursuing supported by partnerships with post-secondary institutions. The government’s intention is to encourage international students to choose educational programs leading to jobs that are in demand in the province.

Wishart pointed out that over 11,000 international students from 125 different countries study in Manitoba annually. There is little wrong with the MPNP looking to attract international foreign students to pursue careers and settle in Manitoba. This is a goal shared by all provinces.

The Minister spoke about new online resources, including an in-demand jobs list, which can be updated regularly as market needs change. The list will help MPNP staff prioritize applications, especially those suited for Expression of Interest. The actual list will be published once approval is obtained from 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.” The Minister predicts 170,000 job openings by 2022, with over 25 per cent of projected job vacancies filled by immigrants.

The Minister allayed some of the fears in the local community by assuring all that the MPNP will continue to allocated points to applicants with close family ties in Manitoba if they possess employable skills. He also assured program users that the presence of relatives in other Canadian provinces would no longer be considered a risk factor and a reason to subtract points. The big news is that MPNP will serve as an effective way to recruit needed skilled workers from abroad. We now have to wait to see how the announcement of changes will impact on the selection process of interested parties from the Expression of Interest database to the issuance of invitation to apply letters. The eyes of all interested parties, especially the MLA critics, Flor Marcelino and Cindy Lamoureux, will remind us all if the Minister’s good intentions are not met.

Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: mscott.ici@gmail.com.

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