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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

The winds of change are blowing for the MPNP

by Michael Scott

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program is highly regarded within the local Filipino expatriate community. Who does not know someone who came to the province under the program? Has the community grown because of the MPNP? Just look around Winnipeg and rural centres. All have experienced significant population growth because of the MPNP and most would agree it has added value to the Manitoba economy. But nothing lasts forever in the material world. I can hear the strains of Willie Nelson’s lyrics:

The winds of change are always blowing
And every time I tried to stay
The winds of change continued blowing
And they just carried me a way

For “all the programs (the MPNP not the ‘girls’) I’ve loved before,” the winds are blowing, commencing with the premier’s announcement of a renewal strategy and the reaction from the official NDP opposition in the province. Which way are the winds blowing?

First, it is important to note some of the changes that have occurred over the last quarter of 2016 in terms of the MPNP. Consider the statistics published by the MPNP on program activity, specifically the Expression of Interest (EOI) selection and how it relates to overseas applicants, not those inside Manitoba on work permits.

  • Under EPO draw 20 on August 24, 2016 – 638 overseas applications were drawn from the EOI inventory of profiles submitted online with the minimum score of 543 points;
  • Under EOI draw 21 on September 21, 2016 – only 40 overseas applicants were invited to apply with the minimum score rising to 620;
  • Under EOI draw 22 on October 28, 2016 – only 27 overseas applicants were invited to apply with the minimum score rising again to 712;
  • Under EOI draw 23 on November 29, 2016 – 29 overseas applicants were invited to apply with a minimum score of 713; and
  • Under EOI draw 23 on December 30, 2016 – a new low of 20 overseas applicants were invited to apply with a minimum score rising to 787.

There is no question that change is occurring. The numbers are graphic and readily apparent to all.

On the one side the Leader of the Opposition, Flor Marcelino, has embarked upon a public awareness campaign to make Manitobans, especially in newcomer communities, aware of the changes that are coming and those that are here right now. She pointed out to Premier Pallister that over 150,000 newcomers had settled in Manitoba since 1999 and that growing population supports a growing provincial economy. “Newcomers have a real-GDP impact of over $350 million per year.” She correctly pointed out the historically low unemployment numbers for the province and that the robust economy owes much to the MPNP. She asked that the same question that many others have asked: “Why are you trying to fix something that isn’t broken?”

MLA Flor Marcelino has taken her opposition to change and defense of the existing MPNP program to the community. I encourage all interested parties to attend one of her rallies and find out firsthand what the opposition plans in terms of their response to the renewal plans announced by the premier.

Check the MPNP website for a generalized description of the premier’s plans for change. The details of which will be announced later in the spring. The PC government is embarking upon a program of stressing job creation in partnership with Manitoba business. We must wait to see more of what his “innovative partnerships” bring. We should know by April 2017 what the “renewed” MPNP looks like. The program is already changing, as evidenced by the numbers listed above. All interested parties are encouraged to keep up to date on not only the actual operation of MPNP, such as the invitations to apply for overseas applicants, but also to the public announcements on the MPNP website and also for the public forums hosted by Flor Marcelino.

The winds of change are blowing and Manitobans can determine if these changes are positive or necessary. The NDP leader expresses her strong concern that the change may be reflective of any anti-immigration position on the part of the government. Her position has been clearly set forth and speaks from the experience of several terms in office as the steward of the MPNP. But we must be fair to the current PC government and wait for April 2017. The changes may be informed and beneficial to the provincial economy. Wait to see what the wind called “MPNP renewal” brings.

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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