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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

MPNP refusal letters: Appeal or reapply?

by Michael Scott

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program is preparing for a major overall in April 2017. The program continues to clear up the existing backlog of submissions: those submitted before the freeze in July 2014 and those submitted after the freeze was lifted in April 2015.

The refusal decision can be quite devastating for applicants and supporters, some of whom have been waiting for over two years. A refusal does not mean that the applicant cannot appeal the decision or cannot apply again. It is important, however, to understand what went wrong and why. In order to illustrate my point I shall select details referenced on a refusal letter from the earlier backlog; applications that were submitted prior to July 31, 2014.

It is important for all refused applicants and supporters to examine in detail the refusal letter. There are several things that you must consider:

  1. Check the name and the file number. The MPNP may have sent you a refusal letter in error;
  2. Check that the file number is the same one the applicant or the supporter submitted to ensure that once, again no error was committed;
  3. It is important to note that the MPNP, as a general guideline, “assesses an applicant’s employment potential in their occupation by comparing their documented education, training, work experience and language skills with the published employment requirements for the occupation in Manitoba;”
  4. Check the scoring system to ensure that no errors were made in the assignment of points. If the applicant scored, in this example, more than 60 points there must be another reason for the refusal decision;
  5. The refusal letter specifies that the MPNP “may not approve an application if the program officer is not satisfied that the applicant meets the MPNP criteria.” At this point the refusal letter will specify the “assessed occupation” by the occupational title and the National Occupation Classification (NOC) code and cite a deficiency in the language proficiency, for example, because the applicant was “unable to demonstrate sufficient English language skills to be employable in Manitoba;”
  6. The MPNP does not dispute the close support of family or friends but it must determine if the applicant’s potential for “economic establishment” would be enough to overcome the challenges of working in the assessed occupation.

The above factors may vary with different applicants, but I have found similarities with assessments of both a nurse and dentist from the old backlog, both of whom were refused on the basis of having demonstrated English language proficiency that is less than that required to become employable in Manitoba. If the officer determines that the applicant did not meet this bar, then he or she is refused for failing to “demonstrate the ability and intent to establish successfully in Manitoba.”

The question now is whether to appeal the decision or accept the findings and move on. If you decide to move on, the program warns the applicant that they would have to submit a “new Expression of Interest” after six months and meet “the eligibility and assessment criteria in effect at the time of your new Expression of Interest is received by the MPNP.” However, the first temptation may be to appeal the refusal, especially if you have been waiting for a long time.

It is important to understand that a formal appeal must be submitted, in writing, within 90 days of the date on the Letter of Refusal. Furthermore, the program cautions that appeals will only be considered if “there may have been an error made in the assessment of the application based on the reasons described in the Letter of Refusal and the documents included in the application at the time of assessment.”

It is important to note that the refused nurse and dentist from the old backlog were assessed, even though both occupations ended up on the restricted list when the MPNP reopened in April 2015. The MPNP did not refuse them retroactively but rather assessed both on their merits. Furthermore, applicants have a responsibility to ensure that their submission is complete and as strong as possible. It is not up to the MPNP to tell you what is missing. If the subjects submitted English language scores which are insufficient to match their assessed occupations, then the failings is theirs. Even if either candidate had upgraded their language scores, the MPNP could have assessed them fairly on the basis of the initial submission. Finally, it is important that everybody understands that the MPNP is an administrative program and comes under administrative law. The program must ensure that they have been procedurally fair and transparent throughout. In the case of both of the refused applicants, the best advice is to address the deficiencies identified by the MPNP and explore other immigration options. In life and in immigration, if one door closes, then another opens.

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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