Heard about the Nominee Program ending?
I have been involved with the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) from the year 1999 when I moved from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The years have gone by, I retired from the civil service, and MPNP continues to nominate applicants and bring newcomers to Manitoba by the thousands. The good things that the MPNP has brought Manitoba and countless families in the local Filipino expatriate community are considerable. But along with the good things we have the never-ending rumour. “Did you hear that the nominee program is stopping!” These words are enough to bring tears to the strongest person and panic to the minds of many. But is it or was it ever true?
First, to set the minds of the reader at rest, no, the talk is not true and, yes, the Manitoba Provincial Nominee program is continuing. It has changed, for the better I think, though some may disagree. The MPNP promotes the submission of applications online and rewards such submissions with faster processing. All submissions, even the General Stream, can now be submitted online. The old Manitoba Affidavit of Support (MAS) is gone, replaced by the requirements for Settlement Plan, Part 1 for the applicant and Settlement Plan, Part II for the supporter. The requirements for more detail are necessary for the assessors and should bring more focus to those who are completing the form. It is time for applicants and supporters to spend more time reading the Manitoba’s immigration website, especially the sections that deal with pre-arrival information, such as checking into occupational demands in Manitoba by job titles and licensing requirements for professionals and trades people. The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program Application Form (MAPP) has even changed in 2013. It has been replaced by the new Generic Application Form for Manitoba. There is no reason to panic and every reason to stay aware of the changes, so that you do the right thing.
Why do rumours of the end of the MPNP continue? This is a good question and there are as many diverse reasons as irrational fears of the end of the program. It always reminds me of Chicken Little running around and crying out, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” No, just like the chicken in panic we are too quick to give credence to such rumours. If we collectively did not think so much about the value of the program we, would be less prone to give any credence to the loose talk that continues. I remember one autumn when I was working in the provincial nominee program when we were flooded with calls, primarily from the local Filipino community about the program ending in September. The month came and went but the calls persisted. I remember I responded to one disbelieving caller who said the program was ending. I asked when he heard it would stop and he responded in September. At this point I reminded him that it was now the middle of October and we at the nominee program were on the job assessing applications and issuing nomination certificates.
One of the reasons for the recent rumours may be based on the negative press the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program has been receiving in the local news media from the fall of last year. There was a lot of criticism about inefficiencies in the way persons were nominated and whether or not they actually settled in the province or paid their debts to Manitoba. This is true, there was a lot of talk and the program was actually audited by the provincial government. The only qualification is that the media was discussing the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program for Business (MPNP-B) and not the skilled worker program that we are all so connected to. The audit report by provincial Auditor General, Carol Bellringer was released in mid January 2013 and does identify a number of areas where the business immigration program was at fault and recommends corrective action. Critics of MPNP-B were quick to jump on the provincial government with public complaints and yet the auditor report tables an investigation that was conducted between July 2011 and July 2012 somewhat before the issue became public and the naysayers jumped on board. This is an example of politics in action: with detractors and defenders each justifying their positions. However, my point is that the issue was the business program and not the skilled worker program that has withstood the test of external audits and continues to function in a highly efficient and fair manner.
In closing, the reader is asked to be patient with those who panic about the MPNP for skilled workers. It makes sense to worry most about the things that matter most. But the reader must be assured that our beloved program is very much alive and continues to nominate candidates. Keep on sending in the applications but try and do so online because it is the preferred way of applying.
As Mark Twain noted, after reading his obituary in the New York Journal, “the reports of my death were greatly exaggerated.”
Michael Scott BA (Hon), MA, is a 30-year veteran of Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program who works as an immigration associate with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. He can be reached at 838 Ellice Avenue in Winnipeg, (204) 783-7326 or (204) 227-0292. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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