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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott

   

The reconfiguration of the MPNP

for overseas skilled worker applicants

There is a familiar passage in the Book of Ecclesiastes (1:4-11): “there is nothing new under the sun.” The more things change the more they remain the same. It is with this sage observation in mind that I examined the upcoming changes in the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) set to start on April 1, 2013. Yes, the program has changed again but much of what is included in the changes we have seen before and actually have been prepared for by the release of new forms, requirements and information over the past few months. Change is very much a part of our collective and individual lives so there is an air of inevitability about it all. We can be surprised, angry, disappointed, philosophical, political, hysterical or practical about the changes. My choice for us all is the last because it is better to know what has changed and how we can access the changed MPNP in order to assist family and friends who would love to join us in Manitoba.

The announcement, which appeared recently on the MPNP home page, is stark in appearance:

“On April 1, Manitoba is streamlining the MPNP – making a simpler, supported path to our province for skilled immigrants.”

The reference to skilled immigrants is important because the program was never a sponsorship program. The reconfiguration does not affect “temporary foreign workers or international graduates, only overseas applicants are subject to the new points system.” In other words, the program still offers application options to temporary foreign workers and international students but has changed the way overseas skilled worker applicants qualify. The process for the overseas applicant is much like the early versions of MPNP, which was based exclusively on the point system.

The MPNP redesign will award assessment points to overseas skilled worker applicants based on employability, education, English or French language proficiency, connection to the province of Manitoba and adaptability. The assessment of applicants by points across the different qualifications is much like the version of the program that appeared as far back as late 1998 and 1999. The Manitoba Points Grid sets forth the requirements that overseas applicants must now face. First, the pass mark has been increased to 60 points from the 55 points in times gone by and, of course, the MPNP, as always, reserves their right to make assessments on the applicant’s potential for successful settlement and integration in the province of Manitoba. The Grid has several factors that earn potential applicants the points they require to meet the points bar.

Factor 1: Language

All applicants must now provide results of an English or French language proficiency test such as IELTS or CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program) for English. In terms of English language proficiency, all applicants must score at least CLB 4. The minimum acceptable results are:

  • CLB 4 or IELTS – listening 4.5, reading 3.5, writing 4.0, speaking 4.0 – earns 12 assessment points.
  • CLB 5 or IELTS – listening 5.0, reading 4.0, writing 5.0, speaking 5.0 – earns 14 assessment points.
  • CLB 6 or IELTS – listening 5.5, reading 5.0, writing 5.5, speaking 5.5 – earns 16 assessment points.
  • CLB 7 or IELTS – listening 6.0, reading 6.0, writing 6.0, speaking 6.0 – earns 18 assessment points.
  • CLB 8 or IELTS – listening 7.5, reading 6.5, writing 6.5, speaking 6.5, earns a maximum 20 assessment points.

It is important to note that the most points possible is 25 (with 5 for Canada’s other official language) but that language points cannot be more than 25% of the total assessment points awarded.

Factor 2: Age

Factor 2 is age and it is important to note that the changes are telling. Under the previous system the maximum age points were awarded to applicants in the 21 to 49-age range with point reduction after age 50. The province has now lowered the priority age limit to 45 from 49 and awards 0 points to applicants aged 50 and over. The maximum age points are 10 or 10% of the total assessment points.

  • Age 18 = 4 points
  • Age 19 = 6 points
  • Age 20 = 8 points
  • Ages 21 to 45 = maximum 10 points
  • Age 46 = 8 points
  • Age 47 = 6 points
  • Age 48 = 4 points
  • Age 49 = 2 points
  • Age 50 = 0 points

Factor 3: Work experience

The work experience assessment is based on full-time employment in the past five years. Applicants receive 8 points for one year of work experience, 10 points for two years, 12 points for 3 years and 15 points for 4 years or more. The maximum points for work experience is 15 or 15% of the total.

Factor 4: Education

Applicants may receive education points for documented proof of completed education and/or a training program from recognized educational institutions. The following points are awarded:

  • Trade certificate = 14 points;
  • Completion of a one-year post-secondary program = 14 points;
  • One post-secondary program at least two years or longer = 20 points;
  • Two post-secondary programs of study of a least two years each = 23 points;
  • Master’s degree or Doctorate = 25 points.

It is important to note that applicants with secondary school or less receive 0 educational points. The maximum points for education is 25 or 25% of the total.

Factor 5: Adaptability

The final measure covers the applicant’s connections to the province of Manitoba and contains a reference to “genuine intention” and “ability to settle,” which are difficult to objectify. The following points are available:

  • Friend living in Manitoba = 10 points;
  • Completion of secondary school or at least one academic year in Manitoba = 10 points;
  • Completed secondary school of at least two academic years in Manitoba = 12 points;
  • Previous work experience (at least six months) in Manitoba in the last ten years = 12 points;
  • Invitation to apply under the Strategic Initiative = 20 points and;
  • Close relative in Manitoba = 20 points

Settlement funds are also examined within the context of an applicant’s ability. The maximum points available are 25 or 25% of the assessment point total.

The idea of an assessment of an applicant’s ability to settle successfully is not new but the changes to the MPNP are significant. First, all applicants must take a language proficiency examination. Second, fewer points are given to older applicants with an emphasis upon applicants in the 21 to 45 year old age range, zero points awarded for 50 year olds.

The MPNP places greater emphasis upon recent work experience – within the past five years. Applicants who have only secondary school completion will receive zero points for education. Finally, there is the concept of limits of the percentage that any factor can contribute to the total assessment points. Each application must be carefully measured against the changed assessment model.

My intention in this article is to make the readers aware that the MPNP is changing on April 1. Many people who were nominated in the past might not meet the new requirements outlined above. It is important to understand the changes and what potential applicants must do to improve their chances when applying to the MPNP. It is not enough to understand that the point system is back but also to understand how the new minimum of 60 points will be determined. I will not comment at this time about the implications of the various changes, which are highly significant and somewhat controversial. I leave these questions to a following article.

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: mscott.ici@gmail.com

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