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For those who ask, “What has changed in immigration?”

The holidays are upon us all and it is difficult to find time for regular activities, like writing my column. However, the immigration world is always alive with change and there is never a dull moment for immigration practitioners like myself. Consider for a moment the recent changes in MPNP and also the forms required for the extension of inside Canada visitors, students and workers.

In the first instance many readers are aware that MPNP embarked on a program of encouraging family stream applicants to apply online. The system has been working very efficiently and processing times are improved. A common complaint was the applicants for other streams, especially the general stream, often had difficulty accessing the correct forms. Many applicants erred in using older forms of the MAPP that they found on the Internet, some of which were almost 10 years out of date. The provincial program website is now changed to allow easy access to the current forms, which were only available until recently for online applications. It is now possible to download a MPNP Application Guide, Application Form (MAPP) and the Settlement Plans. The latter is one thing that characterized the online application and they are being extended to all applications. The Manitoba Affidavit of Support (MAS) is being phased out and replaced by the Settlement Plan. The program advises potential users that “Applications underway with old form MAS will continue to be used until Oct 1, 2012.”

Part I of the settlement plan is for the principal applicant who will have to provide a written rational for “your reasons for choosing Manitoba,” justifying “your destination in Manitoba” and providing an explanation about your connections to “your relative/friend in Manitoba.” It is important to remember that MPNP is an economic immigration program so the applicant must answer questions about “your intended occupation In Manitoba” and provide an “Employment Plan.” Potential applicants must demonstrate that they have made inquiries about their potential occupation and know the difference between regulated and unregulated professions and, not to be forgotten, demonstrate that they have sufficient settlement resources so they would not be a burden on Manitoba.

Part II consists of the “Endorsement of Relative/Friend” who will have to explain their “relationship to the applicant” as well as outlining their “Settlement Plan for the Applicant.” Supporters must disclose their “History of previous support” and whether the nominees they supported have established themselves successfully inside the province. The changes are a reminder to us all that MPNP is a program for immigration to our province and not a way to populate other provinces in Canada.

The other change under review today is the inside Canada Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada (IMM1249). This form, which was last changed in September 2010, was used for the extension of temporary visitor status, initial study permit or extension of study permit, initial work permit or extension of work permit as well as restoration of temporary resident status as a visitor, student or worker as well as a another temporary resident permit. Hold on to your hats because this form is no more. As of July 2012 we now have a revised Checklist (MM5558) for visitors inside the country and a specific Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Visitor or Temporary Permit Holder (IMM5708). Persons on student permits inside Canada have their own distinct Checklist (IMM5555) as well as Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Student (IMM5709). Persons inside the country on work permits now have a distinct Checklist (IMM 5556) as well as an Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM5710). All of these applications are available in online versions, which should be used and validated once all entries are completed. For those of us who completed one or all of these on the old generic applications in the past weeks (like me), it is time to step back and start from scratch.

The changes are noted but not final. Who knows; there is probably someone, somewhere, this afternoon working on further changes. Life in immigration is never dull and the readers should all be reminded to make sure that the forms they use are current and acceptable.

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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