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    Destination and MPNP refusals

Did you hear the story about the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) applicant who was refused because he has family in other parts of the country? It is not possible you say! Is it fair for immigration to refuse an application because a relative lives in another province? While the events that prompted this article are true and really happened, it is important to put things into context for all readers.

First, just having family in other places does not get someone refused. However, the presence of close family in other provinces does play an important part in how an application is judged. An applicant’s potential destination or real destination in Canada is a factor that provincial immigration officers must consider before making any decision to recommend nomination.

The MPNP is for Manitoba

Destination is at the heart of our highly successful nominee program. “The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program is an economic program that selects skilled workers who have the potential to make a positive contribution to the provincial economy” (MPNP kit page 2). The program is intended for persons who can make an economic contribution and make that contribution in and for Manitoba. MPNP is for Manitoba only. Why would Manitoba nominate persons who will not stay in the province? Why waste precious but limited nomination certificates on persons who settle in Alberta, BC, Ontario or other places?

The officers I worked with at MPNP have a responsibility to screen applications by age, education, work experience, knowledge of English or French, value of settlement funds, presence of family supports and also their most likely destination in Canada. “The government of Manitoba has the sole authority to nominate applicants for permanent resident status in Canada, based on our assessment of your potential for success in Manitoba as an independent skilled worker.” (MPNP kit page 2)

The system itself is not perfect and may be perceived as unfair by some readers but, nevertheless, it is the one we have in place. Officers can and do make informed judgments on applications based in part on an incomplete picture of the applicant and his or her intentions. They are limited by time, resources and funding, and they do not have to adhere to the strict rules of evidence. Provincial Immigration officers do not have to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that an applicant is intending to settle in another province. They do not have an administrative obligation to conduct exhaustive investigations. The officers can and do make decisions based only upon “reasonable grounds to believe” that something might happen. If the applicant has more close family members outside our province than inside Manitoba, there is a strong possibility that the application will be refused. In immigration terms, the weight (most likely outcome) is determined by predicating that the applicant will most likely go where the strongest family ties or supports are.

Retention of nominees

Destination and immigration were the focus of an October 2010 federal government study entitled, The Interprovincial Mobility of Immigrants to Canada. The study covered the retention of immigrants by province of destination over a time period of 1991 to 2006. The retention rate of Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec ranged from 91% to 79% while the Atlantic Provinces, Saskatchewan and Manitoba registered rates ranged from 68% to 43%. The number improved a bit for our province during the years 2000 to 2006 where Manitoba recorded a 75.9% and for provincial nominees the retention rate of Manitoba was actually over 80%.

For provincial nominees, the study discovered that while Manitoba led the country in actual numbers of arrivals, British Columbia, Alberta and even Saskatchewan had better retention rates for the period 2000 to 2006. The retention rate of Manitoba provincial nominees was over 80% but the province lost a significant number of arrivals to other places. Roughly 2,700 Manitoba nominees landed between 2000 and 2006 left for other provinces with a majority of these movers ending up in Ontario (955), British Columbia (825) and Alberta (730). Outmigration has lessened over time with the world recession that has hit provinces like Ontario and Alberta much harder than Manitoba. The challenges of selecting the best for Manitoba, however, remain.

Mobility continues to be a fact of life in immigration circles and the destination issue is a challenge for those immigration officials charged with selecting the best economic immigrants for our province. No one wants to see persons with Manitoba as a stated destination end up in a different place. The Manitoba and federal officials are well aware that the province has been losing somewhere between 18 to 24% of those who applied with Manitoba as their stated destination. They are concerned and they have a responsibility to take action. The reader should appreciate that applicants who use MPNP and then immigrate to other provinces misuse the program. They do not help our province or those who want the MPNP to continue to work for the expatriate Filipino community in Manitoba. We all have a vested interest to make sure that the program works well.

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:

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