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Province speeds up nominee program

Published by CME Manitoba on April 07, 2017

This article appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press on  April 7, 2017

Six-month turnaround on applications promised

The Tory government says it’s making the provincial nominee program — Manitoba’s major source of immigration — quicker, smarter and more efficient.

Applications to the program will now cost $500, but be processed more quickly, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart said at a press conference Thursday in Winnipeg. The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) — which uses a points system to select skilled workers according to their ability to get established economically and set down roots in Manitoba — will be more in sync with the labour market and make the path to permanent residence quicker for international students, he said.

Manitoba has an aging population and needs immigrants to meet labour market needs — forecast at 170,000 job openings between now and 2022, Wishart told a crowd at the Punjab Cultural Centre.

"This is why our provincial nominee program is so valuable and why we’re taking action to restore the program to its full potential," Wishart said. "When our government took office last year, we inherited a backlog of 5,100 applications, some of them dating back as far as 2013.

"Folks have been waiting for years and getting no answers. This is not fair and it’s definitely not respectful, or indicative of the friendly reputation our province has come to have.

"Effective immediately, all complete applications will be processed in six months or less."

That was good news for pork producer HyLife in Neepawa. About 1,000 of HyLife’s 1,900 workers are provincial nominees, human resources director Jeremy Janzen said.

"Without the program, we couldn’t continue to grow as a company," Janzen said at the press conference. Hog processing plants in Manitoba such as HyLife are operating below capacity because of a lack of hogs, but that is expected to change as the industry ramps up hog barn construction under looser environmental regulations.

It was good news for international students applying to the nominee program because they want to stay in Manitoba, Wishart said.

The program "will now include new pathways for Manitoba-trained international students to settle in our province permanently and put their training to work here in Manitoba," he said.

University of Manitoba engineering grad Tong Shu came to Canada in 2009 from Tianjin, China. When he graduated, he went to work for Manitoba Hydro. He got married, bought a house and started a family, but can’t get his professional credentials recognized until he has permanent resident status.

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