Manitoba is looking to attract more foreign nationals to the province and for international students to choose it as a place to pursue their post-secondary education by setting up an advisory council to help revamp its immigration process.
The Premier of Manitoba, Heather Stefanson said “this new advisory council will help us look at new and innovative ways to continue to be a welcoming new home for all newcomers, including refugees and international students, a dynamic destination for immigration and business investors and an attractive place for people to come to build a life of opportunity and prosperity for themselves and their family.”
The Immigration Advisory Council is co-chaired by Immigration Minister Jon Reyes and Dr. Lloyd Axworthy who is a former Canadian Minister of foreign affairs, ex-chancellor of the University of Winnipeg and the current chair of the World Refugee and Migration Council.
The new advisory council that was announced last week has been given the task to review Manitoba’s entire continuum of immigration policies and practices, from its promotion to retention of newcomers and see how it could provide clear recommendations and concrete actions to the provincial government.
Dr. Lloyd Axworthy said that “immigration is an issue of great importance to Manitoba and we all have a common interest in an effective and efficient system.”
The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) figures for 2021 that was released on Friday showed that Manitoba attracted less than 4.1 percent of the 405,330 new permanent residents that were welcomed to Canada in 2021 which is about 16,560 new comers.
The province invited more temporary residents than permanent residents last year and slightly more than 4.5 percent of the 23,885 new comers to Canada last year under that program choose to settle in Manitoba.
Three Quarter of the new immigrants were brought in by Economic Immigration Programs
The majority of the new permanent residents that came to Manitoba in 2021 came through the economic immigration programs and so the 12,815 new permanent residents to Canada that came to Manitoba through the economic immigration programs, 1,185 arrived through the Canadian Experience Class, 15 under the Caregiver program, 50 through Rural and Northern Immigration and 145 under the Skilled Worker program.
Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program helped about 10,315 foreign nationals become new permanent residents in the province and 20 new permanent residents immigrated to Manitoba by starting their own business in 2021.
About 2,330 new permanent residents came into Manitoba through the Family Sponsorship and about 1,235 arrived as Refugees or Protected Persons.
Jon Reyes said “this program brings thousands of qualified skilled workers to Manitoba each year and more than 165,000 nominees and their families have immigrated to Manitoba from all over the world since the program started.”
He further said that “this year’s number of nominees is the highest since the inception of the program and we know these new Manitobans will use their skills and training to contribute to the long-term economic recovery and growth of our province.”
Smaller cities in Manitoba attracted 21 percent of PNP nominees
In 2021, about 21 percent of the nominees chose to settle outside the Winnipeg capital region with the top regional immigration destinations being Brandon, Steinbach, Portage la Prairie, Neepawa, Thompson and Winkler.
Most of the job positions that were filled are food-counter attendants, cooks, customer service representatives, truck drivers and food service supervisors.
The new advisory council is being seen as a way to bring in more immigrants to the province to resolve the problem of labour shortages in Manitoba.
Premier Heather said that “there are different areas of the labour market that need people with very specific skills to enable them to grow further. The advisory council will be reviewing the current Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program criteria and offer suggestions to help streamline processes to get people to Manitoba and have them join the workforce and their communities as soon as possible.”