Manitoba Premier: Western Provinces Asked for Increase in Immigration Limit

A crop field near Winnipeg, Manitoba. The western provinces of Canada called on the federal government to raise their provincial nominee program caps in a meeting on Monday (Shahnoor Munmun)

Canada’s western provinces called on the federal government to remove the caps on their provincial immigration programs on Monday, according to a recent Bloomberg News interview with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.

Selinger said the limits the federal government places on the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are making it difficult for them to fill their labour shortages:

“We’ve seen some changes that have potentially put a crimp in our ability to grow our economies and have people living in our communities.”

A PNP is a province specific program that allows the provincial government to nominate foreign nationals for permanent residency. Each PNP is limited to nominating a certain number of individuals per year, with each province’s cap being determined by the federal government.

Canada’s western provinces, which have one of the best performing regional economies in the developed world, have over the last decade been allowed to nominate a steadily increasing number of foreigners per year.

The first PNP started as a pilot project in Manitoba in 1997, and has subsequently expanded to all of the provinces, with the provincial governments looking to it as a way to counteract the ageing of their populations.

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More New Immigrants Moving to Smaller Cities- Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg Among Most Popular

A downtown Vancouver sidewalk. The portion of new Canadian immigrants that settled in Vancouver declined from 13.7 percent in 2006 to 13.3 percent in 2011 as Canada’s smaller cities, particularly in the prairies, attracted newcomers with their strong labour markets (CICS News)

A Vancouver Sun report published Wednesday, titled Canada’s ‘Big Three’ metro areas lose lustre as newcomers opt for smaller cities, examines the phenomenon of immigrants choosing the Big Three Canadian cities less in favour of Canada’s smaller cities:

Released Wednesday by Statistics Canada, the 2011 numbers reveal that Toronto’s share of newcomers fell to 32.8 per cent, down from 40.4 per cent in 2006, while Vancouver’s share dropped to 13.3 per cent from 13.7 per cent. Montreal was the only “Big Three” immigration city to post a gain: 16.3 per cent of newcomers, versus 14.9 per cent in 2006.

Excluding the Big Three, the cities drawing the most newcomers were those with the most promising job markets: Calgary, at 6.1 percent of all new immigrants, Edmonton (4.3 percent), and Winnipeg (3.9 percent).

The oil wealth of Alberta has contributed to the province having the lowest unemployment rate and the highest per capita GDP in the country, making the immigration shift to that province’s cities unsurprising.

Another factor contributing to the shift to cities other than the Big Three is the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), which provide those hoping to immigrate to Canada with new routes to immigrate if they are able to acquire eligible work experience in a province.

Some PNPs, like the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP), have a lower work experience threshold for eligibility and are granted a higher quota by the federal government for the number of foreign nationals they can nominate for permanent residence annually, and this has resulted in a boost in the number of immigrants settling in their corresponding provinces.

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Immigration Pushes Canadian Province’s Population Growth to 40 Year High

Cold winters have historically discouraged Canadian immigrants from settling in Manitoba, but a path to permanent residence through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program has increased the number of immigrants arriving in Manitoba and led to its largest population increase in 40 years this year

The population of Manitoba, a province in Canada’s prairie region, increased by 16,227 people over the last 12 months, which is the most in 40 years, according to the Manitoba provincial government.

The arrival of 15,199 immigrants to Manitoba over the last 12 months, the highest number since 1946, was the main reason for this year’s record population increase.

Many of the immigrants arrived through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP), which allows temporary residents with six months of work experience in Manitoba to qualify for nomination by the provincial government for permanent residence, subject to meeting official language proficiency requirements for semi-skilled workers.

Manitoba has historically drawn a low percentage of total Canadian immigrants due to its frigid winters and lack of any coastal cities, which tend to be favoured over inland cities.

To reverse this trend, the Manitoba government has been requesting that Citizenship and Immigration Canada increase the cap on the number of immigrants the province can nominate through its provincial nominee program from the current 5,000, to 20,000 by 2016.

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Provincial Government in Canada Criticizes Remarks About Immigrant Investor Program

A river walkway in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s largest city

The provincial government of Manitoba on Tuesday shot back at critics who have said the NDP government’s management of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) for Business has been a failure.

Among the critics are Manitoba Progressive Conservative immigration critic Bonnie Mitchelson and the former program manager for the MPNP for Business, Randy Boldt, who say that a report showing that only 20 percent of foreign investors nominated for permanent residence by the Manitoba provincial government have made their required investment points to a total program failure.

The government criticized those statistics as misleading and inaccurate, stating that immigration through the MPNP for Business is a two-step process, with the province first nominating individuals, and the federal government then admitting the individual, and that investor applicants only make their investment after the second step is complete.

The government says that the 20 percent figure is for all applicants who have completed the first step and been nominated by the Manitoba government, and includes many who have yet to complete the second step. Figures that only account for those who have completed both steps shows 60 percent of applicants end up making their investment.

The program requires all immigrant investor applicants to provide a $75,000 deposit, which they forfeit if they do not meet the program’s requirements of investing $150,000 into a Manitoba-based business within two years of arriving in Canada.

The Manitoba government says that $200 million has been invested into the provincial economy through the program since it began in 2000.

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