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Immigration, Provincial Nominee Programs

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program – Are the critics wrong?

Over the weekend, this article appeared calling out and criticizing Manitoba’s immigration program: Is Manitoba’s immigration ‘success’ worth crowing over? – Winnipeg Free Press* . According to the article, Manitoba’s immigration program is not the success it appears to be because the incomes of new immigrants to Manitoba are below the incomes of immigrants to other provinces.

One of first questions that should be asked is whether the data that was cited is too old. The article cites data from 2001-2004 and 2005-2009 to support the arguments made. Since 2009, there have been some significant changes to immigration laws to Manitoba. One of the main changes was the enactment of laws requiring employers to pay the wages that they promised to pay and another major change has been to introduce mandatory English language requirements for lower skilled workers. The data that was cited would simply not be able to reflect these changes.

In addition, what the article fails to analyze are the incomes of new immigrants to Manitoba in relation to the cost of living in Manitoba (and the other provinces that were cited) for the study period. If the cost of living in Manitoba is lower than other provinces, the gap between incomes in Manitoba and the cost of living would not be as big a concern.

The article also fails to analyze the employment rates of new immigrants against the employment rates of Canadian citizens in Manitoba. While the incomes may be lower, are these new immigrants employed? If they are employed at higher rates than Canadians in Manitoba, it is because these new immigrants have skills Manitobans do not have or are taking up jobs Manitobans do not want? In either case, this story is good news for Manitoba businesses.

Another thing that this article fails to mention is that one of the priority streams that Manitoba has for immigration is one for international students. Presumably, these applicants (who are generally new graduates) would command lower starting salaries than more experienced workers. However, the point of this program is to attract the best and the brightest your people to Manitoba to build the base for the future. Certainly, it cannot be said that these folks should be discouraged from immigrating to Manitoba.

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About Reis Pagtakhan

Reis Pagtakhan is an immigration law partner with MLT Aikins LLP. His extensive experience includes assisting businesses obtain temporary entry to Canada and permanent residency for their executives, employees and contractors from all over the world. Reis has lectured on and written papers on immigration law for the Law Society of Manitoba, the Manitoba Bar Association, the Human Resources Management Association of Manitoba, the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, and the Community Legal Education Association of Manitoba. He has presented position papers before the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Immigration Department officials and Manitoba Labour and Immigration. He has written articles on immigration for the CBC, the Winnipeg Free Press, trade, industry and ethnic publications.

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