January 24, 2024

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program Prioritizes Family Connections for Newcomers

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) is undergoing a strategic shift, aiming to enhance the approval prospects of prospective immigrants with familial ties in the province. Labour and Immigration Minister Malaya Marcelino, representing the NDP government, highlighted the program's focus on family connections, emphasizing the potential benefits for both newcomers and the province.

Program Overview:

The MPNP is designed to match foreign workers with specific labor needs in Manitoba. Prospective immigrants initiate the process by submitting an expression of interest. The province then selects candidates based on a ranking scale, awarding points for various factors. In recent draws, the program has prioritized candidates with close family connections, awarding 200 points for this criterion.

Improved Retention Rates:

Minister Marcelino underscored the importance of strong connections to family and Manitoba, citing higher retention rates as a significant benefit. The government's strategy aims to address a concerning downward trend in immigrant retention, as evidenced by a 67.7% five-year retention rate in 2020 — the lowest in 14 years.

Economic Focus Maintained:

While emphasizing the importance of familial ties, Marcelino reassured that the program would remain primarily an economic initiative. She clarified that all selected individuals would be economic migrants with strong Manitoba connections. Economic Development Winnipeg's President and CEO, Ryan Kuffner, endorsed this approach, emphasizing the need to blend skill sets with family linkages for optimal results.

Balancing Family Connections and Economic Goals:

Kuffner highlighted the potential to attract top-skilled immigrants while maximizing retention through a blend of skill-based selection and family connections. Manitoba's appeal for skilled immigrants, its high livability, and family-friendly environment were emphasized as selling points.

Immigration Advisory Council Recommendations:

The former Progressive Conservative government established an Immigration Advisory Council in 2022. The council recommended prioritizing family connections at every stage of the immigration process, potentially resulting in higher scores in the ranking scale. The ongoing emphasis on family connections aligns with these recommendations.

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program's shift towards prioritizing family connections reflects a strategic effort to improve retention rates while maintaining its core economic objectives. Striking a balance between attracting top-skilled immigrants and fostering family reunification appears to be the province's approach to addressing both economic and social considerations in immigration.