Manitoba is setting up an advisory council in its bid to revamp its Canada immigration practices and attract more foreign nationals to immigrate there and international students to choose it as a place to pursue their post-secondary education.
“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,” said Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson.
The fledgling Immigration Advisory Council is co-chaired by Immigration Minister Jon Reyes and Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, a former Canadian minister of foreign affairs, ex-chancellor of the University of Winnipeg, and current chair of the World Refugee and Migration Council.
‘Immigration An Issue Of Great Importance’
The advisory council, which was announced last week, is being tasked with reviewing Manitoba’s entire continuum of immigration policies and practices, from its promotion to retention of newcomers, and then providing clear recommendations and concrete actions to the provincial government.
“Immigration is an issue of great importance to the province, and we all have a common interest in an effective and efficient system,” said Axworthy.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) figures for 2021 were released Friday.
They reveal Manitoba attracted less than 4.1 per cent, or only 16,560, of the 405,330 new permanent residents to Canada in 2021.
The province fared a bit better in getting its share of temporary to permanent residency applicants last year. Slightly more than 4.5 per cent of the 23,885 new permanent residents to Canada under that program last year, or 1,080, chose to settle in Manitoba.
Economic Immigration Programs Bring In Three-Quarters Of New Immigrants
The vast majority, or almost 77.4 per cent, of new permanent residents to Manitoba last year arrived through economic immigration programs.
The 12,815 new permanent residents to Canada that chose to come to that province through economic immigration programs include 1,185 who arrived though the Canadian Experience Class, 15 under the Caregiver program, 50 through Rural and Northern Immigration, and 145 as Skilled Worker applicants.
Twenty new permanent residents immigrated to Manitoba by starting their own businesses in 2021.
The province’s Provincial Nominee Program helped 10,315 foreign nationals become new permanent residents in Manitoba.
“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 began,” said Reyes.
“This year’s number of nominees is the highest since the program was established, 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 Manitoba Cities Attract 21% Of PNP Nominees
Last year, about 21 per cent of nominees chose to settle outside the Winnipeg capital region, with the top regional immigration destinations being Brandon, Neepawa, Steinbach, Winkler, Thompson and Portage la Prairie.
Those who came to fill jobs last year primarily became transport truck drivers, food-counter attendants, food service supervisors, cooks and other customer service representatives.
In announcing the new advisory council, the province’ premier called on the need for more immigration to resolve labour shortages in Manitoba.
“There are different areas of the labour market that need people with very specific skills to enable them to grow further,” she said.
“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.”