FOR immigrant visa applicants to the US who missed the priority date and saw the visa interview ship had sailed without them for Christmas, take heart: a Cupid from Canada comes to the rescue – Manitoba to be exact.
By February 2018, Manitoba is making its provincial nomination program much easier for students, skilled workers both inside and outside the province. Finally, Manitoba has announced that the “Heart of Canada” has a list of occupations in demand.
Before Express Entry, there was the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). Years before that, Canada had a list of 400 occupations eligible to apply directly for permanent residency after the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was passed in 2002.
On its inception the Federal Skilled Worker Program was intended to be a more effective way at selecting immigrants who will succeed economically by ensuring the quality of the selection process.
The FSWP program’s minimum requirements http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/evaluation/fswp/section1.asp – ftn2 then as now assess the applicant’s 1) work experience; 2) education; 3) language; 4) age; 5) arranged employment; and 6) adaptability elements.
Adaptability includes factors such as a positive arranged employment opinion, spousal (partner’s) education, family relations in Canada, post-secondary study and work experience in Canada.
To be eligible for a permanent resident visa under the FSWP, applicants must meet the “minimum number of points required of a skilled worker” or the “pass mark” set by the minister. On September 18, 2003, the pass mark was set at 67 points. It remains so to this day. However, applicants no longer submit their permanent resident applications directly.
Instead, applicants are now considered as candidates who must complete their profile in the Express Entry selection system.
To be considered eligible for entry, applicants are ranked according to a comprehensive ranking system, allocating different points to the core and additional points to an applicant who is single and one who is married or has a common-law, conjugal or cohabiting partner.
Programs to qualify for entry
The immigration programs managed by the Express Entry system have different criteria. The programs are: the federal skilled worker program; the federal skilled trades program, or applicants who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade; Canadian experience class, for those who have had a minimum of 12 months lawful employment in Canada and; a portion of the provincial nominee program.
Manitoba’s Valentine offering
Among Canada’s provinces (excluding Quebec), Manitoba has been the most active in reviewing and fine-tuning its nomination program.
For example, while Express Entry candidates may get 15 additional points for having a sister or brother who is residing in Canada as a citizen or permanent resident, only Manitoba provides extra points for having “strong connection” in the province. A distant relative or a close friend would be considered in the adaptability criteria.
Starting February 2018, the province will launch its renewed Manitoba Provincial Nomination Program (MPNP) as part of its agreement with Canada’s Federal government.
The renewed provincial selection system builds on Manitoba’s“10-point economic plan by improving (the province’s) economic competitiveness, attracting new investment, fostering a skilled workforce, and encouraging new immigration.”
The official announcement says that “the MPNP will be reorganized around four new or revised application streams: International Education Stream (IES); Business Investor Stream (BIS);
Skilled Worker in Manitoba Stream (SWM) and; Skilled Worker Overseas Stream (SWO).
Each stream offers “more flexible pathways to ensure that all provincial nominees are able to meet clearly defined labor market and economic needs in Manitoba.”
These priorities will be clearly communicated to potential MPNP applicants through a regularly updated in-demand occupations list.
Clearly, Manitoba prefers candidates who are already in Manitoba as international students or temporary workers.
Under the new International Education Stream (IES) for example, Manitoba graduates in academic programs that are in the category of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have an edge: they would not need a job offer to apply for nomination and subsequent permanent residency.
Even non-STEM graduates and students who completed their courses outside of Manitoba benefit if their academic programs and work experience meet the requirements for in-demand occupations in Manitoba.
The MPNP announcement emphasizes that international students in STEM, non-STEM and those who completed an academic program outside Manitoba go through the Career Employment Pathway (CEP).
CEP will provide faster nomination pathways for international student graduates in STEM programs through internships, contributing to industry innovation in Manitoba. In addition, post-secondary graduates who find long-term employment in an in-demand occupation consistent with their training, will no longer be required to work for six months before applying to the MPNP.”
In-demand occupations list
The MPNP In-demand occupations list will be a “regular, updated listing of which occupations qualify as ‘in-demand’ in Manitoba”. While candidates must still meet the specific criteria and requirements, those working in an in-demand occupation “will be prioritized during expression of interest draws.”
The initial in-demand occupations list included the following occupations: business, finance and administration; natural and applied sciences and related; health; occupations in social science, education, government service and religion; occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport; sales and service; trades, transport and equipment operators and related; occupations unique to primary industry; and occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities
Candidates, take your pick.