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Manitoba. Canada, Introduces a $500 fee per Applicant, Causes Protests

April 2017, 04
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Manitoba. Canada, Introduces a $500 fee per Applicant
Protesters held a demonstration at the Manitoba Legislature against the new $500 fee for applicants to Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program.  The small protest came after their meeting with Manitoba’s Minister of Immigration and Training was postponed.

Manitoba uses Provincial Nominee Program to attract skilled workers and business people to immigrate to the Central Canadian Territory. The new fee will be applicable from April 1 onwards which the government says it will invest back into language training to help new arrivals find employment. The Manitoban government is concerned about the backlog of program applications and the number of successful applicants who are taking longer than expected to find work in the province.

The backlog of applicants at the end of 2016 was about 4000 some of them being years old. The Manitoban government was hoping to have the backlog cleared by April of this year and currently have around 80 cases left to be processed. The new fee is only payable once applicants have been accepted into the program. Premier Brian Pallister was keen that there were job opportunities and stability for new residents and that future Provincial Nominee Program applications were processed within six months. The backlog of applications was described by Ian Wishart, the Minister of Immigration and Training, as “mismanagement” by the previous government.

Protesters likened the fee to a “head tax” and were concerned it would affect the number of people interested in migrating to the province. Potentially choosing other provinces above Manitoba. Although Manitoba is not the only Canadian territory to recently introduce a fee to one of their schemes. Currently, British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have fees for skilled worker applications to their immigration streams. The protesters argued the economic and cultural contribution of immigrants and called the new fee a burden. Protest organizer Lizeth Ardila says the charge is not in Manitoba’s best interests.

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) allows the province to target prospective immigrants who have the skills and experience currently in demand. Manitoba currently operates the Skilled Worker Immigration Stream, the Business Immigration Stream, the Farm Strategic Recruitment Initiative, and the Morden Community Driven Immigration Initiative. 

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