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Lamoureux stands with Skilled Workers: says government is letting highly skilled international graduates slip away

Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB -

Cindy Lamoureux, Interim Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party and MLA for Tyndall Park says this government needs to stop turning its back on skilled workers in Manitoba and move quickly to keep them in the province before they are forced to leave the country.

Hundreds of Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applicants attended a rally at the Manitoba Legislature this afternoon, pleading that the provincial government process their nomination certificates before their work permits expire and they are forced to leave the country.

“Many of these folks are Post-Graduate Work Permit holders, some of the most highly skilled workers, and applicants to the Provincial Nominee Program,” Lamoureux says. These are individuals who studied in Manitoba as international students, paid high tuition fees, and have worked anywhere from two to four plus years. Now they’re being forced to leave under this NDP government.”

Under Canada’s immigration rules, all International Students can apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit, which gives an individual a valid work permit with the same length as the study program they completed in Canada. Many of these work permit holders utilize Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program as a pathway to Permanent Residency.

Every person who applies through the PNP must first file an expression of interest, and the province periodically ‘draws’ people to invite them to submit their application to the PNP. Previously, the province utilized draws specifically for candidates identified with high labour needs in Manitoba. Since October, the province has not conducted any of these draws.

Many applicants who attended the rally are worried that new rules instituted by Manitoba’s NDP government have abandoned these occupation-specific draws, which is holding their future in the province in jeopardy.

Derek Cherewick, Executive Vice President of Commercial Credit Adjusters Ltd. says that approximately 30% of his workforce consists of temporary skilled workers. He says that the recent provincial policy changes have put his workforce at risk of having to leaving his company and ultimately the country.

“This policy change is effectively chasing temporary foreign workers away from Manitoba and erasing the valuable contributions they have made to our province,” Cherewick says.

Maninderpal Singh, who graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution, is a post-graduate work permit holder with a length of three years. He has been residing in Manitoba for almost two years, and has been waiting for nine months for his application to be drawn.

“My work permit expires in May 2024, and I have my friends and family members counting on me to succeed. I don’t want to leave the province that I’ve set down roots in and grown to love. This is my home.” Singh says.

Last year, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada allocated 9,500 nominations to Manitoba in 2023. Manitoba did not utilize over 2,000 of these nominations.

“It is unconscionable that given our province’s existing labour shortages, that this government would turn its back on some of the most highly skilled workers, many of whom have both Manitoba study and work experience” says Lamoureux.

MPNP Monthly Data sheet 2023
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