Settlement Plans as part of the MPNP
By Michael Scott
Many of the applicants for the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) and their supporters wonder about the requirements set forth on the Settlement Plans, Part 1 and Part 2. Both forms are required for paper submissions to the provincial immigration program and the former is included in the online version of the MPNP application. The candidate or applicant must complete a series of questions about their intentions and preparations for immigrating to Manitoba. The requirement is not just something thought up by civil servants to torment applicants and make things more difficult; it is a real requirement and the failure to answer the questions correctly could be the difference between being nominated or being refused nomination by provincial immigration officials.
Whether you submit an application by mail or online, provincial assessors evaluate your qualifications against a grid for points based on age, education, work experience, English or French language proficiency, settlement funds and connections to the province. They also measure your seriousness, intention and preparation. The Settlement Plans fall under the second category. Part 1 asks applicants to “provide information about how you intend to settle and find skilled employment in Manitoba.” Part 2 asks the designated Manitoba resident or supporter to “describe how you will help the applicant achieve his or her plan to settle and find employment in Manitoba.”
The MPNP has only a set number of certificates to issue each year, with a cap of 5,000 for 2013, so assessors and officers must select the best candidates. They do not waste nominations on persons who have not demonstrated a potential to add to the economic wellbeing of the province or those whose are destined for another province. The provincial responsibility is set forth in the Canada-Manitoba Immigration Agreement of June 2003. The purpose is “to foster an effective partnership between Canada and Manitoba for the promotion, recruitment, selection, admission, control settlement and integration of immigrants to the province.” The Settlement Plan, Part 1 for the applicant and Part 2 for the Manitoba supporter therefore fall under “selection… to the province.”
What are the best answers for applicants? The quick response is the truthful ones but there is so much more that serious applicants should do before answering questions on the paper Settlement Plan, Part 1 (Settlement Plan, Part 2 is not discussed in detail in this article) or the online version. Following are the questions asked on the form and my recommendation on best course of action for the serious applicant.
Your reasons for choosing Manitoba
The question starts with a disclaimer, “The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program is an immigration program for people who intend to live and work as permanent residents in the Province of Manitoba.” If your real destination is elsewhere in Canada, do not apply. There are many reasons for qualified persons to apply to the MPNP. It can be for the high quality of life in the province and especially in the capital city, Winnipeg. It could be because of our strong economy and low unemployment rates. The new stadium, new arena, new IKEA store, new hotels around Centre Port Winnipeg are all indicators of positive economic activity. In addition, Winnipeg has a large supportive Filipino expatriate community. Tagalog is the second most spoken language after English. Before you quickly jot down “three reasons why you are choosing Manitoba,” take some time out to study the Immigrate Manitoba website. This informative source is intended to advertise the province as a great place to immigrate to and also to provide potential applicants with much needed information about life and work in the province. Remember the purpose (see above) “how you intend to settle and find skilled employment in Manitoba.” You do not have to reinvent the wheel but at least study seriously the information that Manitoba has provided all potential applicants.
Your destination in Manitoba
This question is specific and should be answered as such. The MPNP wants to know where you are planning to settle. The MPNP is not intended for persons whose real or unstated intention is to settle in another province in Canada. The challenge for the MPNP assessors (due diligence) is to refuse applications from persons who appear to be destined for another province. The officers do not have to prove that applicants are going to settle in another province but only that “they have reason to believe” this to be the most possible outcome.
Your close relative in Manitoba
The heading on the paper version is somewhat misleading because the MPNP does accept applications from persons who have close relatives in the province and also applications from those who have either distant relatives or close friends. In all cases, the MPNP will assess whether or not the supports overcome any weaknesses in the application and assign different point values on the assessment grid – 20 for a close family member and 10 for distant relative or friend.
Your intended occupation in Manitoba
Applicants often misunderstand this question. The program asks applicants to declare their “intended occupation” and then evaluates how their “education and work experience” prepare them for work in Manitoba. The question also encourages applicants to do some research into their chosen professions or trades in Manitoba. Applicants can find the information readily available from the Come to Manitoba, Canada Tool www.workingincanada.gc.ca/occupation_serach-eng.do?lang=eng. This interactive website provides applicants with information they require about working in their intended occupation in Manitoba. It is important that the applicants demonstrate that they have checked into the requirements. They should show that they know what certification is required, the process and other related unregulated occupations they can work at upon arrival. It is not enough to say you are going to check into trade or professional requirements – good intention is not as convincing as actual action. Applicants must also demonstrate that they are aware of any shortcomings in their preparation and are improving their education, job skills, language etc. in anticipation of being nominated by the province.
Your financial situation
All applicants “must demonstrate that they have access to sufficient financial resources in their own name to support their settlement in Manitoba.” The MPNP still uses the old standard of $10,000 for the principal applicant with $2,000 for each accompanying dependent, but the actual amount should be higher. Further, the program requires a six month history of any bank account. The MPNP must ensure that the financial claims are valid and that the funds are not just “show money,” which would be fraudulent.
It is important to make sure that any application you or your relatives or friends back home submit to the MPNP is complete and as strong as possible. The information that applicants provide on their Settlement Plan, Part 1 and which Manitoba supporters provide on the Part 2 are an important part of the overall assessment of MPNP applications. The statements and supporting documentation help assessors make decisions about nominating or refusing applications. It is the responsibility of applicants to submit what is true, correct and complete and their Manitoba supporters must provide credible and real support. If applicants or their Manitoba supporters fail to do so, they have only themselves to blame for a refusal decision.
Michael Scott BA (Hon), MA, is a 30-year veteran of Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program who works as an immigration associate with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. He can be reached at 838 Ellice Avenue in Winnipeg, (204) 783-7326 or (204) 227-0292. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org