One size doesn’t fit all
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/01/2012 (4078 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Ottawa wants to tighten the rules for who comes into Canada under provincial selection programs, stressing English-language skills and a better match to the needs of the labour market. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney launched a study after scandals and fraud erupted in the programs on the East Coast, but his proposed fixes will cut into the numbers of newcomers streaming into Manitoba as well.
Manitoba’s rapid rise of immigration has resulted, heavily, from an aggressive provincial nominee program that allows it to tailor recruitment to its needs. The federal study found the immigrants recruited here find jobs almost equally as rapidly as those in the hot job markets of more westerly provinces. Their earnings are much lower, however, and far fewer land a job equal to their skills.
This is somewhat at odds with other studies of the Manitoba program that found higher success rates for immigrants in their fields or related ones, but that is likely because of small sampling — 100 immigrants — through personal interviews by the University of Winnipeg researchers. Further, the province believes the disparity in incomes and job classification is because Manitoba recruits not for specific professions or trades, but to fill a wider variety of jobs when its economy was growing pre-2010.
The U of W-led study also found that while the vast majority are putting down roots, those surveyed also continue to complain their credentials and pre-immigration job experience is not recognized when they arrive and begin looking for jobs here. Spouses of the principal applicants have numerous difficulties, especially in language skills and somewhat in integration into the community.
Overall, the picture shows that it is a hard slog, but this program — making up the bulk of the 16,000 immigrants coming annually — most eventually gain a hold in the job market.
Mr. Kenney’s wants the provinces to put greater emphasis on English-language skills, which would cut hundreds, maybe thousands, from the flow into Manitoba, which stresses skill level and a likelihood to adjust. Ottawa cannot demand that the provinces change their criteria, but it does put a final stamp on who gets in. Provincial Immigration Minister Christine Melnick should look for where Manitoba’s program could be tweaked. She should show Mr. Kenney evidence that supports leaving the province’s program largely intact so economic growth is not impeded.