Data indicates majority of immigrants coming to Manitoba are staying

New numbers are showing Manitoba is behind other provinces when it comes to retaining newcomers. Edward Djan has more.

New numbers from StatsCan are showing a majority of immigrants to Manitoba through the Provincial Nominee Program are staying after five years. While that news is welcome, some say there could be more done to make this province more attractive to newcomers.

The numbers show that nearly 95 per cent of newcomers between the ages of 20 and 54 who came to Manitoba under the Provincial Nominee Program between 2010 and 2019 stayed for a year.

That number decreases to about 85 per cent in five years.

“Provinces with large metropolitan areas certainly have an advantage. Also, provinces with a large labour market also tend to reduce the needs of immigrants to move to other provinces to move for other job opportunities,” said Feng Hou, researcher with StatsCan.

While Manitoba does rank higher than most other provinces, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia have higher retention rates.

It’s why some who advocate on behalf of newcomers in this province say it will take all three levels of government to make Manitoba an even more competitive province.

“For us to work together, work collaboratively, sharing ideas, sharing needs and trying to share ideas within the resources that we have, that should be the approach,” said Reuben Garang the Executive Director of Immigration Partnership Winnipeg.

In a statement to CityNews, Minster of Labour and Immigration Malaya Marcelino said Manitoba saw its worst outmigration in decades.

Minster Marcelino added that “We’re prioritizing bringing more immigrants to Manitoba to help with labour force and skills shortages. It is much easier for newcomers to feel at home in a new country when they have family connections, and so I want to focus those immigration efforts on reunifying families.”

The StatsCan study also highlighted Manitoba’s reliance on the Provincial Nominee Program compared to other provinces.

“About 90 per cent of the economic immigrants come from the PNP compared to 15 per cent in Ontario. A majority of economic immigrants in Manitoba are through the PNP,” said Hou.

But as other factors such as inflation broadly affect the provinces, some say, this gives Manitoba the opportunity to find new ways to appeal to newcomers by positioning the province as a more affordable place to live that also provides ample economic opportunities.

“No matter how much you make, your mortgage is high, it’s not good right now. Hopefully things will change,” said Omar Rahimi, co-owner of hire-a-refugee.

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