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New data shows newcomers staying in Manitoba longer

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A new study by Statistics Canada suggests newcomers are choosing to stay in the province for a longer period of time. The data looks at immigrants landing in Manitoba as part of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which includes skilled workers, international students and business investors.

According to the study, 94.4 percent of newcomers between the ages of 20 and 54 who came to Manitoba under the PNP between 2010 and 2019 stayed for one year. That number dips to 84.7 percent for those who stay for five years.

Experts point to affordability and other economic opportunities as some of the forces driving newcomers out to other provinces.

“In the provinces of Ontario, B.C., Quebec, Alberta – they have much larger metropolitan areas and have a much larger labour market,” said Feng Hou, a researcher with StatsCan.

However, Hou said the province’s newcomer retention rate is still high.

“When you compare Manitoba with other smaller provinces, Manitoba certainly has advantages in terms of the size of metropolitan area, in terms of the size of labor market,” Hou said.

Hou added that Manitoba attracts a different group of PNP workers, specifically those working technical or low-skilled jobs. “Those immigrants have a higher tendency to stay,” he said.

Something that is very appreciated by Winnipeg’s businesses.

“I think it speaks to the hard work that we have as a community put into developing the case for Manitoba,” said Loren Remillard, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. “And it seems to be finding traction with many newcomer Canadians.”

University of Winnipeg graduate student Arun Mani moved from India to pursue his Master’s degree in applied computer science and said he plans on staying in Manitoba after finishing school.

“I came here two years ago, and the people of Manitoba welcomed me with open arms,” Mani said, adding that moving to Winnipeg provided him with “the best of both worlds.”

“Manitoba, is relatively, really affordable,” Mani said. “You still have a dominant domestic industry here in Winnipeg that that can sustain, especially a computer science job or something like that.”

In order to entice and retain other international students to come study in Manitoba, the provincial government plans to make good on one of its campaign promises.

“Our government has committed to reinstating international student health care,” said labour and immigration minister Malaya Marcelino. “We know this is going to be a big, big help to international students. And they're like gold to us here in this province. And we want to retain them.”

Another way the province hopes to retain its newcomers is by creating an optimal scenario: “the combination of family, a welcoming community and good jobs,” Marcelino said.

That scenario also includes easing the process for foreign workers and students.

“We are certainly looking at that, to make sure that we can remove those accreditation barriers so that our newcomers are able to stay here in Manitoba and contribute to our economy,” Marcelino said.

‘WE CAN STAY HERE FOR A LONG TIME’: NEWCOMERS PLANT ROOTS IN WINNIPEG

When immigrant families arrive in Winnipeg, many are often searching for support. The NEEDS (Newcomers Employment and Education Development Services) Centre is located in the city’s downtown area and provides employment and education development services for newcomers.

But staff say a lot of immigrants aren’t aware of organizations like NEEDS when they’re looking for a helping hand.

Viktor Kyryliuk, a facilitator with NEEDS Inc., immigrated with his family to Manitoba from China last year.

“We were thinking about Alberta too but we decided to come here,” he said. “I knew that I will have better chances of finding a job here because of my background, and education and skills.”

“We are hoping that if everything goes well, we can stay here for a long time,” he said.

Kyryliuk said he was able to find his first job after a few months, and then started working at the NEEDS Centre six months after moving to Winnipeg. However, he also said he’s noticed some newcomers emigrating from Manitoba and Canada because they are unable to find employment.

“Prices are very high groceries, housing too. Both parents need to work to provide, to cover all the expenses. That's very hard right now,” Kyryliuk said.

Kyryliuk said more awareness of programs such as NEEDS may retain more newcomers by providing them with the necessary resources and supports they need.

Other advocates say the province and the federal government should explore ways to support the family members of those who apply to study or work here, saying a sense of belonging and community are key to keeping people in Manitoba.

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