$3.1M from provincial nominee fees going to newcomer support programs

The money will come from revenue generated by application fees from the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program, the government announced Friday.

The funding will support people on pathway to citizenship: Goertzen

Rita Chahal, executive director of the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, says the organization is 'thrilled' to receive the additional funding. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

The provincial government is directing $3.1 million to newcomer support services across Manitoba, it announced Friday.

The money will come from revenue generated by application fees from the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. In November 2016, the province introduced a $500 application fee for skilled workers, in addition to an existing $2,500 application fee for businesses.

The province is distributing the funds to 17 organizations across Manitoba, including the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council.

"We're thrilled to accept the province's investment to help integrate newcomer refugees into Canadian society," said Rita Chahal, the organization's executive director.

"We look forward to continuing our work with multicultural, multi-linguistic and multi-faith communities in Manitoba to support newcomers."

Six organizations in rural Manitoba will also receive funds, including Eastman Immigrant Services in Steinbach.

"Newcomers play a very important role in the growth and development of the Eastman region," said Michelle Bezditny, executive director of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce and Eastman Immigrant Services.

"This funding allows our settlement program to service newcomers in ways we have not been able to do in the past."

The province held roundtable consultations to identify areas that needed the added supports most. Participants recommended programs that help integrate newcomers living with multiple barriers — including disabilities — and targeted supports for newcomer youth and families.

"Newcomers are better positioned to succeed if they are supported at key points along the pathway to permanent residency and full citizenship," said Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen.  

"Settlement services help to ensure they receive orientation to their communities, know how to access health and community services, have opportunities to practise language and connect with a broader social network."

In 2018, the provincial nominee program issued 5,207 nominations. In 2019, it can select up to 6,000 new provincial nominees and their families, with 250 of these spaces set aside for semi-skilled workers who have a high school education and some work experience.

The provincial nominee program was introduced in 1998.