Manitoba aiming to help more skilled immigrants

New resources for career guidance and funding for a microloan programme will help newcomers to Manitoba overcome barriers and find work in their fields more quickly, the province’s Labour and Immigration Minister Erna Braun announced yesterday.

“The Manitoba government is improving the recognition of foreign qualifications and supporting new Canadians by letting them put their education and experience to use,” said Minister Braun.  “These new resources and supports will help newcomers transition more smoothly into the labour market and help them build a life and successful careers in Manitoba.”

This initiative builds on the positive results that have come from Manitoba’s focus on steadily growing immigration, the minister said.  Since 1999, more than 150,000 immigrants have come to the province and many of those people have chosen to live in rural areas of Manitoba, contributing to the economy of over 130 communities, Minister Braun noted.

The new resources for Manitoba Start will provide internationally educated newcomers with guidance, support and information to navigate the licensing process.  The minister said these supports include:

– A first-of-its-kind in Canada Career Development Curriculum and training resources that will guide skilled immigrants in achieving their employment, licensing and career goals in Manitoba;

– New profession-specific resource guides to help newcomers navigate the licensing process in regulated professions;

– Referral and guidance to newcomers on accessing financial supports such as Recognition Counts microloans; and

– Job-matching services that help newcomers work in their occupational area.

The minister noted Manitoba Start is nationally recognised for providing immigrant employment and labour market services to newcomers. She added these new resources will further strengthen Manitoba Start as a Manitoba Qualification Recognition Centre of Excellence.

Minister Braun also announced ongoing funding for the highly successful Recognition Counts programme.  This programme provides accessible, low-interest loans to help internationally skilled immigrants gain credential recognition or training they need to work in their fields of expertise in Manitoba.  Since the launch of the pilot programme in 2012, more than 150 low-interest loans have been offered to help newcomers achieve full certification in their profession.

“Navigating the world of qualifications recognition can be complex,” said Judith Hayes, Executive Director of Manitoba Start.  “By having better information and clear guidance on navigating the licensing process, newcomers will be in a better position to achieve full certification in their profession as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

“Since Recognition Counts was launched, it has provided much-needed supports to newcomers who want to work in their chosen field to get the certification, upgrading or training they need to have their education and experience recognised,” said Sandra Leone, Manager OF Recognition Counts, Supporting Employment and Economic Development Inc. (SEED Winnipeg).  “We are pleased this valuable resource will continue to be available.”

In 2015-16, the Manitoba government is providing $3 million for the Manitoba Start Program.  Manitoba Start provides consolidated, employment and labour market services to newcomers, and facilitates job matching services for employers.  Manitoba Start provided services to approximately 6,000 immigrant newcomers in 2014.