Canada's new Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino will develop the government's proposed employer-driven Municipal Nominee Program (MNP) pilot program to attract and retain skilled workers in smaller and mid-sized communities. Immigrants to Canada typically settle in Canada’s largest cities, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa. Newcomers are attracted to larger cities with more opportunities, while small towns and rural areas of Canada are facing severe labour shortages due to an aging population and an exodus of young people to large cities.
The Municipal Nominee Program is an economic immigration program that will allow local communities, chambers of commerce and local labour councils to directly sponsor permanent immigrants to move to their community. Newcomer sponsorship is expected to be employer-driven to fill local labour needs. Local communities will recruit immigrants based on matching their skills to community job needs. With the guarantee of a job and community support to help newcomers integrate into the community, labour market experts anticipate immigrants will want to move to Canada's smaller cities and towns.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed Mendicino in a mandate letter to oversee the MNP pilot and to implement Canada's immigration plan to bring one million new permanent residents to Canada over a three-year period. According to CBC, Mendicino said this new pathway to permanent residency is another example of innovation in Canada's immigration programs, one that allows the system
"to draw on local experiences, expertise, capacities to understand where are the labour shortages, where are the economic opportunities and how that information can help us select individuals who wish to come to Canada to ply their trade, to fulfill their opportunity."
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Municipal Nominee Program Key Points
In order to attract immigrants to their community, key features of the MNP are expected to be:
- There will be a minimum of 5,000 spaces per year available for the new immigration program
- Reduce the permanent residence physical presence requirement to 3 years in the last 5, down from the current 4-years in the last 6 requirement
- Make it free for permanent residents to apply for citizenship – it currently costs $630 to apply