Canada| Immigration | Municipal Nominee Program

Canada will launch the Municipal Nominee Program to assist in promoting economic development across Canada in smaller cities.


After every federal election in Canada, the Prime Minister provides letters of mandate to the cabinet ministers to fulfill. The letters of the mandate outline each minister's priorities.


Marco Mendicino has been appointed as immigration minister after the October 2019 election in Canada. Among the priorities outlined to him by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the introduction of a new Municipal Nominee Program (MNP).


Minister Mendicino said before the coronavirus pandemic that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) was in the early stages of public consultation on the MNP. These plans have been disrupted by the pandemic but the MNP will eventually be launched . Below are some early ideas on what that would look like.


5,000 spots to be available annually


Mendicino 's letter of mandate calls for the MNP to make at least 5,000 spots available for immigration.


This strongly indicates that the MNP, like other new IRCC projects which have been rolled out in recent years, will start as a pilot project.

If that is the case, under the pilot per year, IRCC could welcome up to 2,750 primary applicants. The remaining 2.250 spots would be available to primary applicant's spouses and dependents.


Selection of Municipalities:


Identifying how IRCC should pick the participating municipalities is the first major consideration of program design. This would be a daunting undertaking given the number of existing municipalities in Canada, most of which will benefit from higher immigration to sustain their economies.


As of the 2016 Census, Canada had 35 metropolitan census areas (CMA) and 117 census agglomerations (CA). In general, a CMA has a population of at least 100,000 while a CA has a population below that but at least 10,000.


Many of those CMAs and CAs will welcome the opportunity under the MNP to participate. In order to narrow the field, IRCC may choose to exclude the Atlantic provinces as they have the Atlantic Immigration Pilot and the communities involved in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.


This will leave the MNP to municipalities in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario. IRCC would then be able to invite interested municipalities to submit applications for MNP. IRCC will continue to use selection criteria similar to those it used when choosing RNIP groups that participated.


Selection criteria: MNP


Canada need not reinvent the wheel after MNP communities have been identified. Selection requirements that tend to concentrate on the like of age, employment, language skills , work experience and whether applicants have community connections such as local education , work experience, or family.


The secret to the MNP 's success would be to ensure that the selection criteria are not too onerous while at the same time ensuring that the selection criteria are stringent.


One of the risks associated with imposing criteria such as the need for a job offer and a settlement plan to qualify for the MNP is that such criteria can make it hard to get enough qualified applicants.


The MNP will not be able to achieve its goal of supporting economic development in participating communities, in the absence of sufficient candidates.


At the same time, selection criteria need to screen for candidates that will most likely be able to retain the communities over the long run. Retention is key to attaining economic development goals.


Current federal programs and other economic-class streams, such as the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), give us a good understanding of how retention can be promoted under the MNP.


Applicants with a work offer will be given priority. But even though an applicant has no job offer, they will still be chosen for as long as they have links to the community. These ties can be demonstrated through the likes of completing the municipality's post-secondary education, gaining post-graduate work experience there, and having family members there.


Needless to mention, participating groups do need to do their part to promote retention. For example, they need to promote supportive environments for immigrants within the community, and they also need to provide relocation and integration support for immigrants who may need assistance after obtaining permanent residency through the MNP.


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