Provincial nominee programs (PNPs) were introduced to influence the regional distribution of immigrants and allow provincial governments to address local labour needs. They represent a departure from a federal immigration policy, as provincial governments play a direct role in setting goals and selecting immigrants.
In this study, Tom Carter, Manish Pandey and James Townsend provide an overview of the PNPs and their use by various provinces. The Manitoba government has been a leader in developing and expanding its PNP, making it a prime candidate for a case study evaluating the potential of these programs for attracting, retaining and integrating immigrants in smaller provinces.
Using data from Statistics Canada’s Longitudinal Immigration Database, the authors find that the Manitoba program has been successful at both attracting and retaining immigrants. Compared with federal economic class immigrants (ECIs) destined for Manitoba, nominees were more likely to stay in the province. Nominees’ earnings in the first year after immigration were similar to those of ECIs, although nominees had lower average levels of educational attainment. The authors say these findings may reflect the fact that many nominees qualified for entry on the basis of having a job offer. However, nominees experienced slower growth in their earnings, even after controlling for educational attainment.
Drawing on a survey of Manitoba provincial nominees’ outcomes and experiences, the authors observe positive outcomes for labour market integration. Nominees entered the labour force rapidly and experienced low levels of unemployment in subsequent years. While poverty levels were initially high, they subsequently fell. Furthermore, settlement services have played an important role in the integration process.
When all indicators explored in the survey are considered, nominees’ settlement and integration outcomes improved over time, as did their material and social well-being. They have “taken root” and feel generally positive about their decision to make their home in Manitoba. All this suggests that the program has been working well.
here are several lessons from the Manitoba experience for smaller provinces attempting to increase immigration through a PNP. Through consultations with existing immigrant communities, employers and other stakeholders, the Manitoba government benefited from local strengths and history. This had a positive impact on both program design and recruitment.
The province also assumed control over settlement services not long after it launched its PNP, allowing it to design and deliver services that more effectively serve the needs of recent immigrants.
Recent immigrants to Canada have settled disproportionately in the three largest cities. Table 1 shows the share of the overall population and the share of recent immigrants, defined as those arriving between 2001 and 2006, who resided in Canada’s 11 largest cities at the time of the 2006 census.1 Recent immigrants were 2.5 times more likely than the population as a whole to live in Toronto. While Canada’s largest city accounted for 16.4 percent of the overall population, 40.3 percent of recent immigrants called Toronto home. Recent arrivals were similarly overrepresented in Montreal and Vancouver; 69.1 percent of recent immigrants resided in the Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, compared with 34.7 percent of the total population. With the exceptions of Calgary and Winnipeg, recent immigrants were less likely to live in the smaller “second-tier” cities than the population as a whole. As table 2 illustrates, similar disparities are evident at the provincial level. Compared with the overall population, recent immigrants were more likely to live in Ontario and British Columbia and less likely to live in the remaining eight provinces. The share of recent immigrants was particularly low for Saskatchewan and the Atlantic provinces.
Immigration has been viewed as an important tool for addressing demographic challenges, as fertility has declined below replacement levels (Green and Green 2004). In the mid-1990s, low birth rates and an aging population resulted in immigration surpassing natural increase as the primary driver of population growth in Canada (Statistics Canada 2008a). Enhancing the ability of smaller centres to attract immigrants may allow these communities to slow or halt population decline while simultaneously bringing in younger members to offset the effects of an aging population. In addition to addressing demographic concerns, developing immigration policy at a local level may allow communities to identify and recruit potential immigrants who are better suited to integrating into the community and/or have skills that meet local labour market conditions. Better matches may improve retention and increase the economic benefits of immigration.
The provincial nominee programs (PNPs) were introduced to influence the regional distribution of immigrants so that the benefits of immigration are shared more evenly (Carter, Morrish, and Amoyaw 2008; House of Commons, Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration 2003).2 The nominee programs represent a departure from federally administered immigration programs, notably the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), as provincial governments play a direct role in determining the goals of and criteria for immigration. Potential immigrants apply for permanent resident status directly through the province to which they intend to immigrate. The PNPs provide an incentive to immigrate to smaller provinces or centres by establishing criteria that can be more easily met by the province’s target migrants than the federal selection criteria and by offering expedited processing times.3
The nominee programs enable provinces to use immigration to address short-term labour shortages that are not currently being met through the FSWP.4 Within their nominee programs, provinces have created streams that facilitate the entry of needed tradespeople to meet specific labour force requirements. The skills of these workers are different (often lower levels of education and skills) than those of workers admitted through the FSWP. Nominees are often selected on the basis of specific types of trades — truck drivers and welders, for example — that do not meet the eligibility criteria of the FSWP. The programs are also aimed at attracting business immigrants who will establish new or joint ventures, in the belief that investments by these immigrants will lead to job creation and other benefits.
Other recent developments in federal immigration policy also reflect an increased emphasis on using immigration to address short-term labour market shortages. In response to a growing inventory of applicants under the FSWP, a ministerial directive in 2008 restricted applications to individuals who either were in one of 38 occupations determined to be in demand or had a preexisting job offer. In addition, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), which creates a path to permanent residency for qualified international students and highly skilled temporary workers with work experience in Canada, was introduced in 2008. While these changes were intended to provide greater labour market responsiveness, critics charge that by focusing on short-term needs, immigration policy fails to address long-term objectives of economic immigration.5
The first nominee agreements were signed in 1998. All provinces, with the exception of Quebec — which acquired a role in selecting economic immigrants under a separate agreement in 1978 (expanded in 1991) — now have nominee programs.6 The use of these programs has grown rapidly: in 1999, only 477 immigrants landed in Canada through a nominee program, but the number grew to 22,417 by 2008. The programs are expected to grow further; Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) forecasts that in 2012, 40,000 nominees will be admitted (Auditor General of Canada 2009). If these projections are realized, the nominee programs will surpass the FSWP, accounting for 30 percent of all economic immigrants to Canada.
Despite the growing importance of the nominee programs, relatively little is known about the outcomes of Canadian immigrants landing through these programs. A recent report of the Auditor General of Canada notes:
Although PNP agreements require the provinces and territories to collect information on the retention of nominees within their respective jurisdictions, the information is either absent or incomplete and not always shared with the Department [CIC]. The lack of information on the retention of nominees was raised in recent reports of three provincial auditors general in which one specifically noted that this represented non-compliance with the PNP agreement. (Auditor General of Canada 2009, 26)
For the nominee programs to be an effective means of dispersing immigrants more evenly through the country, a substantial portion of nominees must settle within the communities involved in the nominee process. However, while retention rates are one broad measure of program success, these programs must also be evaluated on the basis of whether nominees are able to successfully integrate into the social and economic fabric of the receiving communities. In addition to the strong relationship between integration and retention in the province where they initially settle (Derwing and Krahn 2008), integration is important if the programs are to benefit both immigrants and stakeholders within the receiving communities.
In this paper, we provide a brief history and overview of the provincial nominee programs. We describe the objectives of the programs and provide an overview of how the programs operate. In addition, we look at how extensively the programs have been used by the various provinces. As we will show, Manitoba has been a leader in developing and expanding its nominee program. Between 1999 and 2008, 49.8 percent of all nominees landing in Canada came through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP). There is little doubt that the program has successfully increased immigration to Manitoba. In 1999, the immigration rate to the province was 3.3 immigrants per 1,000 residents, well below the national rate of 6.3 per 1,000. In 2008, Manitoba’s immigration was 9.3 per 1,000, well above the national rate of 7.4 per 1,000 (CIC 2009).7
Given its scale and maturity, along with its success in attracting immigrants to the province, we use the Manitoba PNP as a case study for evaluating the potential of the nominee programs in meeting the goals of attracting, retaining and integrating immigrants into smaller centres and provinces. To this end, we examine retention rates, labour market outcomes and other measures of social integration to determine whether Manitoba has been able to devise a program that has been effective in identifying immigrants who will remain within the province and successfully integrate into the economic and social life of its communities.
For our case study, we use data from two main sources, along with supplemental data from the 2006 census and CIC, to evaluate a variety of outcomes of the Manitoba program. Using microdata from the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB), we evaluate measures of earnings and retention of principal applicants in the years following landing. We also look at how principal applicants are distributed between Winnipeg and the remainder of the province subsequent to landing. To assess program success, we compare the outcomes of nominees with those of immigrants entering Manitoba through the federal economic class immigration program. Federal economic class immigrants (ECIs) include those immigrants entering through not just the FSWP but also the national programs for business class and investor class immigrants.8 In addition, we present findings from a comprehensive survey study of principal applicants and their spouses arriving under the nominee program, which collected information on a number of outcomes and issues, including difficulties with labour market integration and trajectories, satisfaction with program administration and information and services upon arrival, trajectories in incomes and poverty levels, housing experiences, satisfaction with communities and schools, and a host of other indicators important in the settlement and integration process.
In the remainder of the study, we provide an overview of the nominee programs, followed by additional information on the Manitoba program, including a brief history of how the program evolved and a description of how the program and immigration policy in general differ between Manitoba and the other provinces. The next section describes our data sets and presents our findings. Finally, we conclude by summarizing our findings and discussing their potential implications regarding immigration policy at both the provincial and federal levels.
The first federal-provincial agreements creating nominee programs were signed in 1998 by British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.9 Since then, New Brunswick (1999), Newfoundland and Labrador (1999), Alberta (2002), Nova Scotia (2002), Prince Edward Island (2002) and Ontario (2007) have all signed agreements creating their own nominee programs.10 In addition, Yukon (2001) and the Northwest Territories (2009) have territorial nominee agreements. Before the creation of the nominee programs, a number of provinces had agreements with the federal government regarding immigration; however, the nominee agreements were unique in that they gave the provinces a formal role in the selection of immigrants.11 Although Quebec does not have a nominee agreement, under the Canada-Quebec Accord (1991), the province determines the level of immigration and selects most immigrants to the province.
Immigrants seeking permanent residency through one of the nominee programs apply directly to the province. The applicants are first vetted by provincial officials to determine if they meet the criteria of the program. Acceptable applicants are then nominated by the province for permanent resident status. CIC determines whether each nominee fulfills federal admissibility requirements related to health, criminality and security.
Provinces with nominee agreements may create multiple streams within their programs. Each stream may have its own eligibility criteria. When creating new streams, the provinces are required to inform CIC and provide information regarding the relevant selection criteria. However, approval from CIC is not required (Auditor General of Canada 2009, 25). There are now over 60 different immigration streams across the various nominee programs.
Table 3 lists the main streams and indicates which provinces had a variant of each stream at the time of writing this study.12 All provinces have a form of “employer direct” stream, where eligibility requires obtaining a full-time job offer from an employer in the province. In addition, provinces have strategic recruitment streams, where the eligibility is based on working in certain occupations. The list of eligible occupations is based on current labour shortages in the province. Applicants for these programs are often already working in Canada as temporary foreign workers. With the exception of Ontario and British Columbia, all provinces offer some form of family stream. Applicants for provincial nomination for this stream have to demonstrate that they have family support in the province.13 Unlike applicants to the federal family class program, applicants are also vetted to determine whether their skills and qualifications are suitably matched to the provincial economy.
The business immigration streams are for experienced business entrepreneurs who plan to invest in and actively manage a business in a province. In addition, a number of provinces have recently introduced an international student stream for students who graduate from a university in the nominating province or who have recently graduated from a university elsewhere in Canada and have been working for at least six months in the province under a postgraduation work permit.14
The nominee programs do not restrict a successful nominee’s ability to move between provinces; indeed, doing so would violate the mobility rights of new immigrants provided under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Consequently, the onus is on provincial officials to develop categories and selection criteria that maximize the likelihood that immigrants will settle in the nominating province. Obtaining acceptable employment soon after arriving has been identified as the most compelling reason why new immigrants stay in the community they initially intended to settle in (House of Commons, Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration 2003, 4; Derwing and Krahn 2008, 193). This explains the ubiquity of employer direct programs, as immigrants entering through these programs will already have jobs that presumably match their skill set. Family and community connections have also been an important determinant of settlement, explaining the prevalence of family streams.
The creation of immigration categories is only one part of provincial involvement in the immigration process. Provinces also differ in the organizational structures and resources they dedicate to immigration. In Quebec, there is a separate department dedicated to immigration, while in other provinces, there are units of varying sizes within other departments. Staffing levels and financial resources differ as well. The budgets devoted to immigration tend to vary, with staffing levels ranging from hundreds of thousands to several million for provinces with large administrative units (Garcea 2006b).15
Provision of settlement and integration services follows three different models. In the most commonly used model, settlement services are administered by local CIC offices and are most often delivered by nongovernmental organizations — often referred to as service provider organizations. In Manitoba and British Columbia, agreements have been reached with CIC that transfer administration of these services directly to the provinces (see Seidle 2010 for further details). Alberta has opted for a comanagement role in settlement services, with provincial officials and CIC jointly determining settlement priorities and programming. In Quebec, responsibility for provision of these services rests solely with the province under its 1991 agreement with the federal government.
As noted in the introduction, the nominee programs have expanded rapidly since the initial programs began in 1999. While all provinces except Quebec now have a nominee program, utilization has varied widely between provinces. Table 4 shows the total number of nominees received by each province between 1999 and 2008. While all provinces received provincial nominees over this period, the number of nominees in other provinces was much smaller than the number in Manitoba. The table also shows the share of total immigration to each province that was made up of nominees, which indicates the relative importance of each province’s nominee program in accounting for total immigration. Again, the figures for Manitoba are high, with the nominee program accounting for just over half of all immigration to the province. For Prince Edward Island, the proportion is even higher: its nominee program accounted for nearly two-thirds of all immigration to the province between 1999 and 2008. The nominee programs also accounted for a sizable share of immigration to New Brunswick (36.4 percent), Saskatchewan (29.3 percent), Nova Scotia (15.7 percent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (13.0 percent).
Manitoba’s immigration experience and development of immigration policy has been shaped by demographic and economic circumstances (Carter, Morrish, and Amoyaw 2008). The province has experienced relatively slow population growth in recent decades. Between 1971 and 2006, the population increased by 16.2 percent, while the population of Canada increased by 46.6 percent.16 The population of the province is also aging, and many smaller communities are experiencing population decline. Manitoba has been losing population to other provinces through interprovincial migration. Between 1996 and 2001, the net interprovincial migration rate, as a percentage of the population, was 1.8 percent; between 2001 and 2006, the rate was 2.0 percent (Statistics Canada 2008b, 14).
Within Manitoba, a consensus to encourage immigration to the province began to emerge in the 1970s as a response to this slow growth in population. Businesses sought to address labour shortages and municipalities were looking for ways to increase their tax bases. In addition, existing immigrant communities wished to attract new members and reunite families (Leo and August 2009, 496). By 1990, the province had consolidated immigration, settlement and language services within a single department (Leo and August 2009). In 1996, the CanadaManitoba Immigration Agreement was signed and a pilot project was launched that allowed employers within the province to address skill shortages by recruiting sewing machine operators (Huynh 2004).
The 1996 agreement provided for the subsequent addition of annexes on provincial nominees and on settlement realignment, which were signed in 1998. Manitoba has been a leader in program development ever since.17 Immigration and settlement programming is handled by the Immigration Division of Manitoba Labour and Immigration. The province assumed full responsibility for the administration and delivery of settlement services with the 1998 annex. While funding for these services is provided by CIC, the provincial government has contributed as well.18
A number of representatives within the settlement provider community have indicated that settlement services improved immediately when the provincial government assumed management of services (Leo and August 2009, 498). The province has worked in consultation with various communities and stakeholders, and has developed a number of innovative programs, including language training programs offering occupation-specific training or targeting niche populations within the immigration community with specialized needs (e.g., seniors and single mothers).19
The Manitoba government sees the PNP as a way to deal with existing and impending skill shortages as well as to add to population growth, both in Winnipeg and in rural areas. In order to meet these short-term economic and long-term demographic goals, it is essential that applicants be well suited to Manitoba’s labour market needs, and also be good candidates for successful settlement and integration. To facilitate these objectives, there are different streams of the Manitoba PNP for potential nominees that have included the following (Manitoba Labour and Immigration, 2006b):
Recent changes have eliminated the community support stream and combined the Manitoba Young Farmer Program with the Program for Business Investment.
The various streams were designed to be integrated and complementary in nature (Clement 2005). Given the wide-ranging criteria, the guidelines are very flexible and applicants can be directed to the best route on a case-by-case basis. For example, the application of a person who does not have a job offer but has a family member in the province can be shifted to the family support category. Foreign students, who now have the approval of the federal government to remain up to three years after their studies are complete, can apply under the employer direct stream if they have a job offer. Temporary foreign workers are eligible to apply after they have been in Manitoba for six months, and many are sponsored by their employer under the employer direct stream.20 In May 2004, major revisions to the program were undertaken that increased the emphasis on applicants’ employability, ability to adapt to changing labour market conditions and preexisting community connections. These changes were made after it became apparent that the “high demand occupation list,” on which selection had previously been primarily based, could not keep up with changes in the labour market (Leo and August 2009, 501-3).
The PNP has become Manitoba’s primary program for new immigrants. Figure 1 shows how immigration to Manitoba has been split across the various programs. In 1999, the year the first applicants arrived, the PNP provided 11 percent of all arrivals. Skilled workers and the business class contributed 38 percent, the family class 28 percent and refugees 21 percent. By 2008, the nominee program’s proportion of total new arrivals had increased to 71 percent, skilled workers and business class immigrants had fallen to approximately 5 percent, the family class to 12 percent and refugees to 9 percent. While there has not been any appreciable decline in the actual number of people arriving under the other categories, the number arriving through the PNP has risen, increasing the overall number of new arrivals in the province. The total number of people moving to the province under the PNP has increased from 418 in 1999, the year after the program was introduced, to 7,968 in 2008.
The Manitoba Nominee Program has broadened the regional distribution of immigrants in the province. Before its introduction, about 90 percent of new arrivals settled initially in Winnipeg, which contains approximately 60 percent of the provincial population and accounts for 63 percent of GDP. In 2008 almost 35 percent of provincial nominees were destined for communities outside Winnipeg, compared with 12 percent of federal immigration streams (Manitoba Labour and Immigration 2008). Since 2000 approximately 23 percent of all new immigrants to Manitoba (close to 16,000 immigrants) have indicated that they planned to settle outside of Winnipeg: 32 percent of those arriving under the MPNP but only 12 percent of immigrants under federal immigration programs (table 5). In 2000, 21 percent of all immigrants, 49 percent of nominees and 13 percent of federal immigrants were destined for regions outside of Winnipeg. This increasing flow of immigrants to centres outside Winnipeg can be attributed to a number of factors: better matching with labour demands under the program; proactive involvement of communities in settlement planning, promotion and sponsorship; more involvement by employers throughout the province; and the greater control that the province has over nomination and selection of immigrants (Carter, Morrish, and Amoyaw, 2008).
There is little doubt that the program has been successful in attracting immigrants. Manitoba’s share of immigration to Canada has increased from 1.9 percent in 1998 to 5.4 percent in 2009 (CIC 2010). In addition, the distribution of immigration has improved, with a greater proportion of immigrants planning to settle in centres outside of Winnipeg. Based on these successes, the province has announced the ambitious target of expanding immigration to Manitoba to 20,000 per year by 2016 (Manitoba Labour and Immigration 2006a).
In this section, we examine the outcomes and issues related to retention and integration of immigrants entering Manitoba through the PNP. While integration is often assessed by comparing immigrant outcomes with those of comparable members of the native-born population, there are currently no publicly available data that include both immigrants and nativeborn Canadians and that allow identification of immigrants arriving through the MPNP. As a consequence, in much of what follows, we focus specifically on the integration experiences of nominees. We also provide some comparative analysis by contrasting the outcomes of nominees with those of federal ECIs. These comparisons provide some evidence on whether regionally devised selection criteria for immigration are leading to better outcomes than the federal selection criteria.
Our results are obtained using two main data sets. We use Statistics Canada’s Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB), a large data set formed by Statistics Canada by merging landing documents with subsequent tax records, to compare the real earnings, retention and provincial dispersion of nominees and ECIs arriving between 1999 and 2006. We also present a variety of results from a special data set that was collected under the direction of Tom Carter. This data set, based on a survey that was designed to collect information on the experiences of provincial nominees arriving in Manitoba between 2003 and 2008, provides comprehensive information on a variety of topics related to settlement and integration. In what follows, we describe each data set in further detail and present our results in separate subsections. In the final section of the paper, we summarize the major findings from the two data sets and discuss their implications for the future of the Manitoba PNP, the development and expansion of nominee programs in other provinces and future directions for immigration policy at both the federal and provincial levels.
To examine retention and earnings of nominees, we use the IMDB, a data set formed by merging landing documents with subsequent T1 forms filed for income tax purposes. The data set contains information on all immigrants to Canada landing between 1980 and 2007 who filed taxes at least once.21 We restrict our attention to immigrants landing in the period following the introduction of the PNP (1999-2006). Information collected at the time of landing includes educational attainment, marital status, age, gender and source country. The immigration category under which permanent residence status was granted is also included, allowing us to distinguish between provincial nominees and immigrants entering through one of the various categories of the federal immigration program. The tax records report total income, along with income from various sources, including employment and self-employment income. The province of residence is reported for each individual in a given tax year. In addition, information is available to determine which individuals filed taxes from a residence within or outside the Winnipeg CMA.
The IMDB allows us to identify provincial nominees but not the streams within the PNP through which permanent residency was granted. As the nominee program includes a business stream, we compare the outcomes of nominees with those of immigrants entering the province as federal skilled workers, federal business class and investor class immigrants. We refer to this latter group as economic class immigrants (ECIs) throughout this study. We exclude live-in caregivers, as there is no equivalent program within the Manitoba PNP.
The IMDB is an administrative data set and is not directly available to researchers. However, customized data may be ordered from Statistics Canada on a cost-recovery basis. We requested summary statistics for selected variables for immigrants destined to Manitoba after grouping them by immigrant class (provincial nominees or federal ECIs), relationship to the principal applicant (principal applicant, or spouse or dependant), year of arrival and tax year. For the remainder of this section, we restrict our attention to principal applicants.
The IMDB was used to compare the retention rates and earnings of nominees and ECIs. Earnings are defined as the sum of employment and self-employment income and are expressed in real terms in 2002 dollars. As immigrants may have resided in Canada for only part of the year in which they arrive, we examine only earnings beginning in the first tax year subsequent to landing. For our purposes, earnings in the first full tax year after arrival are referred to as entry earnings. We look only at immigrants who indicated that they were originally destined for Manitoba.22 To measure retention, we use the province of residence indicated in the tax record in each subsequent year. If taxes are filed in Manitoba, we classify that person as a “stayer”; otherwise, the person is classified as a “leaver.” For immigrants arriving in Manitoba in a given year, the retention rate in subsequent years is defined as the percentage of immigrants filing taxes in a given year who are still residing in Manitoba. For earnings, we restrict our attention to nominees and ECIs who reside in the province in the tax year. For this same group, we also examine the proportion of immigrants who are filing taxes from an address within the Winnipeg CMA to investigate the provincial dispersion of nominees.
Before discussing the main findings from the IMDB, it should be emphasized that the differences in the selection criteria of the MPNP and the federal program result in principal applicants who differ in several key characteristics. These differences, some of which have implications for labour market outcomes and mobility, are highlighted in table 6. Mean characteristics and outcomes are presented for the first five years (1999-2003) and the next three years (2004-06) of the MPNP. As noted earlier, the criteria of the program were revamped substantially in 2004, with a greater emphasis placed on employability and the elimination of the “high demand occupation” list. Our two periods roughly coincide with the periods before and after these changes to the program.
The average ages and gender splits of principal applicants landing through the two programs and during the two periods are similar; roughly three-quarters of applicants are male and the average age at landing is approximately 35. More substantive differences are observed with regard to education. While the average level of educational attainment was higher in the later period, ECIs were substantially more likely to have a university degree in both periods. Over 70 percent of federal ECIs had a university degree, while fewer than 50 percent of nominees had a similar degree. The difference is also observed for the lowest educational category; roughly 12 percent of nominees arriving between 2004 and 2006 indicated having only a high school diploma, compared with 2.4 percent of ECIs. Differences in the ability to speak an official language were also observed. This difference was most pronounced in the first period, when 45.3 percent of nominees but only 15.7 percent of ECIs indicated that they spoke neither English nor French. The difference narrowed considerably in the second period, as the percentage of nominees knowing neither language dropped to 17.8 percent. Increased emphasis on employability appears to have increased the emphasis on speaking an official language but not on having a degree. In terms of source regions, the two programs were similar, with the exception of the early period, when a large share of nominees came from Europe (38.7 percent). The higher percentage of Europeans in the early stage of the program reflects the use of the program by German Mennonites and Russian Jews.
After one year, retention rates for the nominee program were substantially higher than for ECIs, but this difference narrowed in the second period. For those immigrants remaining in Manitoba, average real earnings of ECIs one year after landing were approximately $3,500 higher than the earnings of nominees in the first period and $4,000 higher in the second period. This finding is not surprising, given the higher levels of educational attainment of ECIs. The greater dispersion of immigrants to centres outside of Winnipeg through the PNP is also evident; nominees were more likely to file taxes outside of the capital city, though this difference narrowed in the later period. Among immigrants arriving between 1999 and 2003, 27.8 percent of nominees filed taxes for the first year after arrival from outside of Winnipeg, compared with 17.3 percent of ECIs. For those who arrived between 2004 and 2006, the figures were 21.9 percent and 17.3 percent respectively. These figures differ from those presented earlier in this study, indicating a lower percentage of nominees outside of Winnipeg. However, it should be noted that both the units of analysis and the methods used to obtain the number are different. The previous figures on rural dispersion include spouses and dependants, and are based on the destination indicated on the landing record. The figures in this section are based on principal applicants alone and are based on the address listed on the tax return.23 The differences in the figures may be the result of either differences in family size (with nominees having larger families) or moves, either to Winnipeg or out of the province, subsequent to landing but prior to filing taxes for the first time. While we are unable to distinguish between these possibilities, both approaches support the conclusion that provincial nominees are more likely to reside outside of Winnipeg.
Earnings are often used as one measure of economic integration, particularly by economists. Immigrant earnings are compared with the earnings of native-born Canadians with similar human capital characteristics. In Canada, it has been established that immigrants face a large “entry penalty” upon arrival, as their earnings are substantially lower than those of native-born Canadians with similar levels of schooling and labour market experience. This entry penalty has grown over time, and has been experienced by refugees, family class immigrants and economic immigrants alike (Aydemir and Skuterud 2005; Green and Worswick 2004). Although immigrants tend to experience more rapid earnings growth with years of experience after arrival than comparable native-born workers, empirical research suggests that this growth is not sufficient to allow immigrants to achieve the same lifetime earnings as comparable native-born Canadians.
The IMDB does not allow us to compare the earnings of nominees with those of native-born Canadians, as the data set contains only immigrants. Instead, we compare the earnings of nominees with those of immigrants arriving through the federal economic class category. We limit our attention to immigrants to Manitoba who subsequently file taxes from Manitoba. Table 6 showed that nominees had lower average levels of educational attainment and were less likely to know an official language. Between 1999 and 2006, 75.3 percent of principal applicants immigrating to Manitoba through the federal economic class program had a university degree, compared with only 42.9 percent for Manitoba nominees. Indeed, as we noted earlier, one of the purposes of the nominee program was to allow employers to recruit needed semiskilled workers who did not qualify for the FSWP.
In addition to their different labour market attributes, there were systematic differences in the time of arrival of the two groups. The Manitoba PNP grew throughout our period of study, and consequently the majority of nominees arrived toward the end of our study period. In contrast, most economic immigrants arriving in Manitoba in the early part of the study period came through a federal program. It should be noted that Canada experienced a minor recession in the first few years of our study period (2000-02). A proper comparison of the outcomes of the programs should take into account that immigrants arriving at different times faced different economic circumstances.
To account for differences in characteristics between nominees and ECIs, and differences in economic conditions at the time of landing, we used the IMDB to estimate earnings equations in which the log of annual earnings was a function of gender, age at entry, years since landing and entry year. Both the slope of the earnings profiles, which measures how earnings grow with years since arrival, and the the intercept, which measures real earnings in the first tax year following landing, are allowed to differ between entry programs in the earnings model. The model was estimated separately for immigrants with a university degree and for immigrants with up to a post-secondary diploma. We also estimated a version of the model pooling both groups but excluding educational controls. While the first two exercises allowed us to compare the economic outcomes of like immigrants arriving through the two programs, the latter exercise allowed us to address the issue of whether the shift from selecting high-skilled immigrants to selecting semiskilled immigrants through the nominee program has resulted in lower overall earnings for economic immigrants to Manitoba. Technical details of these exercises are provided in appendix 1. Here we highlight two of the main results.
Figure 2 shows the ratio of the average earnings of nominees and ECIs for the tax year after arrival, derived from each of the exercises outlined in the previous paragraph.24 In each case, these are conditional means, which implies that the comparison is between immigrants of the same gender and age, and indicating the same knowledge of an official language, arriving through the two programs in a given year. For the lines labelled “High school/post-secondary diploma” and “University degree,” the comparison is also between individuals with approximately the same level of educational attainment.
The line labelled “All” shows the ratio of earnings for the two groups without taking into account differences in education between them. Although nominees were substantially less likely to have a university degree, when immigrants of the same gender, age and language ability are compared, nominees had higher entry earnings than ECIs in 2000-02, and similar earnings for the remaining years.
The remaining two lines provide an accounting for why this was the case. For the less-educated group, nominees experienced substantially higher earnings than ECIs, particularly in the early years of the program. While the difference is especially large in 2003, ECIs arriving in this period had a particularly poor outcome.25 Overall, the pattern suggests that once differences in education are accounted for, nominees did substantially better than ECIs in the early years of the program. From 2003 onwards, a period during which the program expanded rapidly and underwent a major revision, this advantage largely disappeared for the university-educated. With the exception of the 2003 arrivals, the advantage for nominees in the less-educated group also declined, though the earnings of nominees in this group were still 25 percent higher than those of comparable ECIs in 2005.
The differences in educational attainment do not appear to have resulted in substantially lower entry earnings for nominees, who have similar earnings to those of ECIs overall and have entry earnings that are either equivalent or superior to those of ECIs within educational categories. A somewhat different picture emerges when comparing the subsequent growth in earnings based on entry category. Figure 3 shows the growth rate of earnings, starting with the year after landing, by educational attainment and entry program. Earnings grow rapidly in the years immediately after landing, but the growth tapers off with each additional year in Canada. Two features stand out: first, immigrants with a university degree experience more rapid earnings growth than those with a post-secondary diploma; and second, nominees, who we find had higher earnings at entry, experience slower wage growth in the years following landing. The growth rate of nominees with diplomas lags that of their ECI counterparts by about 4 percent. For the university-educated, the growth rate of earnings of nominees is 3 percent less than those of ECIs.26 While this slower growth rate adds up over time, the majority of nominees were in the less-educated group. Entry earnings for nominees in this group were sufficiently high that their earnings would still be higher than observationally equivalent ECIs six years after landing. For example, within the 2000 landing cohort, nominees with diplomas had entry earnings that were approximately 60 percent higher than those of comparable ECIs. As a result of slower wage growth for nominees, the difference in earnings would still be approximately 27 percent six years after arrival.
In interpreting the above results, it is important to remember that over the study period, the nominee program started small, with limits to the number of nominees established through negotiations with CIC from 1999 to 2002. These limits were lifted in 2003, after which the program expanded rapidly. In addition, the number of ECIs decreased over the same period, as the nominee program offered a more flexible route for potential immigrants wishing to come to Manitoba. The changing importance of the two immigration categories leads to two important qualifiers. First, the years in which the entry earnings of nominees are substantially higher than those of ECIs are also years in which there were relatively few nominees coming to Manitoba.27 The largest differences between nominee and ECI outcomes were observed when the PNP was small. Once the program expanded, the differences in entry earnings largely vanished, both overall and for immigrants with university degrees. Only the less-skilled group of nominees continued to experience higher earnings than their ECI counterparts, although this difference has shrunk as the program has continued to expand.
A simple measure of retention can be constructed for immigrants to Manitoba by examining the province of residence indicated on tax returns in the years following landing. For immigrants landing in a given year, retention rates in each subsequent year after landing can be found by dividing the number filing taxes in Manitoba by the total number filing taxes within Canada. As a benchmark, we compute the same retention measure for ECIs coming to Manitoba. The results are shown in Figure 4. Panel (a) shows that for nominees arriving between 1999 and 2005, the retention rate one year after arrival is consistently above 80 percent. While retention rates fall as the duration after landing increases, for nominees landing between 1999 and 2002, they remain well above 70 percent five years after obtaining permanent resident status. The results for ECIs are substantially different. For immigrants landing through the federal program between 1999 and 2002, retention rates after one year are around 60 percent, and they continue to decline as the duration since landing increases. For immigrants arriving between 2003 and 2005 through the federal programs, the one-year retention rate increases to around 80 percent. Again, retention rates fall as the duration since landing increases. The increase in retention rates for federal ECIs after 2003 may be related to improving labour market conditions. While Manitoba has historically had some of the lowest provincial unemployment rates in Canada, between 2003 and 2006, the unemployment rate in Manitoba declined from 5.6 to 4.7 percent.28
The findings outlined above suggest that the selection criteria used by the Manitoba PNP were successful in identifying potential immigrants who were likely to settle within the province. Compared with ECIs, nominees were more likely to stay. This finding may in part relate to differences in the characteristics of immigrants coming through the two programs. Federal ECIs were on average better educated than nominees, and better-educated immigrants tend to be more mobile (Ostrovsky, Hou, and Picot 2008). Whereas individual characteristics likely do play a part, Pandey and Townsend (2010) model immigrant retention as a function of immigrant characteristics and program of entry, and find that even after controlling for such differences, one-year retention rates were higher for immigrants arriving under the Manitoba PNP.
Among those immigrants who have stayed in Manitoba, we investigate the distribution between Winnipeg and the rest of the province on the basis of landing year and the address reported in subsequent tax returns in the first full tax year after arrival. This information is summarized in figure 5. Principal applicants arriving through the PNP before 2002 were significantly more likely to reside outside of Winnipeg than ECIs arriving during the same period. From 2002 on, the difference narrows, but for all remaining landing years, nominees are more likely to file taxes from addresses outside of Winnipeg. Several key informants from the survey study expressed concerns that some smaller communities were reaching the limits of their ability to absorb additional immigrants into the local economy. While confirmation is needed, it is possible that some immigrants were going to Winnipeg once it became apparent that satisfactory opportunities were not available in smaller communities.
These are the main findings using the Longitudinal Immigration Database’s data set.
Findings 2 and 4 indicate that the program has achieved success in retaining immigrants and increasing settlement outside of Winnipeg. Findings 1 and 3 indicate that while immigrants selected through the PNP have less education, on the basis of earnings at least, their economic integration has been as good as, if not better than, that of comparable ECIs.
In late 2008, the Immigration Division of Manitoba Labour and Immigration asked Tom Carter to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Manitoba PNP. A questionnaire was designed to acquire information on the settlement experiences of immigrants to Manitoba who arrived under the PNP between November 2003 and November 2008. Sixty-five key informant interviews were conducted in 2009 with stakeholders in Winnipeg, Brandon, Portage La Prairie, Steinbach, Winkler, Morden and other communities. The interviews were used as a basis for questionnaire development and for general feedback on administration of the nominee program as well as its successes and challenges. The stakeholders included community organizations and municipal governments, employers, staff of settlement agencies and departmental employees. In addition to collecting information to develop the questionnaire, the key informant interviews resulted in useful information on the administration of the program, perceptions of the effectiveness of the program and assessments of the barriers faced by new arrivals and the level of success of the resettlement and integration process. The interviews also helped define the role of communities, particularly in centres outside of Winnipeg.
The questionnaire was administered through personal interviews conducted with 100 principal applicants and 50 spouses. To be eligible for the survey, an interviewee had to have been in the province for at least a year, but no more than five years. The sample approximated the provincial distribution of arrivals over the previous four to five years, with 70 percent in Winnipeg and 30 percent in centres outside of Winnipeg. The survey was conducted through personal, face-to-face interviews. Interviewees were recruited in cooperation with the Immigration Division, which sent 650 letters to potential interviewees explaining the purpose of the research project and inviting interested parties to call members of the research team. Participants signed a consent form and were given an honorarium.
The interview typically took about two hours for principal applicants and about 40 minutes for spouses. The main components of the survey collected information on the application process; premigration information; labour force experience; income and poverty trajectories; language proficiency and difficulties; education and training; access to health care and other services; housing experiences and characteristics; financial assistance received; settlement services received upon arrival and level of satisfaction with these services; barriers experienced, such as discrimination; participation in community activities; advice participants had for future immigrants; and the standard demographic and household information.
The findings of the survey study are summarized in six categories: (1) sample characteristics; (2) labour market integration; (3) earnings outcomes; (4) trajectories of other settlement and integration indicators; (5) program administration; and (6) community attraction and retention strategies and welcoming communities.
Asked about their last place of permanent residence, close to 22 percent of the sample said they came from the Philippines; another 19 percent came from Germany, 10 percent from Latin America and 8 percent from each of India, Israel and the Middle East, and China. The remaining 25 percent came from many other places. The dominance of Germany and the Philippines is well rooted in the history of immigration to Manitoba, as German Mennonites have been arriving since the late 1800s and Winnipeg has one of the largest Filipino communities in Canada. The draw of family who “have come before” certainly helps attraction and retention under the program.
Ninety percent of the arrivals were families (compared with two-thirds of households for the province as a whole), most with children, with an average household size of four, almost double the provincial average. Most of the principal applicants were in the prime workforce age range, 25 to 44.
Education levels were high: 58 percent of principal applicants and 46 percent of spouses had university degrees (at least bachelor’s degrees). Those with just high school diplomas were rare: only 8 percent of principal applicants and 18 percent of spouses had this level of attainment. Compared with the Manitoba population as a whole, nominees are highly educated; in 2006, 16.5 percent of all Manitoba residents aged 15 and older in 2006 held bachelor’s degrees.29
Of the 100 principal applicants, 85 were working. Of the 15 who were not, most were attending school or language skills training, or had other reasons unrelated to inability to find a job. Spells of unemployment were relatively uncommon and short. Three-quarters of the study sample had not been involuntarily unemployed at any time since their arrival. Further, most of those working had permanent jobs and some had more than one job. For 76 of the 85 respondents who were working, their primary jobs were permanent, and for 9 they were temporary (with a specific end date). On average, the interviewees worked at their primary job 38 hours per week. Thirteen of the principal applicants (15 percent) were working at more than one job at the time of the interview.
For 26 of the 100 principal applicants, employment had been prearranged before they arrived (or if they were already in Manitoba, they had been promised a job before acceptance as provincial nominees). Three-quarters of these jobs were prearranged by the employer or supervisor. For 20 of the 26 interviewees, this prearranged job became their first job after their arrival in Manitoba. Eighty-four percent of principal applicants started their first job within three months of moving to Manitoba (or being accepted in the Manitoba PNP).
Despite what appears to be a very positive labour force experience, 80 percent of those who had looked for work indicated they had difficulty finding a job. Interviewees were asked, “What difficulties with finding a job have you had?” Of the 200 reasons provided, these were the most common:
When asked what was the single most difficult barrier they experienced in finding a job, over half of the 67 respondents who had difficulties finding a job (52 percent, or 34 interviewees) indicated that their qualifications and/or credentials from outside Manitoba were not recognized. Twenty percent, or 13 respondents, said they did not have the language skills needed to work.
Much of the frustration related to labour force experiences revolved around the problems new arrivals had in obtaining recognition for their credentials and foreign work experience. Of the 81 participants who responded to a question on whether they had problems getting their credentials and/or training and expertise recognized since coming to Manitoba, 67 interviewees, or 83 percent, said they did. In many cases participants did not know exactly why their credentials were “officially” not recognized. Several interviewees found their credentials were recognized at a lower level than in their home countries, for instance as bachelor’s instead of master’s degrees. Others mentioned that language issues prevented them from getting their credentials recognized. Often newcomers needed to study to get their degrees validated, or to pass exams to become professionally certified, which takes significant time and money and also good language skills. The licensing cost that is often part of the recognition process was also reported to be a barrier.
Principal applicants were asked to indicate their intended occupation on their PNP application; what occupation they worked in at their first job; their current job; and what occupation they hoped to work at in five years from the time of the interview. The distribution of responses is presented in table 7. Based on the intended occupation on the application, 27 percent planned to work in trade, transport and equipment operations; 23 percent in natural and applied sciences; and 17 percent in business, finance and administration. The remainder were scattered throughout the occupational categories.
The distribution of first jobs, however, was very different from the intended occupation. Over one-third were in each of two categories: sales and services; and processing, manufacturing and utilities. A far lower proportion were working in trade, transport and equipment; and natural and applied sciences. A higher proportion of first jobs were in lower-paying and less-skilled positions. In their current jobs, interviewees are moving toward their intended occupations, with much higher proportions in natural and applied sciences (18 percent) and trade, transportation and equipment operations (20 percent) and a falling proportion in sales and services (17 percent).
Interviewees were asked, “Are you currently working in the occupation you indicated on your PNP application?” Thirty-nine of the 85 participants who were working at the time of the interviews (46 percent) were not working in the occupation indicated. Thirty-six (42 percent) said “yes,” and 10 more said “somewhat” (12 percent). Those who said “no” were asked if they had worked in the occupation on their application since their arrival. Over three-quarters, or 31 respondents, said they had not; another 8 indicated that they had.
Although the initial job often did not match the intended occupation at the time of application, responses regarding current occupations show that participants are moving closer to their intended occupations. However, a great deal of occupational change has to occur if people are going to realize their expectations over the next five years. The identified problems of language barriers, credential recognition and unrecognized job experience certainly play a role in this trajectory.
When asked whether they had household members other than themselves and a spouse who are able to earn income, 97 participants responded. Of these, more than half (53 respondents, or 55 percent) reported not having any other household members who would have been able to earn income. Of the 44 households that did have other potential income earners, 26 (59 percent) did have members working. The remaining 18 households commonly included youths aged 15-24 who were going to either secondary or post-secondary school. Of the households that included working-age members other than the principal applicant and a spouse, 70 percent had two such household members and 30 percent had one such member in the workforce.
Of the 86 principal applicants who have spouses, either married or common-law, 83 of the spouses lived in Manitoba. Of these spouses, approximately two-thirds were working at the time of the interview. On average, these spouses had been working for 19 months at their current job at the time of the survey. Over half of the spouses were working in services and primary industries. Twenty of the spouses (36 percent) were working in sales and services, and 10 (18 percent) were in processing and manufacturing. Nine (16 percent) had jobs in the business and finance industry, and 13 (23 percent) worked in health, sciences, education and government services.
In sum, almost everyone who wanted to work was working; 84 percent were in the labour force within three months of arrival; periods of unemployment were uncommon; and their trajectories toward their career objectives were positive. Furthermore, the incidence of spousal employment was high as well. The respondents expressed a reasonably high level of job satisfaction (58 percent were satisfied or very satisfied), and a significant percentage (47 percent) were also working to upgrade their education and improve their language skills.
Eighty-five households provided all the data necessary to determine both household income and expenses. Average annual household income was $49,066, which is lower than the average annual income of all Manitoba households ($60,242). The proportion of the study households in lower income brackets (under $30,000) is lower than for the Manitoba population; however, the proportion with incomes ranging from $30,000 to $49,999 is much higher, while the proportion of the sample households in higher income brackets is smaller. The figures illustrate that while there are fewer very-low-income households in the sample and more moderate-income households, there is a much lower proportion of the sample in the high income brackets than is the case in the province as a whole. This undoubtedly reflects the occupational profile, with many nominees in skilled trades but few in very-high-skilled positions in finance, management and the natural and applied sciences.
On average, the 85 study households received 85 percent of their monthly income from employment, 11.4 percent from government transfers and 3.3 percent from other sources. Equivalent figures for all households in Manitoba are 78 percent, 10 percent and 12 percent (Statistics Canada 2007). Twenty-four households (28 percent) received all their income from employment. For 35 households (41 percent) their salaries and wages constituted less than 100 percent but over three-quarters of their income. For two households, employment accounted for less than 50 percent of their income, and six households did not have any income from employment. Almost one-third of the study households were not receiving any income from government transfers. For over one-quarter, government transfers constituted less than 10 percent of their income, and for another 20 percent they constituted from 10 percent to 25 percent of their income. The child benefit accounted for most of the income from government transfers for many households.
To evaluate the trajectories of settlement and integration indicators, immigrants who arrived through the Manitoba PNP were classified into three cohorts: those who arrived 5 to 26 months ago, those who arrived 27 to 37 months ago and those who arrived 38 to 62 months ago. Table 8 summarizes the responses of immigrants in each cohort. The main findings are as follows.
There was only a modest change in the employment rate over time. The proportions employed were above 80 percent for all three cohorts, with the highest rate (88 percent) for those here the longest. By the third year, however, principal applicants were much more likely to be working in occupations in which they have training or experience (83 percent), compared with 57 percent for the most recent group and 54 percent for those here two to three years. The proportion taking more education or job training fluctuates over time, with about 40 percent taking more education and training in the first two years, 54 percent doing so in the second period and 42 percent taking education or training among those who have been in Manitoba the longest. It is likely that some who had been here for three to five years had completed upgrading of their education and training requirements.
As provincial nominees live here longer, they are less likely to have low income. In the first cohort, 60 percent were below Low Income Cut-offs (LICOs), but this proportion dropped to 40 percent in the second time period and 26 percent after three years.30 The rate for low income among all persons in private households in Manitoba was 17 percent (before tax) in 2006.31 This trend of increasing financial well-being is also reflected in the responses to the question “How would you describe your household’s present financial situation?” The respondents living in Manitoba longer than three years were more likely to say that they have enough money to meet or exceed their basic needs than the newer arrivals (67 percent for the most recent arrivals, 81 percent for the middle group and 94 percent for those living here over three years). Nearly three-quarters of longer-term residents reported no difficulty meeting their monthly expenses, while only 58 percent of the more recent arrivals made this claim.
As provincial nominees live in the province longer, they are more likely to become homeowners. Seventy-six percent of the longer-term residents own, compared with 63 percent of the middle group and only 39 percent of the most recently arrived. The probability of living temporarily in shared accommodation with family or friends decreases over time. None of the respondents living in Manitoba longer than three years was living with friends or relatives, and only one in the middle group was doing so. However, 12 percent of the most recent arrivals were living temporarily in shared housing. The home ownership rate for those residents in Manitoba the longest exceeds the provincial average of 66 percent.
Length of time living in Manitoba seems to play no role in respondents’ intention to leave the province. As would be expected, however, the longer provincial nominees live in Manitoba, the more likely it is that they will support other family to move here as well. Only 15 percent of the most recent arrivals have supported family to come here, compared with 31 percent of the middle group and 46 percent of the respondents living here longer than three years.
As time passes, provincial nominees are less likely to be involved only in activities with their own ethnic or cultural group, while the proportion of those who participate in activities with people from outside their ethnic or cultural group increases. Approximately 40 percent of those living in Manitoba longer than three years said they took part in other community activities, whereas only 28 percent of recent arrivals participated in wider community activities. The proportion of respondents who participate in activities with people from the same ethnic or cultural group fell from 73 to 58 percent over the period. Maintaining ties to others of the same cultural group also appears to lose some importance over time. The percentage of those saying that such ties are very important to them decreased from two-thirds for the middle group to 39 percent for those living in Manitoba for more than three years. It appears that the social network of participants expands with time and they are involved in a wider range of activities and have developed friendships beyond their own ethnic and cultural groups. They are becoming more active members of the broader community.
The provincial nominees living in Manitoba the longest have the fewest problems communicating in English: 91 percent of the group here three years or more said they could communicate easily in English, compared with 78 percent of the participants from the middle group and 70 percent of the most recent newcomers.
Based on the survey results, settlement and integration trajectories for Manitoba provincial nominees are positive overall. When all the indicators are considered, the evidence suggests that the participants’ material and social well-being improves with time. They have expanded their social networks, and a large proportion have achieved their dream of home ownership. Their language skills are improving, and more of them feel established enough to support the arrival of other family members.
Almost 90 percent of the participants had applied under three program streams. Of the 100 participants, 31 applied for the MPNP under the general stream, another 31 under the family support stream and 23 under the employer direct stream. Applications under the other streams were much fewer. Discussions with the participants suggested that there were certainly some connections between the role of family, friends and relatives and the choice of stream, and, of course, employers played a significant role as well.
Many applicants chose the program because it was faster and easier and provided advantages compared with other programs. It took participants on average two years to arrive in Manitoba after they applied for the program (mean length, 21 months). In comparison, in December 2008, applicants to the FSWP were waiting an average of 63 months for a decision (Auditor General 2009, 2). Almost one-quarter of Manitoba PNP applicants said that the program was easier to apply for than other programs. Another 12 percent provided general comments about wanting to join family or friends who were already in Manitoba, and who had arrived under the MPNP. The role of family, relatives and friends, particularly those in Manitoba, as a substantial source of information on the program stands out.
Although many ideas were put forward on ways to improve the application process, there were no specific aspects that were the target of criticism by the majority of the participants interviewed. Even the complaint about the slowness of the process was raised by fewer than one-third of the applicants. In summary, there was no significant level of dissatisfaction with the application and approval process.
The majority of the survey participants planned to stay in Manitoba. Sixty-seven principal applicants indicated that they did not expect to move to another province within the next five years. Five respondents said they did and 25 said “maybe.” Of the 30 who were considering a move to another province, about half (52 percent) would do so only in search of better job opportunities. Other reasons included cold weather, finding opportunities for starting a business, accessing education or training options, not being able to get credential recognition, moving to a bigger city and finding more cultural offerings.
When asked to identify the single most important factor in their decision to remain in the community where they live, two-thirds of the study group said it was the availability of job opportunities. Other responses included the presence of people from their ethnic or cultural background, religious services offered in “other” (non-English/French) languages, family and/or relatives being nearby, availability of adequate housing, low cost of living, good living standard, universal social system (health, education, etc.), opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs, availability of financing for their own business, safety, peaceful and stable situation, and living in a bigger city with more services.
Participants in the survey spoke positively about the role settlement services played in assisting them in the resettlement and integration process. Nearly all arrivals under the program used this assistance: 98 principal applicants received some orientation or settlement assistance after they arrived.
Participants were asked what assistance they received and who provided it: an agency, an employer, or family and friends. They were also asked to rate how helpful this assistance was for them and their family on a scale of 1 (not helpful at all) to 5 (very helpful). The services received by the highest proportion of provincial nominees included community orientation, language training, help in finding a job or housing, and help with the banking system. At least 70 percent of the arrivals received such services. Help with job training, translation, children’s schooling and health problems was received by between a third and a half of the respondents. Lower proportions had help with shopping, getting loans or credit, legal matters and personal problems. The high levels of satisfaction with most of the services received are indicated in table 9.
Employers played an important role in providing occupational and job training, while family and friends were an important source of help in the areas of interpretation, finding a job, finding housing, shopping, children’s schooling, health care, legal assistance, dealing with personal problems and dealing with the banking system. Agencies (community-based or government) played a much more significant role in the areas of community orientation, language training, and occupational and job training. When all services received are considered, principal applicants received 52 percent of their services from agencies (government, NGOs, community-based), 39 percent from family and friends, and 9 percent from employers. Equivalent figures for spouses were 57 percent, 38 percent and 4 percent.
These are the key findings from the survey of Manitoba nominees:
The Manitoba provincial nominee program, a federal-provincial agreement, was signed in 1998. The objectives of the program were to attract and retain immigrants to the province and increase dispersion of immigrants within Manitoba as well as to address local labour shortages. We find that the program has been very successful in not only attracting but also retaining immigrants. In 1998, the year before the program came into effect, the immigration rate to the province was 2.6 immigrants per 1,000 residents. In 2008, the rate had increased to 9.3 immigrants per 1,000 residents. This increase was accompanied by a rise in the retention rate, indicating that most of the recent immigrants who came through the program stayed in the province. Among principal applicants arriving through the MPNP, retention rates one year after arrival have consistently been above 80 percent.
The program has also been successful in dispersing immigrants to smaller communities within Manitoba. We find that, compared with immigrants who arrived through the federal program for economic class immigrants (ECIs), nominees are more likely to settle in communities outside Winnipeg. This has been due not only to the criteria used to select immigrants but also to settlement supports provided by the province to immigrants in smaller communities, such as language training, skills development and job training. Even though the percentage of nominees settling in communities outside of Winnipeg has fallen as the program has expanded, it was nonetheless greater than the comparable percentage for ECIs.
When examining the characteristics of immigrants entering the province through the program, we found two significant differences between nominees and ECIs: nominees had lower average levels of education, and they were less likely to know one of the official languages. The former difference could be due to the emphasis of the program on attracting immigrants with specific skills. The language differences were pronounced early in the program but have diminished considerably as the program has expanded.
The mean earnings of Manitoba nominees were slightly lower than those of ECIs. However, the two groups of immigrants differed systematically in a number of characteristics associated with labour market earnings. Nominees were significantly less likely to have university degrees, and in the early years of the program, they were much less likely to have knowledge of either official language. To account for these differences, along with differences in economic conditions at the time of arrival, we used statistical models of earnings that take these factors into account. We find that for immigrants with similar levels of educational attainment, knowledge of an official language, gender and age at arrival, nominees had earnings in the first year after arrival that were similar to or higher than the earnings of ECIs. For the university-educated, nominees had higher earnings in the early years of the program, while for those with post-secondary diplomas, the earnings of nominees one year after arrival consistently exceeded those of ECIs throughout our study period. The earnings gap between nominees and ECIs was higher for those without a university degree than for those with a university degree. However, nominees experienced slower earnings growth than ECIs for both education groups. These findings suggest that while the initial job match for the nominees provided them with higher initial earnings, there is evidence that the earnings advantage nominees experienced at arrival declined over time as ECIs caught up. These differences may be related to the employer direct stream. Among nominees in the survey study, 26 percent entered Manitoba with prearranged employment. Direct selection by employers may have meant that newly arrived immigrants coming through the Manitoba nominee program were more likely to be in jobs that matched their qualifications.32 The higher subsequent earnings growth of ECIs may indicate that the job matches of this group improve as their time in Canada increases.
From the survey, we find positive outcomes for labour force integration, which was characterized by rapid entry into the labour force and low levels of unemployment. Close to 90 percent of those working had permanent jobs. Trajectories (over time) moved toward desired career objectives even though many nominees were not working in their field of expertise. Nominees derived 85 percent of gross income from employment, a higher proportion than for the population as a whole. There were positive trajectories as income increased and poverty levels fell with years since the immigrants’ arrival in the province, although poverty levels remained higher than for native-born Manitobans. However, it should be noted that recent immigrants, defined as those who have been in Canada for no more than 10 years, have a substantially higher incidence of poverty regardless of the program through which they entered. For example, Picot, Hou, and Coulombe (2008) find that recent immigrants have a poverty rate more than twice that of the population as a whole. Higher education only marginally reduces the probability of being poor; immigrants entering through the FSWP were more likely to experience poverty after arrival than those entering through the family class program.33
Nominees expressed relatively high levels of satisfaction with their communities as places to live, and a growing proportion, over time, were engaged in broader community activities beyond those of their own ethnic or cultural group. The fact that high satisfaction levels were common throughout the province and for both visible-minority and non-visible-minority groups suggests the program is working well. Further, a high proportion of the interviewees said that their experience in Manitoba has been better than they expected and that they either have encouraged and supported other family and friends to apply under the program or plan to do so. The successes of the program to date can be expected to perpetuate future immigration to Manitoba.
Despite these positive features of the program and the interviewees’ assessment of their resettlement and integration experience, the survey also revealed concerns that deserve attention. Recognition of credentials was identified by the survey respondents as the major obstacle in obtaining jobs. A significant proportion of both principal applicants and spouses were disappointed because they could not get jobs in their fields of expertise. In addition, several new arrivals encountered barriers in efforts to upgrade their skills and many struggled with a lack of language skills. These are also issues, however, for immigrants entering through the FSWP.
When all the various indicators explored in the survey are considered, settlement and integration trajectories were positive. The nominees’ material and social well-being has improved with time. They have expanded their social networks, a large proportion have achieved their dream of home ownership, their language skills are improving, their labour force experience is improving and moving toward their career objectives, and most feel established enough to encourage and support other family members to immigrate to the province. They have “taken root” and feel generally positive about their decision to immigrate to Manitoba and make their home there.
During the key informant interviews used to design the survey study, a number of additional benefits of the nominee program were mentioned. Investor immigrants have helped expand the pool of capital for business start-ups and expansions; the new arrivals contribute to the global connectivity of the province through communications and knowledge transfer between immigrants and people in their communities of origin; new arrivals increase the province’s competitive advantage in various sectors of the economy; and they have contributed to increasing cultural diversity. Key informants also noted that the waves of immigrants from various source countries arriving in recent years and the growing proportion of visible minorities among them are increasing the “social distance” between immigrants and the host population. They noted that this shift may require policy and program changes in many areas other than immigration policy, to ensure that discriminatory practices do not become a problem and communities remain welcoming places that encourage new arrivals to stay.
While the Manitoba PNP has been successful, further expansion of the program will require that the economy grow at a rapid rate to generate employment for new immigrants. There were already concerns at the time of the study that some smaller centres were becoming saturated and would require substantial business investment in order to accommodate future newcomers. For further expansion, the provincial government will also have to invest more in settlement and support services for immigrants. There has to be a great deal more work on developing community acceptance of diversity, building community awareness of immigrant needs and strengthening community capacity to accommodate these needs. The success of the MPNP over the long term may depend to a significant extent on developing welcoming communities.
Relative to other smaller provinces, Manitoba had a larger immigrant-to-population ratio: 13 percent for Manitoba, compared with less than 5 percent for the Atlantic provinces and Saskatchewan.34 The existence of immigrant networks in the province helped not only in spreading awareness about the program but also in providing supports for nominees arriving through the program. This likely contributed to the success of the program in both attracting immigrants and retaining them in the province. The lack of such immigrant networks could make it difficult for other small provinces to emulate the success of the Manitoba program.
While there are important differences between Manitoba and other small provinces also attempting to increase immigration though their own nominee programs, several lessons emerge from the Manitoba experience. Programs should build on local strengths and history. In Manitoba’s immigrant history, two groups have had a long-standing relationship with the province: the German Mennonites, who first arrived in the late 1800s, and the Filipino population, who started arriving 50 years ago. Family and friends already in the province are “magnets.” The program has capitalized on these ethnic and cultural connections by marketing itself in the source regions and countries of these groups. Family also provides a built-in support mechanism for new immigrants.
Provincial authority to design and deliver immigrant services also makes a positive difference. Services designed and delivered at the local level are more likely to be effective in serving the needs of arrivals. Building partnerships at the community level by working with local communities to develop attraction and retention strategies results in better integration and retention possibilities and has been a strong aspect of program operation. It is not just the provincial government and the local municipality that form these partnerships; they include schools, health care providers, employers, real estate agents, rural municipalities in the area, employment training organizations, volunteers, recreational centres, faith groups and others. They plan and work together as a team. Making resources available to build capacity in immigrantserving agencies that provide many of the services and deal with immigrants on a day-to-day basis has also strengthened settlement and integration services. Finally, a good working relationship with employers has assisted in identifying existing and emerging labour force shortages and helped with the development of approaches to resolving credential recognition problems.
Although Manitoba can be proud of the strength of its efforts in providing settlement and integration services, it has been less successful in integrating immigration policy with other policies, which are also important in the settlement and integration process. For example, the province has never developed an adequate housing policy to support immigrant arrivals, particularly in the rental housing sector. The problems of credential recognition, credit for foreign work experience and lack of Canadian work experience have also not been resolved to the satisfaction of many immigrants or key informants, who feel they have been victims of false, or at least poor, information. Although these problems may not be solely the fault of program operation, they do stress the need for current, accurate prearrival information. They also point to the need to develop programs locally that can assess the need for credential upgrading and provide it as necessary.
Overall, we conclude that the Manitoba PNP has been successful in achieving its stated objectives over our period of study and remains a model for other provinces to emulate. But questions remain about the longer-term outcomes of the program. Unlike the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), which favours highly educated applicants, the Manitoba PNP allows immigration to be used to address labour shortages within semiskilled occupations. Our finding that the earnings of nominees were either comparable with or superior to those of federal ECIs suggests that there were ample opportunities within Manitoba for newcomers with these skills. However, it is likely that with the recent economic downturn in Canada, some of these workers have been displaced from jobs that in some cases would have been established before they migrated to Manitoba through a sponsoring employer. It remains to be seen if nominees will be at a disadvantage relative to the higher-skilled arrivals under the FSWP because of lesser ability to adapt to the changes currently under way. In addition, for much of the period under study, Manitoba (like the rest of Canada) was experiencing an economic boom. Whether the recent downtown has had a detrimental effect on the ability of the province to attract and retain immigrants through the nominee program is not yet known.35
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For the earnings models, the dependent variable is the log of real earnings, expressed in 2002 dollars. Immigrants are included in the regression if they reported one of the following: (1) positive employment income and no self-employment income, (2) positive employment income and positive self-employment income, or (3) no employment income but positive self-employment income. For persons reporting both types of income, earnings are the sum of the two; otherwise, earnings are the value for the type of income reported. The regression is further restricted to principal applicants who indicated on the landing document that they were destined for Manitoba, provided that they were admitted through either the PNP or one of the federal economic streams, with the exception of the caregiver category. Only immigrants arriving after the PNP was in place are included. Finally, immigrants meeting the criteria above are included in the analysis only for those tax years in which they filed taxes from Manitoba.
Potential explanatory variables in the earnings model are limited to those available in either the landing document or the tax form. Variables included from the landing document are gender, the landing year, the age at landing, information on the immigrant’s knowledge of Canada’s official languages, educational attainment at the time of landing and marital status. While each person’s intended occupation is available in the landing record, we do not use this information, as it is not possible to determine from the IMDB a person’s actual occupation after arriving. Indeed, evidence from the sample survey suggests a substantial fraction of recent immigrants are not working in their intended occupations in the first few years after arrival. Information on source countries is also available but is excluded, as economic immigrants are not selected directly on the basis of their place of residence prior to immigration.36
Letting y denote the landing year and YSL denote the number of years since arrival, the log real annual earnings of individual i in tax year t are modelled as:
where X denotes the characteristics outlined above. The entry wages of immigrants are allowed to vary by landing year. In addition, in the regression model, nominees are permitted to have different entry wages in each landing year. The annual rate of growth of earnings differs between federal immigrants and nominees by an amount .
Three variants of the model are estimated. The first model includes all individuals regardless of educational attainment. While a limited number of individual controls are included, such as gender, age at arrival and knowledge of an official language, educational variables are excluded. In this model, the difference between the mean log earnings of immigrants coming through the two programs is related to differences in unobserved characteristics between the two groups. These include the excluded educational variable; as table 6 illustrates, ECIs are more likely to have a university degree, which should lead to higher average earnings. In addition to education, the nominee variables capture other differences that we cannot infer directly from the data set. These might include, for example, better job matches for nominees if the employer direct stream leads to better job matches and thus higher earnings. The second and third variants are estimated separately for individuals with up to a post-secondary diploma and individuals with a university degree. In these specifications, the nominee program intercept and slope terms no longer account for differences in educational attainment.
The results for the three models are presented in table A1. Column 1 shows the results without educational controls. Consistent with the literature on economic integration, immigrant earnings increase with years since landing. Given the coefficients on the quadratic term in years since landing, the earnings of ECIs increase rapidly at first, but slow down over time. Between the first and second tax years after arrival, mean log earnings increase by approximately 0.16 log points, which implies that the mean earnings increase by approximately 17 percent. The coefficient on the interaction term of years since growth and nominee status is -0.039, which implies that over the same time horizon, the mean log earnings of nominees grow by approximately 0.12 log points. This in turn implies that the earnings of nominees grow by 12.7 percent between the second and third tax years after arrival. The results for immigrants with up to a post-secondary degree (column 2) and with a university degree (column 3) are broadly similar: after controlling for educational differences, nominees experience slower earnings growth. The differential is larger within the group with lower levels of educational attainment.
The coefficients on the landing year terms show how mean log earnings of ECIs vary by landing year relative to those of immigrants who arrived in 1999 (the base year). The coefficient on the nominee term measures how earnings compare between nominees and ECIs arriving in 1999, while the sum of the coefficients on the nominee term and a particular nominee-landing year interaction measures the difference in earnings between nominees and ECIs arriving in a particular landing year. Within the less-educated group, after adjusting for other differences, nominees have higher earnings by landing year for every year except 2006. The null hypothesis that earnings are identical between comparable nominees and ECIs in a given landing is rejected at a .05 level of significance in favour of the alternative hypothesis that nominees have higher earnings for all years except 2006. In no year is the alternative that ECIs had higher wages accepted in place of the null. The statistically significant differences range from a low of 0.13 log points in 2004 to a high of 0.68 log points in 2003. These estimates translate into conditional earnings that are between 14 (2004) and 97 (2003) percent higher for nominees. For university-educated immigrants, the same hypothesis is rejected in favour of nominees having the higher wages in the landing years 2000, 2001 and 2002 (5 percent level of significance). The point estimates of the differences in the years range from 0.27 log points (2002) to 0.54 log points (2001). For the year 2003, the earnings of university-educated nominees lag those of comparable ECIs by 0.17 points (or 15 percent), a difference that is statistically significant at the .05 level. For the remaining years, the differences in entry wages are not significant.
While we estimated versions of the above model including explanatory variables for source country, inclusion of these variables does not noticeably change the results. In addition, we estimated the models including only male immigrants, and found very similar results.
This publication was published as part of the Diversity, Immigration and Integration research program under the direction of Leslie Seidle. The manuscript was copy-edited by Barbara Czarnecki, proofreading was by Zofia Laubitz, editorial coordination was by Francesca Worrall, production was by Chantal Létourneau, art direction was by Schumacher Design and printing was by AGL Graphiques.
Tom Carter is Canada Research Chair in Urban Change and Adaptation and professor of geography at the University of Winnipeg. His primary research focus is on housing, particularly for immigrants and refugees; immigra- tion policy and integration of immigrants; change in urban neighbourhoods; and urban revitalization.
Manish Pandey is an associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Winnipeg. He obtained a master’s in economics from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, in 1999, and a PhD in eco- nomics from the University of Western Ontario in 2005. His research has addressed issues related to mortgage interest deductibility, differences in productivity across countries, trade, corruption, size of governments and the impact of provincial nominee programs.
James Townsend is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Winnipeg. He obtained a master’s in economics from the University of Calgary in 1995, and PhD in economics from the University of British Columbia in 2002. Prior to coming to the University of Winnipeg, he worked as a policy analyst for the federal Department of Finance. His research has been primarily empirical, with an emphasis on understanding labour market outcomes.
To cite this document:
Carter, Tom, Manish Pandey and James Townsend. 2010. The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program: Attraction, Integration and Retention of Immigrants. IRPP Study, No. 10. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy.