Dealing with fraud: Manitoba nominee program changes

Opinion & Analysis Jun 1, 2004 at 11:45 am

Canadian Immigration Views
By Berto Volpentesta

STARTING June 1, 2004 the government of Manitoba will only accept applications for the highly sought after selection certificates by way of one of six streams. They have changed the method of selecting nominees, at least in part, in response the increase level of fraud and abuse.

Several of Canada’s provinces have signed agreements with the government of Canada in respect of selecting potential immigrants for settlement in their province. Quebec for example has full control over the selection and approval or any immigrant that intends to live in Quebec. Manitoba and others have developed a program whereby they may award a selection certificate to certain types of immigrants based on a specific skill set that the government of Manitoba feels would help the province grow.

The idea is that the provinces understand their particular labour market needs best and therefore the provinces should be responsible for selecting what types immigrants could best suit those needs. Once the province makes the selection and awards a certificate, the federal government processes the immigrant. Often the application is put into a faster steam because the hard part of selection has
already been done.

In the past, Manitoba had gained much success with their program. So much success that the limited number of selection certificates were quickly used up. There are tens of thousand more applications than there are certificates. To help make better selections and to meet Manitoba’s program objectives, the restricted applications to only those who had job offers in the province. With this, the unscrupulous operators began all sorts of tactics including the complete fabrication of job offers from non-existent companies.

Starting June 1, 2004, Manitoba will only accept applications from one of six newly designed streams. The streams were designed to select certain types of immigrants from a variety of situations. The Employer Direct Stream replaces the old program and allows applicants who have a job offer from a “pre-approved” employer, to apply for a selection certificate. It is hoped that by making employers apply for pre-approval and meet conditions before jobs are offered to any particular employer that most of the fraud can be stopped and the real goals of the program can be achieved.

Manitoba is not the only program experiencing increased fraud. When the federal government changed the Skilled Worker program that most people are familiar with, they also provide a big incentive for applicants working for a period of time, say a year or two, then they could land the person in Canada. They could do what Manitoba does and pre approve companies for a certain number of certificates each.

Whatever they decide to do, there are things clients (public) can do to help protect themselves. Check the company you are going to pay money to. Check the backgrounds. See if the company will allow you to contact an employer. In the end, remember that old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. And, something I keep telling my clients, “Dreaming is free, you don’t have to
pay anyone for a dream.”

Have a question? Send them to Berto Volpentesta or to the editor.

Berto Volpentesta of SV Canada Immigration Specialists (Sidhu & Volpentesta Inc.) has been a practicing consultant in Toronto since 1991 and is a Member, as well as a Director of the Association of Immigration Counsel of Canada and a Member of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (M041214). You can reach him at: (416) 787 0612, (416) 398 8882 or by email at berto@svcanada.com and www.svcanada.com)