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Canada Strengthens Immigration Ties with the Philippines

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The Philippines is one of the most important source countries for Canadian immigration. Recent government reports have shown that Filipinos integrate well into the Canadian workforce and Canadian society. Provincial governments have taken notice and have established agreements with the Philippines that provide employment opportunities for Filipino skilled workers, in turn addressing provincial labour shortages.

With a strong social network in Canada and a good knowledge of English, Filipinos are well suited to make a comfortable transition to life in Canada. The Filipino community in Canada will continue on its growth path, topping the half million mark by 2017. That is good news for Filipino professionals seeking immigration to Canada and music to the ears of provincial governments, such as Manitoba, who are keen to attract skilled workers from this Southeast Asian country.

To that end, and following in the footsteps of Saskatchewan and British Columbia, Manitoba recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Philippine government. The province of Alberta is also set to follow with a similar agreement at the end of the month.

The salient features of the MOU include simplification of the immigration process for skilled Filipino workers. As well, the agreement will allow registered business establishments in Manitoba to tap the services of licensed immigration agencies in the Philippines for eligible workers. In turn, these agencies, following guidelines set out by the Manitoba government, will ensure that Filipino workers are pre-screened and duly prepared to move to the province. The agencies will also be required to follow local laws when recruiting workers.

Manitoba’s premise for courting skilled labour from the Southeast Asian country is simple. The Filipino community in Manitoba numbers about 50,000, and accounts for nearly 25 percent of the province’s total immigration.

“Manitoba has a strong Filipino community, and it makes sense for us to build on the connections that already exist between our province and the Philippines,” said Premier Doer. He also announced the launch of a pilot project, which would ease the relocation and transition process for provincial nominees and other workers headed to Manitoba, by providing pre-migration information and orientation.

The MOU was the culmination of a five-day visit by a delegation of Manitoba officials that included business and community leaders from the province. Manitoba’s Premier, Gary Doer, headed it. The federal government also lent its support by announcing that it would add more immigration workers to the embassy in the Philippines to meet the increasing demand of potential Canadian immigrants.