Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program may be your path to permanent residency
Posted on - Jun 22, 2019

By Maken Mashhour

Maken Mashhour

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (“MPNP”) allows the province to nominate a set number of candidates for permanent residence each year in order to meet its labour market force demands and community development needs. The Government of Manitoba (“GOM”) has implemented their Provincial Nominee Program (“PNP”) to increase the number of immigrants they can bring into their province. At the 2019 CBA Immigration Law Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Assistant Deputy Minister of Immigration and Economic Opportunities announced “over the past 20 years, the MPNP has brought more than 130,000 economic immigrants to Manitoba”. Significant to prospective immigrants, this number is lower than what the GOM aims for as “Manitobans are having fewer children, [and there are] more Manitobans retiring than entering the work force.” To offset the effects of a slowing rate of domestic population growth and a shrinking labour force, Manitoba has redoubled its efforts to attract international migrants.

In recognition of these demographic needs, in December 2018 the MPNP introduced a 2-year pilot program called the International Student Entrepreneur Pilot (“ISEP”). The ISEP is a hybrid between Manitoba’s Business Investor Stream and International Education Stream, and is designed to attract young entrepreneurs who can help with Manitoba’s industry needs.

The ISEP is unique in several ways. Firstly, it allows students who would not generally qualify for the MPNP employment requirements, to satisfy the criteria by working for themselves. The ISEP enables international students who lack work experience (Canadian or foreign), or who do not have a Canadian job offer, to be considered self-employed. In doing so, it creates a path towards Canadian permanent residency for those who may not have been eligible. Manitoba has taken a novel approach by not requiring an offer of employment for their ISEP program, while the majority of Canada’s other PNP programs still require their applicants to have a confirmed offer of employment before being able to apply. Secondly, this program further distinguishes itself from Canada’s other PNP business programs that still require a security deposit or minimum net worth from the student entrepreneur. This is an excellent immigration opportunity for international students who are intending to complete their studies in Manitoba and, after graduation, establish their own business in the province.

To qualify for Manitoba’s ISEP program, an applicant must:

  • Be between the ages of 21 and 35;
  • Have a minimum language score of CLB 7;
  • Have completed at least a 2-year full-time post-secondary program in Manitoba;
  • Have a valid work permit or post-graduation work permit at the time of application;
  • Have continually resided in Manitoba since graduation, and show intent to remain in Manitoba after nomination;
  • Demonstrate liquid funds equivalent to Canada’s Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) requirements found HERE
  • Prepare a business proposal based on Manitoba’s PNP criteria; and
  • Actively manage his or her business for at least 6 months.

Once an applicant meets these requirements, along with satisfying the conditions laid out in their Business Performance Agreement, they will be nominated for permanent residence to Manitoba.

As a professional who has assisted many international students in the past, I anticipate the ISEP becoming one of the most popular Canadian immigration options for international students. Applicants who are interested in applying under this stream should act quickly as Manitoba only provides a maximum of 20 international students per year the opportunity to pursue entrepreneurship under the ISEP. The ISEP is the best program for entrepreneurial minded students who wish to use their education in Manitoba as their path to becoming a permanent resident.


Maken Mashhour is a US attorney and a Vancouver immigration practitioner at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada, and provides a full range of immigration services.

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