New Head Tax for Manitoba
By Ted Alcuitas
A coalition has formed in reaction to changes to the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP).
Save MPNP Coalition is spearheaded by the Friends of Filipino Immigrants in Manitoba and Migrante. It aims to stop changes to the program announced by Premier Brian Pallister in November last year.
Effective April 2017, nominated “skilled worker” applicants must pay a $500 fee.
Critics argue the fee is reminiscent of the Chinese Head Tax that was imposed on the Chinese in the early 1900s.
Organizers denounced the changes as ‘anti-immigrant and racist.
Although the government has stated that the $500 fee will be re-invested into language support programs, the MPNP already requires nominees to enter Canada with a high level of English skill, critics claim.
According to Statistics Canada, the rate of employment in 2011 for Manitoba immigrants was the highest (82.5%) of all provinces, and their unemployment rate (6.0%) was the second lowest.
The MPNP is moving away from family sponsorship and community connection to employer-driven nominations.
The coalition will hold a vigil and march on February 28 in front of the Legislative Building and a rally the following day.