Immigration Minister Jason Kenney

Immigration will continue to be a focus for the Federal Government.  That according to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who was in Steinbach Saturday to meet with Conservative party supporters. 

He says over the past five years, his government has brought in a lot of immigration reforms.  "Those, in part, have massively increased immigration to Manitoba.  One of the reasons I believe Manitoba as seen a population and economic growth in the past few years is because the number of immigrants coming here has gone from about 2,000 a year to about 10,000 a year."

Kenney says the provincial nominee program plays a huge part in that growth,  "We see that benefiting the prairie provinces, Manitoba in particular.  For example, a lot of people of the Mennonite community have come in from Latin America through the provincial nominee program into Steinbach and this area, strengthening the economy."

He notes the province needs to continue to bring in skilled workers.  "We have an aging population, a shrinking workforce and we need new people coming to where the jobs are.  We would like to think our immigration reforms have helped lead that way."

Kenney says government support for immigration will continue,  "We will continue working with the government of Manitoba to bring in thousands of newcomers who are skilled and ready to integrate, become good Canadians and work hard.  Those are the people we want and that's what we are seeing with our immigration reforms.  There is no shortage of people around the world who want to move to Canada.  Let's pick those that are most likely to become good Canadians, work hard and contribute to our economy."

As the government examines what the future of immigration may look like, Kenney sees strong numbers of newcomers.  "We are not going to increase immigration levels because they are already very high.  Rather, my focus is making sure immigration works for Canada and that newcomers find and keep good jobs.  We don't want to just put newcomers into Canada for the sake of numbers, we don't want to dump newcomers in here facing unemployment."

He believes the immigration experience being seen in Southeastern Manitoba is working well.  "The unemployment rate in this province is below the general unemployment rate, and that's good news."