Could this be the most underrated province for int’l students looking to settle in Canada?

Best Canadian province: Manitoba
Manitoba is known for its affordability and high quality of life — and could just be the best Canadian province for international students. Source: Chris Jackson/Getty Images/AFP

If you’re thinking of studying and eventually settling permanently in Canada, you might want to consider Manitoba, arguably one of the best Canadian provinces.

There’s no denying that Canada is one of the most popular study destinations in the world, boasting an international student population of 450,000 in 2021, even during the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Great White North also offers flexible pathway programmes for you to gain PR.

Some international students may overlook Manitoba in favour of more popular cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, but this province has a lot to offer.

Located in the heart of Canada, Manitoba is home to breathtaking landscapes, abundant fresh water lakes (there are over 100,000 lakes, including Lake Winnipeg — one of the world’s largest inland bodies of fresh water), while the best place in the world to see the northern lights is in the town of Churchill, on the edge of the Hudson Bay.

Here’s another fun fact: Churchill is also the polar bear capital of the world.

If you are a recent international graduate who is planning to put down some roots in Canada and (hopefully) gain PR in the country, here are more facts about Manitoba, and why it could be one of the best Canadian province to settle in.

Immigrate to Manitoba: The best Canadian province to settle in?

Manitoba is known for its affordability and high quality of life.

Its capital city — Winnipeg — has plenty of employment, entertainment and education options, while house prices are among the lowest in Canada. Winnipeg is also known to be more affordable and offers a better work-life balance than other Canadian cities.

If you’ve graduated from a university in Manitoba and wish to eventually settle in the province, here’s some good news.

The Manitoba government notes: “As a graduate from a designated learning institution in Manitoba, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Programme through the new International Education Stream or the Skilled Workers in Manitoba stream.”

Here’s what you should know about these streams:

Skilled Workers Stream

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Programme (MPNP) grants recent graduates, skilled workers, entrepreneurs and their families with the intention and ability to successfully settle and economically establish a life in Manitoba as permanent residents.

Through the Skilled Workers Stream, adept workers who can fill the skill gaps in the province can be nominated for PR. There are two pathway programmes for this:

Skilled Workers in Manitoba

This pathway nominates applicants who have a strong connection to Manitoba through ongoing employment and sufficient skills, education and training, work experience and official language proficiency to make an immediate and ongoing contribution to the province’s economy and community at large.

Skilled Workers Overseas

Manitoba’s MPNP for Skilled Workers Overseas nominates candidates who can prove a connection to the province via family, having studied or worked in the province, or the direct receipt of an Invitation to Apply from the MPNP Strategic Recruitment Initiative.

How to apply for the MPNP:

  • Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).
  • Receive an invitation to apply for the MPNP by acquiring sufficient scores and having a proven connection to Manitoba.
  • In the final stage of the application process, MPNP will nominate candidates who have made the cut to apply to the Canadian government for a Canadian PR.

International Education Stream

If you have graduated from a designated learning institution in Manitoba, the International Education Stream (IES) allows you to stay in the province and obtain permanent residency.

There are three pathways:

  • Career Employment Pathway: Provides faster nomination pathways for post-secondary students who graduate and find long-term employment in Manitoba in an in-demand occupation consistent with their training.
  • Graduate Internship Pathway: Provides faster nomination pathways for international student master and doctoral graduates through internships contributing to industry innovation in Manitoba. Graduates who complete an Accelerate or Elevate internship with Mitacs in Manitoba can apply to the MPNP immediately after graduation, whether or not they have a job offer.
  • International Student Entrepreneur Pilot: Up to 20 (per calendar year) international students who have graduated in Manitoba can pursue entrepreneurship rather than employment. Once the applicant meets the conditions of their Business Performance Agreement, they are nominated for permanent residence.

International students who have graduated from a different province in Canada will not be eligible under this stream but may be eligible under the renewed Skilled Worker in Manitoba Stream.

It’s worth noting that the MPNP prioritises international students who have graduated from Manitoba institutions and offers a direct pathway to a Canadian PR through the IES.

Learn more about your immigration pathways to Manitoba here.