Plenty of tools for new immigrants

By: Andrew Swan, MLA for Minto

As published in The Metro

June 26, 2013

The West End is amazingly diverse. It has always been a place many new Manitobans come to call home.

My grandfather first lived on Toronto Street after immigrating here from Scotland, and stories like his are repeated by families from all over the world — from Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Italy, Portugal, Vietnam, the Philippines, China, the Caribbean, Africa, and elsewhere.

I am proud to live in a place that welcomes immigrants to come and build our community. On average, more than 15,000 immigrants now arrive in Manitoba each year. Most new Manitobans arrive through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The PNP helps skilled workers, entrepreneurs and their families settle in Manitoba as permanent residents.

This program takes advantage of strong family and community connections to offer Manitoba newcomers an effective application and assessment process. For more information — including an application kit for friends or family — visit www.immigratemanitoba.com

Many other newcomers arrive under federal programs. Refugees may have fewer supports awaiting them, and bigger challenges. The Immigrant Centre (100 Adelaide Street) provides both practical and emotional support to newcomers. Visit www.icmanitoba.com or phone 204-943-9158 or 204-943-2240 if you have any questions.

Federal immigration rules can be confusing for potential newcomers and their supporters. While my staff and I are familiar with the PNP, I share my Sargent Avenue office with Pat Martin, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre.

If you or your family need assistance with immigration (or Employment Insurance or any other federal programs), please contact Pat by phone at 204-984-1675 or by e- mail at pat.martin.c1@parl.gc.ca

Often new Manitobans need documents notarized to take care of things back in their former home. As a notary public, I am also happy to offer notarization services to all constituents free of charge. If you have documents that need to be notarized, please book an appointment with my office by phone at 204-783-9860 or by e-mail at Andrew.Swan@YourManitoba.ca

The presence of so many different cultural backgrounds has made the West End a wonderful place to explore and enjoy.

Community organizations like the Scandinavian Cultural Centre, Portuguese Association of Manitoba, Casa Do Minho Portuguese Centre, and the Irish Association of Manitoba bring people together to celebrate their culture, as do strong faith communities such as St. Edward’s Church, Winnipeg Central Mosque and the Ellice Avenue Temple.

I encourage you to discover the diversity in the West End!