WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s Filipino community has received a little bit of good news.
The provincial government says it will speed up the process for applicants under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program from areas affected by typhoon Haiyan.
Processing will now take two weeks instead of the usual three to six months.
But it only applies to applications already submitted by residents of affected places such as Tacloban.
New applications will be “processed on a priority basis.”
Immigration lawyer Reis Pagtakhan says it’s a great idea but there are still some logistics that have to be worked out.
“Certainly for the people already in the system, it will help them,” he said. “But that’s only the first step. The problem then becomes you still have to have the application processed through the Government of Canada. I know the Government of Canada said they will be expediting applications but they haven’t said which kind of applications they’ll be expediting.”
Premier Greg Selinger noted that immigration visas are granted by the Canadian government and “applicants who have been approved by the MPNP will need to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for a permanent residency visa.”
Fred Devilla, spokesman for the Philippine-Canadian Centre of Manitoba, said the community “welcomes the idea” of expediting MPNP applications from the affected areas.
“We’re glad to hear that because it’s been for quite a long time that the provincial nominee program is slowing down,” Devilla said. “It normally takes six months to approve or decline an application. But two weeks, I doubt they can do it because they’re looking for so many supporting papers.”
Pagtakhan said therein lies the problem.
Even if applications are fast-tracked at the provincial level, there is a myriad of documents required to accompany the CIC application.
Pagtakhan said Filipino families will only see faster results if the federal government agrees to flexibility on things like missing documents and the English language test.
» Winnipeg Free Press