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The Province of Manitoba celebrated the 20th anniversary of the provincial nominee program yesterday.

The MPNP is an immigration program designed to attract job-ready skilled workers and active investors to Manitoba, and nominate them for permanent residence.

"We continue to look at the need-occupations that we have in the province, and that's often driven by employers. So employers will come forward and say, you know, 'we're looking for certain kinds of jobs,' and we look more generally within Manitoba to see where we're having a hard time filling certain jobs, and then we help the employers match up with employees," said Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen. He said the MPNP has been a great program for Manitoba.

The province says more than 65 per cent of newcomers to Manitoba come through the provincial nominee program.

Goertzen said more than 90 per cent of past nominees found jobs within their first year, and more than 28,000 nominees have settled in at least 130 rural communities.

Last year, the provincial government introduced a $500 fee for people nominated through the program. Goertzen said that money goes into programs to help newcomers.

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