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Russian – Israeli immigration to Winnipeg: Why and How

Eka Mednikov By EKA MEDNIKOV (English translatiion of Hebrew article)
Myself being a Russian – Israel immigrant and  resident of Winnipeg for almost nine years, I believe that I can understand the reason for the high number of immigrants from Israel to Winnipeg.

I also think that the fact most of us were born in Russia has influence on that decision, but that’s a subject for a different article. I have noticed that while we know ways to move to Canada, our Canadian-born friends have either no or very limited idea how we came here.
So, why did we decide to leave a country we loved, called homeland (even though we had a previous homeland) – where we grew up, learned, and where we made  careers? In one short word: security. The security situation in Israel made us feel that careers, weather, friends, and even family sometimes are simply not enough, and we need a safe place for us and more importantly, for our children. Of course, there are other reasons to add: classes of 40 students and a teacher who does not know how to handle this type of load, the famous Israeli “chutzpah” (gall), and totally crazy prices for real estate.
As a result, young people, especially families, highly educated with successful careers, started looking for a way to realize their dreams and move to the safest place they knew – Canada.
While the Federal Government has made it hard to immigrate through federal programs, provinces have opened the doors to skilled immigrants. Compared to Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia, Manitoba has had an easier process, which has attracted many potential immigrants.

Here is a brief overview of the most common ways to legally move to Manitoba:
Support of the Jewish Federation in Winnipeg:
The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg has the option to support applicants interested in settling in Manitoba and become part of the Jewish community in Winnipeg. The minimum requirements are: Jewish life style, being between the ages of 21 and 45, a post-secondary education, two years of work experience and knowledge of English. Eligible applicants are asked to travel to Winnipeg for an exploratory visit during which time they will attend an interview with a Jewsih Federation representative and a Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program Immigration Officer. Due to very high demand, to obtain  permanent Canadian residency under this program might take between three to five years.

Support of family members in Manitoba:
Applicants who have family members who have resided at least one year in Manitoba can use the support of their family members for their immigration process. Interested applicants are screened according to a points system that is based upon the age, education, work experience and level of English of the applicant.

Friends in Manitoba:
The friends’ support stream is very similar to family support with one unfortunate difference: Points granted for having friends in the province are minimal and in the past two years I haven’t seen anyone able to move here relying upon friends’ support.

Study in Manitoba:
 Canadian education is a great way to open the door to a full immigration process, especially in Manitoba. Once graduated from an academic program, students are eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit. After six months of full time employment in Manitoba and a job offer, a student would be eligible to apply for support from the province in his or her immigration process.

Work Permit:
Foreign workers coming to Manitoba on a work permit are eligible to apply for residency under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program after six months of continuous employment and a job offer from a Manitoba employer. This is the way used by many truck drivers to move to Canada from Israel. Unfortunately, today employers are having a very hard time obtaining all the necessary documentation from Service Canada in order to be able to hire foreign workers.

Less common, but definitely a way to move to Canada. Canadian permanent residents and citizens who would like to marry someone from overseas are eligible to apply for spousal sponsorship and bring a spouse to Canada.

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