Volume 3, Number 4
February 15, 1999
German Mennonites fill labour shortage in Manitoba
Winnipeg, Man.-Adele Dyck has helped 26 families from Germany, of Russian Mennonite background, resettle in southern Manitoba, and more are coming. Dyck, a real estate agent in Winkler, reported on the resettlement project at a Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society meeting here on January 23.
Dyck said that another 60 families-from those who have moved to Germany from Russia in recent years-are accepted under the sponsorship program, and 85 families under the nominee program. With the backing of the town of Winkler, Dyck has worked with the federal and Manitoba governments to open the way to immigration.
"As a member of the chamber of commerce I heard that it was difficult to attract skilled persons to the community, and I knew skilled persons were waiting for a chance to immigrate," said Dyck, herself an immigrant from Paraguay, married to a Canadian.
"At first I went to (Canadian) human resources on a case-by-case basis. It was a very slow process. Then in 1996-97, with great help from our immigration department and the province, we established a relationship with the Canadian embassy in Bonn, Germany.
"With 30 applications on hand, we were at first turned down, but a few phone calls later...most of the applications were passed," she said. After the first application passed, "it seemed like a big wave was coming from Germany," said Dyck. There were 350 visitors to the Winkler area last year.
Under a four-year agreement Manitoba has with Canada, up to 200 families a year can immigrate to Manitoba to meet a demand for skilled labour.
By Elmer Heinrichs