The Existing Work Permit stream of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) is expanding to make temporary foreign workers in lower and intermediate-skilled jobs eligible for permanent residency.
“Through this expansion, our government is improving worker retention and directly addressing labour market gaps that Saskatchewan employers currently face,” says Martensville-Warman MLA Terry Jenson
“Creating more permanent residency opportunities for displaced Ukrainians and other international workers, is just another way our government is further supporting Saskatchewan’s businesses and economy.”
The Existing Work Permit stream of the SINP has until now only allowed newcomers in high-skilled occupations and designated trades to be eligible for permanent residency.
The expansion of the program on Nov. 1 opens up 279 more occupations in lower- and intermediate-skilled sectors and makes those temporary foreign workers eligible to apply for permanent residency if they have worked in Saskatchewan and meet the remaining program criteria, which include meeting language requirements and having a permanent, full-time job offer.
Read More Canada Immigration News
Saskatchewan PNP Draw: Province Issues 99 Canada Immigration Invitations
Saskatchewan Entrepreneur Draw Sees Canada Immigration Invitations Issued To 23 Candidates
Saskatchewan Criticised For Draws For Immigration From Eight Specific Countries
Applicants must have an eligible work permit, a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) supported work permit, a francophone mobility work permit, or, for recently-arrived Ukrainians, a Canadian Ukrainian Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) visa.
The SINP program’s expansion was music to the ears of Ukrainians who have fled Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war and come to the safety of Canada on temporary visas.
“The expansion of options for newcomers in today’s announcement is very welcome,” said Elena Krueger, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress of Saskatchewan.
“We look forward to continuing our work with the provincial government to enhance opportunities and supports for displaced Ukrainians seeking to build their lives in safety here in Saskatchewan.”
Saskatchewan is bullish on immigration and has gotten increases for this year and the next two years to its annual allocation of provincial immigration nominees.
The province currently has more than 16,000 job vacancies posted on SaskJobs and Jobbank, the federal job-hunting and career-planning website. A total of 112,260 job openings are forecasted in Saskatchewan over the next five years.
“There is no single answer for the labour shortage, now and into the future (but) the expansion to the SINP program is a good first step as it enables us to support our employees in the immigration process while also helping us fill vital positions,” said Brennen Mills, a partner in Saskatoon Fire and Flood.
Saskatchewan Wants To Grow To 1.4m Residents Over Next Six Years
In the wake of the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration in Halifax earlier this year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) agreed to cut red tape in the processing of SINP nominations and give the province sole authority over assessing a candidate’s ability to live in Saskatchewan.
The IRCC also agreed to up Saskatchewan’s annual allocation of provincial nominees.
“I am pleased to see that our proposal for a significant increase in our SINP allocation has been accepted by the government of Canada,” said provincial Immigration Minister Jeremy Harrison.
“Saskatchewan is seeing record-high population growth numbers and immigration to the province has played a significant role in that. We are well on our way to our goal of 1.4 million residents by 2030.”
At the forum of immigration ministers, Harrison and his counterpart in the federal government also discussed federal settlement funding. The province wants to have control of those funds which are spent to help immigrants settle within Saskatchewan.
In July last year, the province put forth its Saskatchewan Immigration Accord, modelled after a similar deal between Ottawa and Quebec, which contains measures to give the province more autonomy over immigration. Under the accord, Saskatchewan would set its own immigration levels, select skilled immigrants aligned with labour market needs, re-establish a family class immigration stream and gain control over the design and delivery of settlement and integration services.
“Saskatchewan needs more workers to fill job vacancies in all sectors of the economy,” said Jason Aebig, chief executive officer of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce.
“Federal immigration programs and settlement services are not meeting the needs of Saskatchewan’s labour market. We are calling on the federal government to speed up the negotiation process of the Saskatchewan Immigration Accord, enabling Saskatchewan the freedom to dictate immigration levels and deliver services that best support newcomer retention and integration.”