Saskatchewan announces new immigration program

Saskatchewan announces new immigration program

Hard-to-Fill Skills Pilot Program created to support Saskatchewan’s labour market demands in key sectors.

Saskatchewan announced a new immigration pilot on November 25.

The Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot will allow Saskatchewan employers to recruit international talent for certain in-demand occupations. The eligible jobs under this pilot will include entry-level positions that may require on-the-job training. The sectors with the highest labour demands in Saskatchewan include health, manufacturing, agriculture, ag-tech, construction, hospitality, and retail.

“The demand for labour in our province is strong, and it’s only going to increase with the significant economic projects recently announced in Saskatchewan,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said in a media release. “This new Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot—developed in Saskatchewan for Saskatchewan—is progress on our autonomy discussions with the federal government and is going to help provide employers with greater access to international options to recruit workers. This is in addition to record investments into training and up-skilling our provincial workforce, as we enter a period of strong growth coming out of the global pandemic.”

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Workers nominated through this Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) stream will be supported by their employers and community. The pilot is scheduled to launch in December 2021.

“This is very positive news for businesses in the hospitality industry in Saskatchewan,” Hospitality Saskatchewan President and CEO Jim Bence said in the release. “This pilot project is designed to attract talent and a great program for all sectors currently experiencing labour recruitment challenges in the province. While we always work hard to exhaust every opportunity to hire locally, we have to be creative to ensure we have the right labour supply to help our business and communities grow and thrive in Saskatchewan, something this very unique program will be especially helpful with post-COVID.”

Some of the eligibility criteria for candidates include:

  • Have a full-time, permanent offer of employment and SINP job approval letter for an eligible occupation from a registered Saskatchewan employer;
  • Meet a minimum Canadian official language proficiency level; and
  • Meet the minimum educational and work experience requirements, which includes having at least one year of work experience in the same occupation as the job offer or six-months work experience in that job in Saskatchewan.

Currently, the release does not say which occupations are eligible, the minimum education requirement, nor the exact language proficiency level required.

For employers to be eligible, they have to demonstrate they have made extensive efforts to hire domestically before they can use the pilot for recruitment. They also need to demonstrate the need and benefit for their business, and fulfill requirements related to providing settlement support for the workers. No further specifics have been released.

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