For 20 years the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) has been helping people from around the world become Canadians.
“We’re really grateful for this and yes, thank you for the opportunity Canada. Thank you Canada,” Rosemary Ojo, one of 31 new Canadians who took the Oath of Citizenship Tuesday afternoon said.
In the last decade the SINP helped 77,300 people achieve their goal of Canadian citizenship, roughly 70 per cent of the over 108,300 newcomers over the same time period.
Now 14 others can add their names to the list of SINP graduates.
“It helped us to settle in quickly, more than we were thinking, especially when you are on the other side and you’re going to a new place and you don’t know how you are going to settle in,” Ojo, who completed the program in 2009-10 added.
Originally a university lecturer in South Africa, Ojo earned her citizenship alongside her youngest son.
“We are pleased to welcome these new citizens to the Canadian and Saskatchewan family, as we also take the time to recognize the role of immigration in creating opportunity and spurring growth in Saskatchewan,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said.
“It’s linking people that have those skills and abilities matching with labour needs in Saskatchewan,” Gene Makowsky, the provincial minister of parks, culture and sport added.
SINP specifically focuses on citizenship for skilled workers, experienced farmers, entrepreneurs and those already living and working in the province.
Graduates of the program boast some of the highest employment rates in the country for new immigrants: 76 per cent among those aged 25-54 – six per cent higher than the national average.
It’s also labour that stays in the province; Saskatchewan has retained over 80 per cent of those workers in the past decade.
“It’s been very important [to] population numbers. A large part of our population increase has been immigrants into our province and SINP has been a large part of that. It’s been a win for our province, our economy and our market,” Makowsky added.
Last year immigration was responsible for the roughly 1.5 per cent increase in provincial population, that’s over 17,000 new faces, bringing their experiences cultures and knowledge to Saskatchewan.
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