Saskatchewan wants greater control over selection of immigrants

The government of Saskatchewan says it wants greater control over who and how many people can immigrate into the province. File / Global News

The government of Saskatchewan wants greater control over immigration, and has put forward a “detailed proposal” to the federal government outlining the proposed “Saskatchewan Immigration Accord,” according to a Thursday morning news release.

“Saskatchewan requires more autonomy and flexibility over immigration in order to meet its economic needs and address gaps in the labour market,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said in the statement.

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He said his government finds immigration key to stated goals of growing the provincial population to 1.4 million by 2030 and meeting labour demands.

“Provincial governments are in the best position to respond to local labour market needs with new Canadians. The provinces should not be limited by economic categories or caps on provincial nominee programs set by the federal government.”

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If accepted, the proposal would “give Saskatchewan sole authority to nominate newcomers moving to Saskatchewan, control over the family class of immigration, and a transfer of federal resources for settlement services to the Province of Saskatchewan” valued at approximately $42 million.

The proposal also requests “a guaranteed provincial allocation of nominees each year that would be proportionate to the population of Saskatchewan within Canada.”

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The province adds it “expects to meet and exceed its current cap of 6,000 under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) this year” and that “a proportionate share of national immigration, as contemplated in the Saskatchewan Immigration Accord, would see at minimum 13,000 positions allocated to the province in 2022”, according to current immigration levels.

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“By transferring selection of all immigrants to our province, including in the family class, the federal government can focus on addressing the outrageous processing times for admissions that are causing such issues for hundreds of thousands of potential new Canadians,” Harrison added.

“The transfer of responsibility for delivering settlement programming to the province also makes sense. We know our partners, local circumstances and needs better than the Government of Canada does.”

Statistics Canada reported 20,245 job vacancies for the first quarter of 2022 in Saskatchewan.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said about 13 per cent of the approximately 406,000 permanent residents admitted to Canada in 2021 came in through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

“Provinces and territories are responsible for the design, management and evaluation of their respective programs. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allocations for each province and territory are determined by the Minister, in consultation with provinces and territories. Provinces and territories are informed of their allocation through bilateral ministerial letters,” spokesperson Jeffrey MacDonald wrote.

“Provinces and territories are normally informed of their allocations for the Provincial Nominee Program following the announcement of the annual immigration levels plan, which typically takes place in the fall of each calendar year.”

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In Saskatchewan, 6,505 of 10,950 new permanent residents came through the PNP in 2021.

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