PNP Update – Fast-track Canadian Permanent Residency options expanding

CIC News
Published: November 25, 2008

Saskatchewan has just made it easier for international students to become Canadian Permanent Residents.  British Columbia (BC) is now helping its substantial food processing sector to retain foreign skilled workers by nominating them for fast-track Canadian immigration.  These students and workers have now been added to a growing list of foreign nationals who can qualify for fast-track Canadian Permanent Residency under the various Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP).

Provincial Nomination Programs remain an important fast-track option for Canadian immigration.  At the root of their success is the fact that they select newcomers who are most likely to integrate into the regional workforce and society efficiently and effectively.  Though all PNP's differ, the various programs have categories for skilled workers, semi-skilled workers, family members, business investors, international students, and farmers among others.  To continue to attract and retain these valuable newcomers, the provincial governments are frequently refining their immigration systems, adding and tweaking PNP categories to accurately reflect the current needs of the province.

This month, British Columbia has introduced a new pilot project for workers in the food processing sector, and Saskatchewan has altered its international student category to make it easier for them to settle in the province:

Food processing is BC's second largest manufacturing sector, generating $6.7 billion annually.  Canadian employers in this sector have been suffering from chronic labour shortages and welcome the new addition to the British Columbia Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) as a means to maintain a stable workforce.  Under this category, the BC employer sponsors the foreign worker for fast-track Canadian immigration.

To qualify, individuals must have been working in a qualifying occupation (such as beverage and fish processing, process control, industrial butchering, testing and grading in food, and machine operations) in BC on a Temporary Work Permit for at least nine months and must be currently working for their employer at the time of application.

Additionally, the Saskatchewan Government made changes to the Student Category of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), making it easier for international students to qualify for this fast-track Permanent Residency option.

To be eligible for this category, international graduates of Canadian post-secondary academic institutions must have worked for a Saskatchewan employer on a Post-Graduation Work Permit for a period of at least six months.  Previously the occupation had to be in the international graduate's field of study.  This requirement has now been removed to make qualification easier.

Since the Student Category of the SINP was established, 158 international graduates have been nominated by the province to become Permanent Residents.  On an annual basis, approximately 3,500 foreign students study in Saskatchewan.

These PNP changes reflect the provincial and federal resolve to help temporary residents more easily transition into Canadian Permanent Residents and eventually Canadian citizens.

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