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Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program Announces Sweeping Changes for 2014

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The Government of Saskatchewan has announced that, in response to feedback from immigration stakeholders, the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) will be overhauled and streamlined in the New Year.

The SINP is Saskatchewan’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Most Canadian provinces have dedicated PNPs, which allow them to nominate foreign nationals to the Federal government for Canadian Permanent Residency.

Changes to the SINP will become effective January 2, 2014. The program, which currently consists of nine immigration sub-categories, will see these sub-categories combined into three overarching categories. They will be as follows:

  • International Skilled Worker;
  • Saskatchewan Experience; and
  • Entrepreneur and Farm

In addition to changing the structure and content of the program, beginning in January all SINP applications will be submitted and processed electronically. By using an exclusively online system, the overall process will be made easier and more efficient for both applicants and visa officers.

A number of significant changes will be made to each of the three new immigration categories. Below is a brief summary of these changes, as well as a commentary on what applicants can expect from the new system.

International Skilled Worker Category

This category has been created for workers who wish to live and work in the Province of Saskatchewan. Applicants can be nominated by the SINP for immigration if they successfully demonstrate that they have the necessary experience, education, language and adaptability to thrive in the province.

The program will include the following criteria:

  • A points system that assesses employment offers, education, work experience, language skills, family connections, and other factors. Family connection points have been increased and can now account for up to 20% of total points;
  • Applicants must have language skills equivalent to or higher than Canadian Level Benchmark 4. These skills must be proven by submitting scores from an SINP-approved language exam;
  • Applicants with work experience in a regulated profession (such as nursing or engineering) must obtain necessary provincial certification; and
  • Applicants without a skilled job offer must submit a settlement plan and proof of settlement funds.

For 2014, a total of 250 applications will be accepted from applicants who do not have a job offer in Saskatchewan. Applicants’ occupations must be included on a designated list of occupations. This list, as well as more detailed guidelines on the points system and application procedures, will be made available in December 2013.

Saskatchewan Experience Category

This category is geared towards individuals who are currently living and working in the province. It will consist of the following five sub-categories:

  • Existing Work Permit
  • Health Professionals
  • Hospitality Sector Pilot Project
  • Long Haul Truck Drivers
  • Students (see changes below)

These programs currently exist as part of the SINP. No changes will be made to the first four sub-categories. However, changes have been made to the Students sub-category. These changes include:

  • The Post Graduation Work Permit and Master’s and PhD Graduate sub-categories, which are currently operating under the SINP, will be combined to create one general Students sub-category;
  • Graduates from a Saskatchewan school must have a skilled job offer in the province that is relevant to their education, or a job offer requiring a post-secondary education. They must work in the province for 6 months before applying; and
  • Graduates from a school outside of Saskatchewan must have a skilled job offer in the province that is relevant to their education, and must work in Saskatchewan for two years before applying.

Until December 31, 2013, applications from an additional 250 out-of-province graduates and an additional 150 Saskatchewan graduates will be accepted for review.

Entrepreneur and Farm

This third category will consist of the following sub-categories, all of which already exist in the current SINP framework:

  • Entrepreneur
  • Farm Owners/Operators
  • Young Farmers

What This Means for Applicants

Out of all Canadian provinces, Saskatchewan is among those most in need of skilled foreign workers in a variety of professions. By overhauling its program, the SINP has the opportunity to position itself as one of the most progressive and responsive Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

“Saskatchewan has one of the most robust provincial programs,” said Attorney David Cohen. “This is to say nothing of the province’s strong commitment to supporting immigrants upon arrival. By announcing these reforms, we are once again reminded that Saskatchewan is fighting hard to attract Canada’s most promising new immigrants.”

Regardless of how they arrive in Saskatchewan, immigrants are able to take advantage of the province’s many resources for newcomers. These include free language courses, employment counselling, housing and other settlement services, and of course a healthy dose of the province’s prairie hospitality!

To learn if you are eligible for the SINP or any of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment.