Saskatchewan PNP launches new tech immigration program

Shelby Thevenot
Published: March 8, 2022

On March 7, Saskatchewan launched the new Tech Talent Pathway under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) to attract tech workers into the province.

The Tech Talent Pathway is intended to ease critical labour shortages in Saskatchewan's tech sector. With this new pathway to permanent residence for tech workers, employers in Saskatchewan's technology and innovation sectors will be able to attract more talent to support growth and increase Saskatchewan's global competitiveness.

"As Saskatchewan emerges from the impacts of the global pandemic, our technology sector will be an important driver of economic growth," Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said in a media release. "The new Tech Talent Pathway provides our Saskatchewan employers with a dedicated stream for the attraction of highly skilled talent into our thriving technology sector."

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This new stream will facilitate and expedite the immigration process for tech workers already working in Saskatchewan, as well as those who have been recruited outside Canada.

"The economy of Saskatchewan relies on our ability to attract and retain highly skilled immigrants who form critical anchors of specialized skills in our communities and workforce," SaskTech President Dr. Aaron Genest said in the release. "The Tech Talent Pathway offers a competitive advantage to Saskatchewan industries and is unique in Canada. It streamlines the immigration process and acknowledges that we want our immigrants to stay right here in our province to join us in creating innovative solutions for Saskatchewan to export to the world."

To be eligible, applicants to the Tech Talent Pathway must have:

  • An employer-specific SINP Job Approval Letter for an eligible technology sector occupation;
  • a minimum official language level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 if the applicant is not working in Saskatchewan when they apply or CLB level 7 if applying for Express Entry;
  • at least one-year of work experience in that occupation in the past five years; or six months working in Saskatchewan;
  • post-secondary education; and
  • be eligible for Saskatchewan professional licensing (applicable to eligible computer, software, electrical and electronics engineers).

The SINP says program criteria can change at any time, but decision makers will use the information that was on the government website at the time they receive the application.

The federal government, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) sets the amount of nominations the SINP can make every year. No application is guaranteed to be nominated, the SINP says.

Eligible occupations

Candidates my be able to apply to the Saskatchewan Tech Talent Pathway if they have a job offer in one of the following occupations, listed below by their National Occupation Classification (NOC) code.

  • 0213 Computer and information systems managers
  • 2133 Electrical and Electronics engineers
  • 2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
  • 2171 Information System analysts and consultants
  • 2172 Database analysts and data administrators
  • 2173 Software engineers and designers
  • 2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers
  • 2175 Web designers and developers
  • 2281 Computer network technicians
  • 2282 User support technicians
  • 2283 Information system testing technicians

More eligibility criteria

You may qualify for the program if you live outside Canada or have legal status in Canada, and are not a refugee claimant.

To be eligible, you need an offer for an eligible permanent, full-time technology or innovation sector job in Saskatchewan, regardless of if you are applying as an Express Entry candidate or not. You will need a valid SINP Job Approval Letter to show proof, and to attest to your intent to work and reside in Saskatchewan.

If you are applying from Saskatchewan, you must be currently working in the province and have worked full time for at least six months for the employer offering you the eligible job. Full time, according to the government, means at least 30 hours per week.

If you have not been working for your supporting employer full-time for at least six months, then you need to have at least one-year of work experience in your occupation within the last five years.

If applying from other provinces of Canada or from outside Canada, you need one year of related work experience in your intended occupation within the past five years.

For the language requirement, those who are currently working will have to meet the language requirements established by their employer. If not currently working for the employer offering the job, your language ability will have to be CLB 5 or higher in English or French.

You must be eligible for Saskatchewan licensing if your occupation requires it. Computer engineers, Software engineers (but not designers), and electrical and electronics engineers will be required to:

  • Provide a letter from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS) showing that an application for registration as an Engineer-in-Training has been approved; or
  • Provide a letter from APEGS indicating that they have been assigned Confirmatory Exams.

Also, you need a post-secondary education that relates to the job you've been offered, which could be a Master's or Bachelor's degree; or a three-year degree at a university or college; or a diploma that requires two years at a university, college, trade or technical school, or other post-secondary institution.

Eligibility for Express Entry candidates

Those accepted into IRCC’s Express Entry pool may also be eligible through this stream. Those who choose to apply to this stream as IRCC Express Entry candidates have different requirements. Express Entry applications received priority processing by IRCC for permanent residency, with expected permanent residency application processing times. Although the processing standard is supposed to be six months or less, IRCC is currently dealing with an immigration backlog that is pushing processing times much further. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said the website will be up-to-date in the coming months.

As a candidate in IRCC's Express Entry pool, you may qualify for this sub-category if you live outside Canada or have proof of legal status in Canada, are not a refugee claimant, and:

  • Have a valid Express Entry Profile Number and Job Seeker Code.
  • Have a language test result that meets the federal Express Entry language requirements.

In order to get a profile in the Express Entry system, you need to be eligible for one of the Express Entry-managed programs. Tech workers will usually either qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Canadian Experience Class. The third Express Entry managed program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, is primarily for tech workers who are not eligible for either of the other two.

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