Saskatchewan Announces New Immigration Program (Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot Program)
On November 25, 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan announced a new pilot under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) to address hard-to-fill positions in the province.
“The demand for labour in our province is strong, and it’s only going to increase with the significant economic projects recently announced in Saskatchewan,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said. “This new Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot – developed in Saskatchewan for Saskatchewan – is progress on our autonomy discussions with the federal government and is going to help provide employers with greater access to international options to recruit workers. This is in addition to record investments into training and upskilling our provincial workforce, as we enter a period of strong growth coming out of the global pandemic.”
The newly launched Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot will enable Saskatchewan employers to recruit international workers through overseas missions, or other international recruitment activities, into select jobs that have significant recruitment challenges. The eligible jobs under this pilot will allow for the application of low and entry-level positions, and may require on-the-job training, but are critical for businesses to continue to operate and grow. The sectors with the highest labour demands include health, manufacturing, agriculture, ag-tech, construction, hospitality and retail.
Workers nominated through this stream would be supported by their employers and community, which would contribute to their success. The pilot is scheduled to launch in December 2021.
“This is very positive news for businesses in the hospitality industry in Saskatchewan,” Hospitality Saskatchewan President and CEO Jim Bence said. “This pilot project is designed to attract talent and a great program for all sectors currently experiencing labour recruitment challenges in the province. While we always work hard to exhaust every opportunity to hire locally, we have to be creative to ensure we have the right labour supply to help our business and communities grow and thrive in Saskatchewan, something this very unique program will be especially helpful with post-COVID.”
To be eligible, applicants to the Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot must:
- Have a full-time, permanent offer of employment and SINP job approval letter for an eligible occupation from a registered Saskatchewan employer;
- Meet a minimum Canadian Official Language proficiency level; and
- Meet the minimum educational and work experience requirements, which includes having at least one year of work experience in the same occupation as the job offer or six-months work experience in that job in Saskatchewan.
The employers in the pilot program must demonstrate they have made extensive efforts to hire domestically prior to utilizing the pilot for recruitment, demonstrate the need and benefit for their business, and fulfill requirements related to providing settlement support for the workers.
The pilot program is set to launch in December 2021. More details will be available as that program is launched.
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