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Saskatchewan Premier Enlists Business Community In Bid To Boost Immigration

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has mobilized the business community to lobby Ottawa to increase immigration to his Prairie country.

The premier once more emphasized his Saskatchewan Party’s idea of a new partnership with the federal government at a luncheon hosted by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, in which the state would have more freedom to define its own immigration goals.

“We are not short of jobs. We are short of people,” he said.

The premier wants business leaders in his region to press Ottawa for a new immigration agreement between Canada and Saskatchewan, similar to the one the federal government has with Quebec. Under such a pact, Saskatchewan’s immigration goals would be increased to 13,000 new permanent residents annually.

“Saskatchewan requires more autonomy and flexibility over immigration in order to meet its economic needs and address gaps in the labor market,” Jeremy Harrison, Saskatchewan’s immigration and career training minister, said in a statement in July.

“Canada should focus its efforts on reducing processing times for applications and let the provinces select immigrants and ensure their effective settlement.”

Harrison met with the federal and provincial ministers of immigration in late July and presented a thorough plan to grant Saskatchewan immigration authority comparable to Quebec’s.

The Saskatchewan Immigration Accord is a plan that would give Saskatchewan exclusive control over the family class of immigration, power over newcomers migrating to Saskatchewan, and transfer federal resources for settlement services to Saskatchewan.

Additionally, it would ensure that Saskatchewan would receive an annual allocation of nominations that were commensurate to its population in Canada.

“When it comes to immigration Saskatchewan expects the same deal as Quebec,” said Harrison.

Saskatchewan is looking to increase immigration to reach 1.4 million.

“Immigration is a key component of our government’s plan to grow the province to 1.4 million people and create an additional 100,000 jobs by 2030. Provincial governments are in the best position to respond to local labor market needs with new Canadians. The provinces should not be limited by economic categories or caps on Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) set by the federal government.”

Under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), Saskatchewan anticipates meeting and exceeding its existing cap of 6,000 immigrants this year.

The province asserts that firms’ plans to hire workers abroad will be delayed in the absence of an increase to the federal cap. At least 13,000 employment would be allotted to the province this year under a proportionate share of national immigration, more than quadruple Saskatchewan’s present pace of immigration.

According to the government, a Saskatchewan Immigration Accord would limit aid to newcomers by establishing a continuum of services spanning from integration to settlement assistance. A change in settlement service funding would result in an annual payout to the province of almost $42 million dollars.

“Our province has gained a great deal of experience and developed very significant capacity in the past decade and a half in administering and managing the SINP,” said Harrison.

“We know our province’s needs and labor markets better than the government of Canada. By transferring the 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.

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.”

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