In a significant move aimed at addressing labor shortages and enhancing its workforce, Saskatchewan has recently announced an expansion of eligibility for workers to apply for permanent residence (PR) through the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP). This expansion, under the Existing Work Permit stream, opens up new opportunities for workers in intermediate and lower-skilled occupations to pursue permanent residency in the province.
Expanded Eligibility Criteria:
The key highlight of this expansion is the inclusion of workers in intermediate and lower-skilled occupations, previously excluded from this immigration stream. Job holders in over 279 different occupations, including truck drivers, farm laborers, retail sales staff, nurses’ aides, and more, are now newly eligible to apply for permanent residence in Saskatchewan. This move signifies a departure from the previous limitation, which only allowed newcomers in high-skilled (TEER 0,1,2, or 3) and designated trades to apply for PR through the Existing Work Permit stream.
The Canadian government utilizes the Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER) categories to classify jobs based on these four components. Ranging from 0 (managerial roles, the most skilled) to 5 (jobs with no formal education requirements, the least skilled), these categories play a crucial role in determining eligibility for immigration streams.
To apply under this newly expanded stream, applicants must meet both stream-specific and general SINP eligibility criteria. This includes holding an eligible open work permit or Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-supported work permit, a francophone mobility work permit, or a Canadian Ukrainian Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) visa. Additionally, applicants must possess a valid SINP job approval letter, six months of full-time work experience in the same job as specified in the job approval letter, a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 4 for TEER 4 or 5 occupations, and an eligible Saskatchewan licensure if the occupation is regulated in the province.
While the expansion broadens the scope of eligibility, certain categories remain excluded. Food and beverage servers, truck drivers, health professionals, graduates with a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), and refugee claimants cannot apply under this immigration stream. Instead, alternative pathways are recommended for these individuals, such as the Hospitality Sector Pilot Project, the Long Haul Truck Driver Project, the SINP Health Professional Sub-category, the Saskatchewan Experience – Student Sub-category, or the International Skilled Worker – Employment Offer Sub-category.
Saskatchewan’s Need for Immigrants
Acknowledging the pressing demand to fill job vacancies, the provincial government of Saskatchewan has engaged in discussions with the federal government to secure a higher allocation of immigration nominees for the upcoming years – 2023, 2024, and 2025. Faced with an existing pool of over 16,000 job openings and a projected surge to more than 112,000 vacancies in the next five years, Saskatchewan is strategically focusing on drawing in and retaining skilled workers through targeted immigration initiatives.