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Saskatchewan launches new Hard-to-Fill Skills Pilot under its immigrant nominee program

By CILA on January 26, 2022

This guest article was authored by Samuel Escobar, Canadian Immigration Lawyer, HowTo Immigration Law.

The Government of Saskatchewan, through its Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), recently introduced the International Skilled Worker Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot program, designed to address labour and recruitment challenges for certain entry-level and low-skilled positions in the province. This also results in a new immigration pathway for entry-level and low-skilled workers inside and outside of Canada who hold a job offer in Saskatchewan.   

Employers interested in submitting Job Approval Forms for the Pilot program have been able to do so since December 15, 2021. From January 15, 2022, SINP applications for the Pilot program are being accepted. At this time, no end date for the Pilot program has been set.

The sectors with the highest labour demands in Saskatchewan include health, manufacturing, agriculture, ag-tech, construction, hospitality and retail.

Through this creative Pilot program, foreign workers outside of Canada who meet the eligibility requirements and are approved/nominated will be able to apply for a work permit and make their way to Canada to begin working for their supporting Saskatchewan employer. With limited routes to Canadian immigration available for low-skilled/entry-level foreign workers, this Pilot program hopes to not only provide Saskatchewan employers with a larger selection pool of international talent, but also provide foreign entry-level/low-skilled workers with a route to enter, work, and obtain permanent residency in Canada.

To be eligible, an applicant must meet the following program requirements:

Saskatchewan Job Offer

Have a full-time, permanent job offer in Saskatchewan that is accompanied by an SINP Job Approval letter for an eligible occupation from a registered Saskatchewan employer.

Education 

Have completed the equivalent of Canadian secondary (high school) or higher level education. If studies were completed outside of Canada, an Educational Credential Assessment is required.

Transport truck drivers require Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) to obtain a commercial Class 1 license to drive semi trucks in Saskatchewan. Nominations issued for NOC 7511 – Transport Truck Drivers will be conditional until proof is provided to the SINP after you arrive that you have completed MELT training and have a valid Class 1 license. This training is done while living in Saskatchewan.

Official Language Proficiency

Have scored at least a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 in a designated Official Language Exam. Be aware that some employers/regulators may ask for scores that are higher than CLB 4.  

Work Experience 

If you do not have Canadian Work Experience, you must have completed at least one (1) year of work experience in the past three (3) years in the same occupation as the job offer.

If you have Saskatchewan work experience, you must have completed at least six months of full time (780 hours) work experience in the same occupation as the job offer.

Employer Role

Supporting employers are required to demonstrate that they have attempted to find workers through domestic recruitment, and also provide evidence of their ability to provide settlement support to the foreign workers once they arrive/begin working for them.

Recruitment Efforts

Employers must advertise position(s) being recruited on SaskJobs for a minimum of four (4) consecutive weeks, in the three (3) months prior to submitting the Job Approval Form.

Settlement Support

Employers must also fulfill settlement requirements, including assigning a culturally sensitive on-the-job mentor to the employee, and undertaking any two of the following action items:

  • Attend intercultural training, educational seminars, conferences, or information sessions related to supporting and/or retaining newcomers. There are numerous organizations in Saskatchewan that deliver programming related to intercultural education, anti-racism and inclusion or diversity training. Employers can also access resources from the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Make referrals for newcomers to access settlement services, community resources, groups, associations, and/or community organizations. Settlement agencies can provide you with information about support for newcomers. Please visit Settlement Services for information on the Saskatchewan government’s Regional Newcomer Gateways or Programs and Settlement Services to search for supports by location.
  • Offer team-building activities within the workplace to promote cross-cultural understanding and awareness, or establish a workplace diversity and inclusion committee. Saskculture.ca has a number of resources on their website, including this resource: Building Culturally Competent Organizations.
  • Provide time off or a flexible work schedule to newcomer employees to allow for language training, appointments with settlement counsellors, enrolling children in school, applying for health cards, obtaining a driving license, etc.
  • The supports, including assigning a culturally sensitive on-the-job-mentor and the two selected action items, must be provided to existing employees within three months of the nomination date. For new employees nominated through this Pilot, the supports must be provided within three months of the nominee’s arrival in Saskatchewan.

 

Job Offer

Contents of the Job Offer must meet SINP requirements:

  • Job offer includes the contact’s name, phone number, e-mail address and company mailing address of the employer;
  • indicates that the position is a permanent, full time (minimum 30 hours/week) skilled position(s) in Saskatchewan (non-seasonal);
  • indicates the salary for the position being offered;
  • indicates the location, job title, main duties and responsibilities of the position being offered;
  • describes any benefits that the principal applicant will receive (e.g., health, dental, short/long term disability, accommodation, etc.).
  • The wage must be fair and equitable to the wage paid to Canadians and permanent residents. This is demonstrated by using the benchmark or providing proof of wages paid to Canadians and permanent residents (pay stubs for current employees; cannot be below the low wage for that region). The standard benchmark used by the SINP for wages paid to foreign workers to ensure ethical recruitment is the National Job Bank’s Regional Median Wage for that occupation in Saskatchewan.