On November 25, 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot program to address acute labour demands and recruitment challenges within the province. The new program is a pilot under the existing Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), and will provide a low-skill immigration pathway similar to the SINP International Worker – Employment Offer Stream.
Specifically, the Pilot will target hard to fill, low-skilled positions in the province. Occupations in the Pilot will be focused in trades support, farming, hospitality, health care and retail. A full list of the eligible occupations under the Pilot can be found in the Government of Saskatchewan's Backgrounder.
This is an employer-driven stream, meaning that foreign workers will need an official offer of employment and SINP job-approval letter before they are accepted into the Pilot.
Eligibility for the Program
Based on current language, the Pilot will allow employers access to international workers who are not in Saskatchewan and do not have any in-Canada work experience. Employers with eligible low-skill workers already in Saskatchewan will also have new options to retain their existing employees and avoid a revolving door of Labour Market Impact Assessments.
To be eligible for the Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot program, applicants must:
- Have a full-time, permanent offer of employment;
- Have a 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, meaning 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.
Employers participating in the program must demonstrate the following:
- They have made fulsome efforts to hire domestically for the position prior to utilizing the program;
- That there is a need and a benefit to their business; and
- Fulfill specific requirements around providing relocation support for the workers.
In many cases, economically established foreign workers in low-skilled positions do not have pathways to permanent residency. Further, employers suffering from labour shortages for certain low-skilled positions do not have access to a reliable labour pool. If effective, this Pilot should alleviate labour pressures on employers while providing foreign nationals a route to permanent residency in the province.
The Pilot program is set to launch in December 2021. We will monitor any updates as they are provided by the Government of Saskatchewan.
The immigration group at MLT Aikins can provide guidance and assistance to employers regarding the application of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP).
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.