News Release - May 6, 2004
SASKATCHEWAN EXPANDING IMMIGRATION PROGRAM
Saskatchewan's immigration program is opening up to bring more people to the province.
Minister responsible for Immigration Pat Atkinson today said over the coming months the program will open up to:
• more foreign students;
• more skilled workers; and
• more opportunities for business owners.
"Under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), the province's target for 2004-05 is 300 nominations, a significant increase over past years," Atkinson said. "I'm confident these enhancements will enable us to meet or exceed our goals for this year. This could mean approximately 1,000 new people coming to Saskatchewan to help build our province and our economy."
Effective immediately, the government is allowing foreign post-secondary students who graduate in Saskatchewan and get work in their field to apply to the SINP. There are about 1,700 foreign students studying in Saskatchewan who could apply to the program if they find work here after graduation.
The minister also said the program will be expanded to meet a much greater range of employer needs. All skilled workers who have secured employment will be able to apply to the nominee program.
"In the coming months, we will open the program for Saskatchewan employers who want to permanently hire a qualified foreign skilled worker," Atkinson said. "Our current skill shortage list covers about 10,000 jobs in Saskatchewan or two per cent of the job market. I expect about 200,000 additional jobs in Saskatchewan requiring post-secondary education or training will become open to applicants to the SINP."
In addition, the department is currently running a pilot program with the Saskatchewan Trucking Association, aimed at attracting as many as 120 long-haul truckers to the province to address trucking sector labour needs.
The province also intends to make the program more flexible for immigrants who want to own and operate a business in Saskatchewan. The program currently is limited to businesses in key economic development sectors and excludes most service or retail businesses.
Atkinson made the announcement at the Saskcan Pulse Trading plant, east of Regina, as part of Saskatchewan Opportunities Week. Established in 2001, Saskcan ships processed lentils, peas, mustard and canary seed to 34 countries. The company employs 48 people, including six immigrants who came to Saskatchewan as a result of the province's immigration program.
"My company would not be in operation without the support and assistance of the SINP," Saskcan President Murad al-Katib said. "The program has enabled us to fill specialized positions with skilled workers who simply weren't available in Canada."
"By expanding and enhancing our provincial immigration program, I'm confident we can foster more Saskatchewan success stories like Saskcan in the months and years ahead," Atkinson added.
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