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Saskatchewan Demanding More Power Over Immigration Program – Looks To Quebec For Inspiration

The premier of Saskatchewan has released the province’s growth strategy quickly following the creation of Justin Trudeau’s new Liberal government in November 2019. The document calls on Canada’s federal government to agree to give Saskatchewan greater power over the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program, nodding to the special authority Quebec holds over its immigration program as an example.

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The Canadian government oversees the number of nomination allocations available to all provinces apart from Quebec, and will always be the final step for approving permanent resident status for newcomers. The provinces hold responsibility for determining where nominations will be placed, and for creating the immigration streams that fit the market demands and demographic needs of the province. 

Premier Moe of Saskatchewan recently stated his intention of negotiating more power over the province’s immigration program, the SINP. On December 4th, his government announced a request for increased control over the PNP, including prioritizing more economic and family-class immigrants to fit the labour demands of the province. 

The premier used Quebec as an example, which operates its own program unique from the other provinces. Unlike other PNP’s, Quebec selects new immigrants by issuing a Quebec Selection Certificate, or CSQ. Applicants then apply to the federal government for Canadian permanent resident approval. The control that Quebec holds over its immigration system allows the province to determine its own immigration targets, which has caused significant media stir in the past several months as the province’s current government ran on a campaign to decrease immigration by 20%

The efforts by Quebec to restrict and rework immigration processes this past year has caused lasting immigration uncertainty for those inside and outside of the province. While the rest of Canada continues to push to accept more skilled immigrants with each passing year, Quebec moves in the opposite direction.

What Would More Autonomy Look Like In Saskatchewan?

Saskatchewan receives thousands of new immigrants per year, and has issued over 4,500 Expression of Interest selections since October. While increased authority over the province’s immigration system is part of this government’s long-term growth strategy, having more power to set immigration targets in the hands of provincial government means greater risk of shifting targets and more immigration red tape added with each new government, as Canada has seen with Quebec as of 2018. 

With the tabling of this discussion to be moved forward in a matter of weeks, Saskatchewan risks having an immigration system that may look drastically different from Canada’s other provinces sooner rather than later. To take advantage of Saskatchewan’s recent high intake rounds, those interested in making the province their home will want to begin the process and benefit from the current streamlined process of federally aligned provincial nominee streams such as Saskatchewan Express Entry.

Interested in learning your eligibility for immigration to Saskatchewan or another of Canada’s provinces? Complete our free assessment and a member of our team will let you know your options!

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