Saskatchewan looks for increased control on immigration

During Scott Moe’s white paper presentation in North Battleford earlier this week, he outlined the actions his government will take to protect Saskatchewan families from federal policies.

During the presentation, the premier took a moment to address how the provinces should be handling immigration.

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“Our Immigration Minister, Jeremy Harrison… has already put forward a document to the Federal Government saying that we do want to increase Saskatchewan’s influence on where our immigrants are coming from,” Moe said during the conference.

“First of all, we want more in numbers,” Moe said. “Two, we want more influence on the approval process. And three, we will work ultimately with other provinces and wherever these folks are coming from to ensure that they have access to training and whatever it might be to be participating members of our community and ultimately our economy and our society.”

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The call for more control comes after an ongoing backlog of immigrants in Ottawa and a labour shortage in Saskatchewan coming out of the pandemic.

Jason Aebig, a member of the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, said because of the people waiting to immigrate in Ottawa, many highly skilled people will have to leave as work permits expire with nobody to renew them.

“We are highly supportive of the province’s efforts to assume greater control of the process of onboarding newcomers into Saskatchewan,” Aebig said.

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Marlou Poquiz of Mycana Immigration Consultant believes provinces should be allowed more leniency to bring in their own immigrants because they know what is happening around the province, especially with employment.

Poquiz said there is currently a program where local employers and the province can nominate an immigration candidate but Poquiz said when it’s time to get the work permit approved, the federal government can still deny it.

“That doesn’t make sense, that has to stop,” Poquiz said.

He believes the solution to local businesses dealing with a labour shortage is through immigration.

“We don’t have enough workforce,” Poquiz said. “We as an ever-growing country, we need to sustain immigration. Immigration should be the solution for the businesses and of course for our economy.”

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In order to assist with the labour shortage, Justin Trudeau and the federal government have temporarily lifted restrictions on international students’ work hour limits.

Starting Nov. 15, a previous limit of 20 hours per week that eligible students enrolled in full-time studies were allowed to work off campus will no longer apply.

The temporary measures will remain in place until the end of 2023.

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