According to the 2011 National Household Survey, more immigrants are living in Saskatoon today than Aboriginals. The number of immigrants living in Saskatoon has risen from 11,470 to 27,355 between 2006 and 2011. This increase demonstrated how Saskatoon has become an increasingly popular destination for newcomers to Canada.
Saskatchewan has received additional allocation from the Federal Government for their Immigrant Nominee Program. Provincial Economy Minister Bill Boyd is pleased, but would have preferred an even more substantial increase. Saskatchewan had originally requested 2000 additional provincial nomination positions, but only received 450. However, since the Federal Government only allocated 1,650 new provincial nominee positions nationwide, Saskatchewan is pleased with its overall increase.
Each nomination is assigned to an individual who is the “principal applicant” and would then be joined by accompanying dependants. For this reason, the 450 additional positions could translate to around 1,200 newcomers to the province. “Clearly, we’d like the Federal Government to allocate way more [nominees] across the country,” says Boyd, “and then, of course, more for Saskatchewan.” Boyd plans to stay in contact with the Federal Government, as there may be an opportunity to sweep up unallocated spots across the country in October and November. This would result in possible additional spots for Saskatchewan.
The Federal Government has voiced its desire for provincial nominee programs to be economically driven. The resulting changes made last year to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program’s family referral category, for immigrant families who want to help their skilled and educated family members come to work and live in the province, were controversial. A media release by the provincial government states that the latest cap increase is dependent on the province making further changes to the SINP category assessment.
The plan is to eventually implement the family stream into a section of the skilled worker category, with the use of a grading system to offer additional points to skilled applicants who have family connections in Saskatchewan. “We think it’s important that the immigrant communities have the opportunity to voice their concerns,” adds Boyd, as these changes will affect how they will be able to reconnect with family members.
“They should think about the people rather than the numbers,” expresses Naveed Anwar, spokesman for the advocacy group Coalition for a Fair SINP and candidate for the NDP in Saskatoon in the last provincial election. Anwar believes a main issue is the present backlog of applications and that 450 new position is not enough to improve the present situation.
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