Saskatchewan announces changes to Canadian Immigrant Nominee Program

Fri, 2012-05-18 07:12 PM
Earlier this month the Canadian province of Saskatchewan introduced changes to their Immigrant Nominee Program affecting the family category, student category, and the entrepreneur category.

Saskatchewan's Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration Minister Rob Norris announced that in an attempt to create more fairness in the Canadian immigration application process, family category nominees will now only be able to submit one application per household until the principal applicant and family have settled in the Canadian province.

This still means that immediate families will be able to immigrate to Canada together, but the process of bringing extended family members over has changed. Previously, Canadian immigrants who settled in the Canadian province could apply for visas for unlimited family members to join them.

Nominees wishing to enter the province will now also require a job offer. Previously, applicants were required to intend to find work in the Canadian province in order to receive a visa, but didn't need an actual job offer.

"We have families now moving forward with multiple applications and what's happening is something that's unfair," said Norris. "Some families have come (with) — we've even heard stories of up to 20 applications. As they've moved forward with their 20, what's happening is other families are being left out."

"Overall, there are pros and cons. I think the families do have a financial commitment when they bring an individual here, so there's definitely more stress on the family to support that new family member while they are settling and trying to find a job. So I think that does — the fact that the person would have a job — does reduce the stress on the family members and would make the whole settlement process a little more enjoyable for everyone," said Darcy Dietrich, executive director of the Regina Open Door Society, a non-profit organization that provides settlement and integration services to refugees and immigrants in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Additionally, students who graduate from a university in Canada outside of the province will now be required to have been employed in Saskatchewan for one full year before applying for a visa in the Immigrant Nominee Program. Previously, graduates only need 6 months of employment in the Canadian province.

Entrepreneur category applicants will be required to have their net worth and evidence of funds verified by an independent third party approved by the Canadian government before submitting an application and receiving a visa.

Norris explained that the changes were necessary to boost the integrity of the Immigrant Nominee Program and further convince the Canadian government to increase the immigration cap in Saskatchewan from 4,000 to 6,000.

These changes will go into effect immediately, however applications submitted before 2 May 2012 will be processed under the previous rules.

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