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PROVINCE INTRODUCES IMMIGRATION SERVICES ACT

Posted by: Regina Chamber Admin - April 8, 2024

BY THE GOVERNMENT OF SASKATCHEWAN

The Government of Saskatchewan introduced new legislation on Monday that will strengthen the immigration system, protect newcomers and employers, and create the strongest program integrity framework in the country.

“Immigration is critical to Saskatchewan’s economic growth,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said. “This strengthened legislation will support and protect newcomers and employers, and ensure Saskatchewan is able to attract and retain the labour force we need to support our growing economy and communities. This new legislation will enhance Saskatchewan’s ability to support newcomers as they arrive in the province, improve the process for employers looking to hire foreign workers and ensure Saskatchewan has the most robust program integrity framework in Canada.”

Through the new Immigration Services Act, the province will:

  • Enhance the province’s ability to provide a full suite of settlement services from pre-arrival support to longer-term retention assistance;
  • Have stronger protections for foreign workers against exploitation and oversight of recruiters, immigration consultants, and non-compliant employers, improving the integrity and safety of our immigration program; and,
  • Have increased investigative authorities and enforcement measures to tackle immigration fraud, including increased maximum fine amounts for offences and authorizing administrative monetary penalties for non-compliance.

The new Immigration Services Act will also repeal and replace the Foreign Worker Recruitment and Immigration Services Act, bringing all authorities related to immigration in Saskatchewan under one piece of legislation. This will better enable the province to respond to changing needs in the immigration system and will streamline the process for employers who need to use immigration to address their workforce needs.

With the most aggressive foreign worker protection legislation and the most robust program integrity framework in the country, the new legislation provides concrete consequences for those who attempt to misuse immigration programs in the province.

The introduction of this new legislation supports the province’s recently released Labour Market Strategy, which outlines how Saskatchewan is growing and developing the workforce to meet employer demand, including through immigration and the recognition of foreign credentials. The province already has one of the most effective credential recognition systems in Canada, and with the introduction of this new legislation, Saskatchewan will be better positioned to attract and retain the skilled workforce it needs to fill critical job vacancies in the province.

Autonomy over immigration continues to be a priority for the Government of Saskatchewan. In 2022, the province proposed the Saskatchewan Immigration Accord, a modernized agreement with the federal government to facilitate greater provincial autonomy over immigration. The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to further pursuing increased autonomy over immigration with the federal government. The increased investigative authorities, stronger enforcement measures and new authorities over settlement services included in this new act are another step toward this goal.

The new Immigration Services Act supports the government’s Growth Plan goal of reaching a population of 1.4 million people by 2030. A growing population supports the province’s labour force and ensures that all Saskatchewan people benefit from the opportunities created by our growing economy.

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