The Saskatchewan government is looking for more autonomy over immigration.
Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison delivered a proposal for the province's expanded autonomy to federal and provincial Ministers Responsible for Immigration on Thursday.
The province said in a release that it is looking to gain similar authorities over immigration that the province of Québec has.
A provincial release stated that the Saskatchewan Immigration Accord would give the province:
- Sole authority to nominate newcomers moving to Saskatchewan control over the family class of immigration
- A transfer of federal resources for settlement services to Saskatchewan
- and a guaranteed provincial allocation of nominees each year, proportionate to the population of Saskatchewan within Canada
"Saskatchewan requires more autonomy and flexibility over immigration in order to meet its economic needs and address gaps in the labour market," Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said. "Canada should be focusing its efforts on reducing processing times for applications and let the provinces select immigrants and ensure their effective settlement."
Harrison said the province wants to have the same immigration powers as Québec.
"Immigration is a key component of our government's plan to grow the province to 1.4 million people and create an additional 100,000 jobs by 2030," Harrison said. "Provincial governments are in the best position to respond to local labour market needs with new Canadians. The provinces should not be limited by economic categories or caps on provincial nominee programs set by the federal government."
The province said it expects to exceed its current cap of 6,000 under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program this year. They say international recruitment by employers will be delayed without an increase of the federal cap. The release said a minimum of 13,000 positions would be allocated to the province in 2022 if Saskatchewan had a proportionate share of national immigration.
The release also said a new Saskatchewan Accord would reduce confusion for new Canadians and allow the province to make a "continuum of services that would range from settlement to integration." It also said this could expedite the response to humanitarian crises, such as the war in Ukraine.
The proposal would see the federal government transfer around $42 million to Saskatchewan annually.