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