Workers with experience job offers in low-skilled and intermediate-skilled positions may be able to immigrate to Saskatchewan through the Saskatchewan Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot. This stream is accepting applications as of January 15, 2022.

The Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot is a new stream under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), one of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs.

Saskatchewan Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot eligibility criteria

Applicants must:

  • Have a full-time, permanent offer of employment and SINP Job Approval Letter from a Saskatchewan employer in an eligible occupation (see eligible occupation list below)
  • Meet a minimum proficiency level equivalent to Canadian language Benchmark (CLB) 4; and
  • Provide provide proof of education equivalent to or high-school diploma or post-secondary education (if studies were not completed in Canada, an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) is required); and
  • Meet the minimum educational and work experience requirements, which includes having at least one year of work experience in the same occupation as the job offer or six-months work experience in that job in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot: eligible occupations

These 23 occupations from eight sectors are eligible occupations for the Hard-to-Fill Skills Pilot. Occupations are listed by their National Occupational Classification codes (NOC codes):

  • 1521 – Shippers and receivers
  • 1525 – Dispatchers
  • 3413 – Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
  • 3414 – Other assisting occupations in support of health services
  • 4412 – Home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations
  • 6513 – Food and beverage servers
  • 6525 – Hotel front desk clerk
  • 6731 – Light duty cleaners
  • 6711 – Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations
  • 6733 – Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents
  • 7452 – Material handlers
  • 7511 – Transport truck drivers
  • 7521 – Heavy equipment operators (except crane)
  • 7611 – Construction trades helpers and labourers
  • 8431 – general farm workers
  • 9416 – Metalworking and forging machine operators
  • 9431 – Sawmill machine operators
  • 9461 – Process control and machine operators, food and beverage processing
  • 9526 – Mechanical assemblers and inspectors
  • 9536 – Industrial painters, coaters and metal finishing process operators
  • 9612 – Labourers in metal fabrication
  • 9617 – Labourers in food and beverage processing
  • 9619 – Other labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities

International healthcare workers may be able to find a job offer to support their SINP application by registering in the Saskatchewan International Healthcare Workers EOI Pool. This pool allows Saskatchewan-based healthcare employers to search for international talent to fill open job positions.

Saskatchewan Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot application process

Prospective applicants will not need to create an Expression of Interest profile. Instead, they will need to wait to receive a Job Approval Letter from an eligible Saskatchewan employer to begin the formal application process.

Employers must demonstrate they have made extensive efforts to hire domestically prior to recruiting through the Saskatchewan Hard-to-Fill Skills Pilot, demonstrate the need and benefit for their business, and fulfil requirements related to providing settlement support for the workers. 

The Saskatchewan Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot and Express Entry

Most applicants to the Saskatchewan Hard-To-Fill Skills pilot will not be eligible for Express Entry. This is because Express Entry is an immigration system for high skilled workers — those with occupations at NOC Skill Level 0, A, or B — and the eligible occupations for the HTF Pilot are low- and intermediate-skilled positions — those with occupations at NOC Skill Level C and D.

When asked by Moving2Canada about how the pilot may align with Express Entry, Saskatchewan immigration authorities revealed that a portion of applicants to the pilot may benefit from an enhanced nomination from the SINP under the new pilot, meaning that a nomination would result in 600 additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, near-guaranteeing an invitation to apply and a faster Canadian immigration process. This may be possible if an applicant has previous high-skilled work experience.

Those who are not eligible for the federal Express Entry system will receive a base nomination, meaning that their application is processed entirely separately from the Express Entry system — with slower processing times to be expected as a result.

There is no quota for the pilot at this time.

When does the Saskatchewan Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot open?

Saskatchewan immigration authorities expect their foreign worker application system for the pilot to be open as January 15, 2022.

In its announcement, Saskatchewan immigration authorities stated that the Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot will enable Saskatchewan employers to recruit workers through overseas missions, or other international recruitment activities, into select jobs that have significant recruitment challenges.

The eligible jobs under the Saskatchewan Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot will allow for application of low and entry level positions, and may require on-the-job training, but are critical for businesses to continue to operate and grow.

The sectors with the highest labour demands include health, manufacturing, agriculture, ag-tech, construction, hospitality, and retail.

Saskatchewan’s Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said the Hard-to-Fill Skills Pilot is “going to help provide employers with greater access to international options to recruit workers.”

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Source: Government of Saskatchewan (additional information was provided by the Government of Saskatchewan directly to Moving2Canada upon request)