Is The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program Flawed?

By James Metcalfe | June 10, 2016

James Metcalfe - Director of ImmigrationJim Metcalfe – Director of Immigration: I recently came across an interesting Federal Court decision that involves the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (Naeem Ullah, docket number 2016 FC 607). The case involved appellant Naeem Ullah, who successfully challenged the decision of a visa officer who refused his application for permanent residence in Canada.

The decision reported that Ullah was trained as a software specialist but that he had received a job offer to work as a dishwasher in Regina. Presumably on that basis – to be a dishwasher – a provincial nomination under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) had been issued on his behalf.

Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program

It took almost 2 years from the time Ullah’s nomination certificate was issued until a decision was made by the visa office in March, 2015, that he lacked the necessary language skills and work experience to perform the duties of a dishwasher. As such, Ullah would be unlikely to become economically established in Canada. Ullah appealed. The court saw merit in his argument and the case has been sent back to the visa office for review.

I don’t have a problem with the judgment of the court. They have their reasons. I do, however, take issue with why the Saskatchewan government granted Ullah a nomination in the first place. Unfortunately, there is not enough background information on the prospective employer to make comments on the specific needs of that employer. But experience makes me question why such a low level, entry-type position is even available for approval under the nominee program in the first place.

Checks And Balances

There are many highly skilled applicants who apply under the skilled worker category and are denied. Perhaps in 2013 there were lots of employment opportunities in Saskatchewan due to the oil and potash boom, but in today’s economy, I don’t believe that entry-level jobs are going begging. On the other side of the coin, it could be argued that the individual is overqualified for such a position and that the job offer was merely a ruse for getting into Canada. If that’s the case, then the system is flawed and needs a review.

More than three years have passed since Ullah filed his application. The question needs to be asked: Who has been washing the dishes in this restaurant for the past three years if there is such a critical shortage of people in Saskatchewan that you have to import people as permanent residents from halfway around the world to do the job? Obviously there is more to the story than is revealed in the federal court case. I look forward to hearing what the visa office does now.