Crowd protests changes to Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program
A group of Saskatchewan immigrants are calling the recent changes to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program a betrayal and they hope to see a change.
A large crowd gathered outside the Saskatchewan Legislature on Tuesday holding Canadian flags and signs about family to protest the sudden changes to the program. They were upset that these changes were made without any notice or a phasing-out period.
Before the stricter rules were proposed early in May, Saskatchewan's family nominee program had less red tape than other provinces for immigrants to sponsor family members to come to Canada.
New rules will require people nominated under the program to have a job offer in the province. The other major change to the program is to limit the applications to one per household rather than the previous system with no cap.
At the time of the announcement, Immigration Minister Rob Norris said the government has heard reports of people making up to 20 applications under the old rules. He pointed out that with that many applications other families who want to immigrate were being left out.
Husnain Rizvi, a member of Regina's Pakistani community and he was one of the people protesting on Tuesday.
"It's really unfair for families and again I've heard some pretty extreme stories from our community where people have had to sell their businesses and uproot their families and I have done the same," he explained.
Rizvi and his family moved here from Newfoundland about a year ago hoping to take advantage of the nominee program by sponsoring two or three family members to join them here and start up a business.
"We're trying to be constructive about this, we're maintaining the diaglogue with Minister Norris as well."
Rizvi hopes to see a grandfather clause come into effect that will allow those in the province, prior to May 1 of this year, to still nominate more than just one family member at a time.
Edited by News Talk Radio's Adriana Christianson