Sask. introduces legislation to protect foreign workers, immigrants

Act also aiming to improve transparency, accountability in recruitment process
||Last Updated: 12/04/2012

Saskatchewan has introduced legislation to protect foreign workers and immigrants from abuse and exploitation.

The Foreign Worker Recruitment and Immigration Services Act will also improve transparency and accountability when being recruited to work in Saskatchewan or in the process of immigrating to the province, said the government.

"This is a critical new piece of legislation," said Bill Boyd, the minister responsible for immigration. "In recent years, we have seen many instances of mistreatment of foreign nationals that will be stopped by this act."

Since 2007, approximately 39,000 people have immigrated to Saskatchewan. Last year the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program nominated 4,000 principal applicants, which with accompanying family members will result in 12,000 new residents. These increasing numbers mean more people are vulnerable to mistreatment when they are recruited or immigrate here, said the government.

The Ministry of the Economy's Program Integrity Unit received a total of 335 foreign worker case files for the period August 2008 to August 2012 — 30 per cent were not covered by any existing federal or provincial legislation.

"Saskatchewan will require as many as 75,000 to 90,000 skilled workers in the next five years," Boyd said. "Skilled foreign workers are a key element of our labour market strategy."

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