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Canada announces new Federal Skilled Trades Program starting January 2013 | Immigration Matters

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Canada needs more skilled tradespersons and is looking to migrant workers to fill the gap, as a new Federal Skilled Trades Program is being launched on January 2, 2013, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced this week.

Immigration Minister Kenney said:

“The new Skilled Trades Stream will help address serious labour shortages in some regions of the country, and support economic growth.

“For too long, Canada’s immigration system has not been open to these in-demand skilled workers. These changes are long overdue and will help us move to a fast and flexible immigration system that works for Canada’s economy.”

The program will focus on four key requirements to ensure applicants possess the right skills and experience needed to succeed and prosper in Canada.

To qualify for Federal Skilled Trades Program, migrant applicants will need to:

  1. obtain an offer of employment in Canada or a certificate of qualification from a province or territory to ensure that applicants are “job ready” upon arrival;
  2. meet the basic language requirement;
  3. demonstrate a minimum of two years of work experience as a skilled tradesperson, to ensure that the applicant has recent and relevant practice as a qualified journeyman; and
  4. possess the skills and experience that match those set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC B) system, showing that they have performed the essential duties of the occupation.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will accept up to a maximum of 3,000 applications in the first year of the Federal Skilled Trades Program, to manage demand, avoid backlogs and ensure fast processing times.

Michael Atkinson, President of the Canadian Construction Association said

“The introduction of a dedicated and streamlined program for skilled trades addresses many of the shortcomings from the current Federal Skilled Worker Program.

“The new program ensures greater consideration is given to the needs of industry when processing eligible immigration applications.”

Dan Kelly, President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business welcomed the announcement:

“Ensuring Canada’s immigration system works for small employers in need of skilled trades’ people has been a concern for some time.

“With the shortage of qualified labour in many parts of Canada growing once again, the launch of the Skilled Trades immigration stream is very welcome news.”

Eligible occupations include electricians: welders, heavy-duty equipment mechanics, pipefitters and more.

CIC is currently working on the list of skilled trades’ occupations in conjunction with the provinces, territories and federal government partners that are experiencing acute labour shortages.

The full list will be announced prior to the program opening on January 2, 2013.

Other routes already in place for skilled tradespersons to migrate to Canada, include the Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Programs.

Minister Kenney added:

“As promised in Economic Action Plan 2012, we are creating a new immigration stream to facilitate entry of skilled tradespersons.

“The Federal Skilled Trades Program will help transform Canada’s immigration system into a fast and flexible system focused on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.”


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