A new federal government immigration program started last week that will allow more than 3,000 skilled tradespersons to enter Canada this year to work in a diverse set of construction occupations.
“The new Skilled Trades Program will address serious labour shortages that some regions of the country are facing, and will help grow Canada’s economy,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
“These long-overdue changes are part of the government’s plan to build a fast and flexible immigration system that is responsive to the needs of Canada’s economy. Canadian employers have long been asking for ways to get the skilled tradespeople they need to meet demands in many industries across the country.”
The new Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is designed to target people in skilled trades’ occupations that are experiencing acute labour shortages.
Kenney announced the program last month, but at that time Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) was working with the provinces, territories and federal government partners to produce a more comprehensive list of occupations.
As a result, an occupation list was designed to reflect current labour market needs and ensure the program delivers tradespeople in high-demand occupations.
Initially, CIC will accept up to a maximum of 3,000 applications and 43 jobs will be eligible in the first year of the program.
Group A targets 17 jobs with a moderate labour market need. This group has a sub-cap of 100 applications, which includes carpenters, as well as contractors and supervisors for heavy equipment operator crews, quarries and those in electrical and mechanical trades.
Group B has no sub-caps and targets 26 in-demand jobs, including sheet metal workers, structural metal fabricators, ironworkers, welders, plumbers, pipefitters, gas fitters, heavy-duty equipment mechanics and crane operators.
In addition to being qualified for an eligible occupation, applicants must demonstrate basic language proficiency in either English or French at the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 for speaking and listening, and CLB 4 for reading and writing.
CLB 4 is considered basic proficiency, while those with CLB 5 can more effectively participate in and understand routine conversations.
Other criteria include: 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; at least two years of work experience in the occupation within the last five years; and meeting the employment requirements set out in the National Occupational Classification system, showing that they have performed the essential duties of the occupation.
Employers interested in supporting a skilled tradesperson’s application to immigrate to Canada, under the FSTP, may need to apply to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada for a labour market opinion (LMO).
However it may depend on individual circumstances.