Canada’s new Federal Skilled Trades Programme is now accepting applications which are set to total 3,000 in 2103. The new programme has been launched to address serious labour shortages that some regions of the country are facing and make the immigration system faster and more flexible.
In its first year the programme will accept applications from up to 3,000 people in specific trades on a new occupation list which has been designed to reflect current labour market needs. ‘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 and will help it grow,’ said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
‘Canadian employers have long been asking for ways to get the skilled trades people they need to meet demands in many industries across the country. We’ve listened to their concerns and created this programme in response,’ he added. In total, there are 43 occupations eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Programme. There will be no limit on 26 in-demand occupations, while 17 occupations will be subject to sub-limits of 100 applications each.
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Trades with no limits include sheet metal workers, welders, electricians, plumbers, gas fitters, aircraft mechanics, crane operators and miners as well as electrical power line and cable workers, telecommunications installation and repair workers and refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics. Those subject to limits include carpenters, supervisors in the logging, forestry, mining and quarrying sectors, power engineers, water and waste treatment plant operators, farm supervisors together with specialised livestock workers and supervisors in the oil and gas industry.
Applications are expected to be processed within 12 months and in addition to being qualified for an eligible occupation, Federal Skilled Trades Programme 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. Officials said that this is due to the overall importance of language as a determinant of immigrant success and general health and safety reasons. CLB 4 is considered basic proficiency while those with CLB 5 can more effectively participate in and understand routine conversations.
Other criteria include a valid offer of employment in Canada or a certificate of qualification from a province or territory in a qualifying skilled trade; 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, with the exception of licensing requirements, which are addressed separately.
‘The Federal Skilled Trades Programme is yet another tool in the Canadian employer’s toolkit to find the workers they need to build Canada’s future economy,’ explained Kenney, ‘This new programme, along with all other changes we are introducing, will help us move towards an immigration system that better supports Canada’s economic growth and long term prosperity’ he added.