January 2, 2013 – Citizenship and Immigration Canada is now accepting permanent residence applications to the newly developed Federal Skilled Trades Program. Its purpose is to recruit talent to compensate for the shortage of trades people within the Canadian labour market in all provinces except Quebec.
In its first year, 3000 applications will be accepted from 43 different trades. Of these trades, 17 are capped at 100 applications each. The following groups from the National Occupation Classification (NOC), in skill level B, are being accepted:
- industrial, electrical and construction
- maintenance and equipment operation
- supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production
- processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators.
Applicants need minimum language requirements in English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark of 5 for speaking and listening, and 4 for reading and writing. Test results, no more than two years old, can be submitted with the application from either the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program, the International English Language Testing System or the Test d’évaluation de français.
Two years of full time (30 hours per week), paid work experience will be required within the five years preceding the application. These hours may be accumulated through part-time work, however apprenticeships do not qualify. The work must have been in the trade under which the worker is applying, and proof is needed that the applicant was qualified to work in the trade in that country or region.
Each of the 43 occupations being accepted has a description under the NOC, and all employment requirements expressed there must be met.
There are two methods of application; either a full time job offer for a period of one year from one or two employers, or a certificate of qualification for their trade given by a provincial or territorial body.
If applying with a job offer, and not currently working in Canada for the employer providing the job offer, applicants will need their prospective employer to apply for a Labour Market Opinion from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Although licensing requirements are not required to apply under this category if applying with a job offer, workers must satisfy an immigration officer that they can perform the job being offered and that they can meet licensing or certification requirements if the occupation is regulated.
Applicants who wish to apply with a certificate of qualification should contact a provincial or territorial body that governs trades. In Ontario, applicants should contact the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for information on certification in a specific trade.
Proof of funds to support the principal applicant and his or her family is also required upon landing in Canada.
– Written by Richard McKergow, a Paralegal licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and guest author on this site.