On December 10, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced that a new Federal Skilled Trades Program is going to be launched on January 2, 2013.
Aimed at addressing a labour shortage amongst skilled trades in Canada, this program will facilitate the entry of individuals with training and experience as electricians, welders, heavy-duty equipment mechanics and pipefitters, amongst others. A complete list of eligible occupations is being compiled in consultation with the provinces and territories of Canada, and is expected to be released before the program becomes operational.
Generally, to qualify under the newly created Federal Skilled Trades Program, applicants will need to:
- Either have received an offer of employment in Canada, or have their credentials pre-assessed by a Canadian province or territory;
- Meet basic language requirements;
- Have at last 2 years of work experience as a skilled tradesperson; and
- Possess the skills and experience aligned with a “Skill Level B” occupation of the National Occupational Classification System (these occupations usually require a college education or apprenticeship training).
To ensure the efficient processing of this new initiative, the program will be capped at a maximum of 3,000 applications in 2013.
As noted by Minister Kenney at the press conference announcing this initiative, this new dedicated stream for skilled tradespeople is just part of the government’s overall Economic Action Plan 2012. Therefore, more changes to Canada’s economic immigration streams can be expected in the upcoming year.