Press Room

New Federal Skilled Worker Program Aims to Increase Immigration of Skilled Tradespersons

In order to address Canada’s growing skilled labour shortages in construction, natural resources and similar industries, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced that it intends to create a new “Skilled Trades” stream within the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program to make it easier for skilled tradespersons to immigrate to Canada.

Currently, all FSW applicants are assessed on the basis of a points system taking into account the candidate’s official language ability, education, work experience, age, whether they have arranged employment in Canada, and their overall adaptability to living in Canada (based on factors such as previous work or study in Canada, arranged employment, and relatives in Canada). Some of these criteria, such as years of education, favour professional and similar occupations more than skilled trades. As a result, skilled tradespersons make up only 3 per cent of all FSWs entering Canada, according to CIC data.

According to Minister Kenney, the proposed new Skilled Trades program would “create a means for skilled tradespersons to be assessed based on criteria geared towards their reality, putting more emphasis on practical training and work experience rather than formal education.” Applicants will, however, still need to meet minimum language requirements.

The Minister has indicated that he will announce further details on the new Skilled Trades program and other changes to the FSW Program later in the year.

For further information on CIC’s proposed new Skilled Trades program, or with respect to the FSW program generally, please contact the immigration law specialists at Green and Spiegel LLP.