The federal government is creating a new program to fast track the admittance of foreign skilled tradespeople, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has announced.
On Jan. 2, 2013 the new Federal Skilled Trades Program will begin accepting applications.
“For too long, Canada’s immigration system has not been open to these in-demand skilled workers,” Mr. Kenney said.”The new Skilled Trades Stream will help address serious labour shortages in some regions of the country, and support economic growth.”
Eligible occupations will include electricians, welders, heavy-duty equipment mechanics, and pipefitters, among others.
The immigration minister said the measure will help Canada create a faster and more flexible immigration system.
To qualify, applicants will need to already have a job offer or be pre-qualified by a province or territory. They’ll also have to meet language requirements and have a minimum of two years of work experience in a skilled trade.
In order to avoid backlogs, Citizenship and Immigration is limiting applications in the program’s first year to 3,000.
The need for skilled tradespeople is particularly acute in Alberta; it’s estimated the province will need 115,000 additional workers in skilled trades over the next 10 years.