Canada’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has officially announced the opening of a new stream of immigration specifically for skilled trade workers.
Starting from January of 2013, the government will begin accepting immigration applications from up to 3,000 skilled trades people like electricians and welders, who are in high-demand in Canada’s booming economy today. They will need to have at least two years’ experience and provide either proof of a job offer in the country, or provincial certification in their trade in order to qualify for the program.
Formerly, skilled trade’s workers had to apply for immigration through the skilled worker program, which is not designed to favour the trades, but instead to favour formal education and language skills. New applicants will only need to prove a basic efficiency in one of Canada’s two official languages.
“[W]e are lowering the language benchmark for tradesmen to a basic level, enough so they can safely work in the Canadian environment and have enough English or French to integrate but we do not require high levels of proficiency in this program,” said Kenney upon announcing the new program.
Though Canada has accepted upwards of 60,000 skilled workers each year of late, only approximately 3 percent of those workers enter the skilled trades. Kenney says more needs to be done at the provincial government level as well as at the level of employers, in offering more vocational training and apprenticeships to help newcomers gain their license.
“(The) Construction Sector Council says that we’re going to need some 320,000 new workers by 2020 just to replace those that will be retiring in the intervening period and to keep pace with the high demand our industry currently is seeing,” said the Canadian Construction Association’s Michael Atkinson. “So the measures being announced (Monday), we couldn’t welcome with greater anticipation and greater excitement.”
Source: Vancouver Sun