This month Canada officially welcomed its first immigrants through the new Federal Skilled Trades Program.
The new immigration stream, which opened to applications in January of this year, was introduced in hopes of streamlining the process for those whose skills are most desperately needed in Canada – skilled trade workers such as plumbers, electricians and welders.
Formerly, those workers had to apply either through the Canadian Experience Class or the provincial nominee programs, both of which entail requirements that many skilled trade workers may not fulfill, such as having experience working in Canada.
Workers wanting to apply under the new Skilled Trades Program do still have to meet minimum requirements such as having at least two years experience and basic language skills in either English or French. The new program will start off accepting 3,000 applicants per year, though that number may increase if the program is deemed a success.
“Canada is a great country and the people here have been exceptionally warm and welcoming,” said Eric Byrne, a plumber from Ireland who was one of the first successful applicants through the program. “I am very pleased that I qualified for the Federal Skilled Trades Program as it recognizes the value of my skill set and has allowed me to stay in Canada and integrate seamlessly into my new status as a permanent resident.”
Canadian employers are anticipating a shortage of hundreds of thousands of skilled trade workers in the coming years, particularly in the Alberta oil sands regions.