Canada Opens Residency Route for Workers with Low Language Proficiency: Skilled Tradespersons to Benefit

Spoken like a true gentleman.

True to his commitment to aggressively compete for the best skilled workers in the world, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced the new Skilled Trades Program designed to meet the demands of Canadian employers and industries for skilled tradespeople.

The occupationslist (below) includes lineman and, with the announcement (plus the guidelines) skilled tradespersons should be able to untie the application knot without having to pay exhorbitant rates. (Of course you can always call us at 02-634-8717).

To push the envelope further, Minister Kenney confirmed those who are the best in their trades could even be less than average in language proficiency. 

This is good news especially for Filipino Overseas Workers in the Middle East, a large number of whom are either undergraduates or high school graduates and therefore would find it difficult to get permanent residency through the Federal Skilled Worker program (FSWP). 

The FSWP gives college graduates advantage over the skilled worker counterparts who are either undergraduates or high school graduates and therefore had less immersion and exposure in speaking, writing reading and listening in English: much less French.

“These long-overdue changes are part of the government’s plan to build a fast and flexible immigration system that is responsive to the needs of Canada’s economy” Minister Kenney said. Definitely when Canadian employers speak, the Immigration Minister listens.

For the program’s first year starting January 2, 2013, Canada “will accept applications from up to 3,000 people in specific trades. See the list of occupations eligible under FSTP. The occupation list was designed to reflect current labour market needs and ensure the program delivers a diverse range of skilled tradespeople to fuel Canada’s economy. Within the 3,000, there will be no limit on 26 in-demand occupations, while 17 occupations will be subject to sub-limits of 100 applications each. In total, there are 43 occupations eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Program. Applications are expected to be processed within 12 months.

Language Proficiency. For health and safety reasons, FSTP applicants must demonstrate only basic language proficiency in either English or French at the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 for speaking and listening, and CLB 4 for reading and writing.

The Minister announced other criteria which include:  a valid offer of employment in Canada or a certificate of qualification from a province or territory in a qualifying skilled trade; at least two years of work experience in the occupation within the last five years; and meeting the employment requirements set out in the National Occupational Classification system, with the exception of licensing requirements, which are addressed separately.

““The Federal Skilled Trades Program is yet another tool in the Canadian employer’s toolkit to find the workers they need to build Canada’s future economy,”” said Minister Kenney. ““This new program, along with all other changes we are introducing, will help us move towards an immigration system that better supports Canada’s economic growth and long-term prosperity.”

Occupations Eligible to Apply for Residency thru Canada’s Federal Skilled Tradespersons Program

(Official announcement from Citizenship and Immigration Canada)

To avoid backlogs and ensure fast processing times, we will accept no more than 3,000 complete federal skilled trade applications to process in the first year (from January 2, 2013 to January 1, 2014).

Within the 3,000 cap, no more than 100 new applications for each job under Group A below will be considered for processing. There is no sub-cap for jobs under Group B.

Group A includes 17 jobs with a moderate labour market need. Group B includes 26 in-demand jobs. In total, 43 jobs will be eligible to apply under the Federal Skilled Trades program in the first year of the program. The specific codes from the 2011 version of the NOC are provided below as you must include this in your application form.

The caps apply whether or not people have a qualifying offer of employment or a certificate of qualification from a provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority.

Applications will be processed in the order we receive them.

Group A – Jobs with sub-caps of 100 applications each (and their corresponding 2011 NOC code)

•   7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations

•   7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades

•   7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers

•   7271 Carpenters

•   7301 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades

•   7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews

•   8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry

•   8221 Supervisors, mining and quarrying

•   8222 Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services

•   8241 Logging machinery operators

•   8252 Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers

•   9211 Supervisors, mineral and metal processing

•   9212 Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities

•   9214 Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing

•   9231 Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing

•   9241 Power engineers and power systems operators

•   9243 Water and waste treatment plant operators


Group B – no sub-caps (2011 NOC code)

•   7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors

•   7233 Sheet metal workers

•   7235 Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters

•   7236 Ironworkers

•   7237 Welders and related machine operators

•   7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)

•   7242 Industrial electricians

•   7243 Power system electricians

•   7244 Electrical power line and cable workers

•   7245 Telecommunications line and cable workers

•   7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers

•   7251 Plumbers

•   7252 Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers

•   7253 Gas fitters

•   7311 Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics

•   7312 Heavy-duty equipment mechanics

•   7313 Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics

•   7314 Railway carmen/women

•   7315 Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors

•   7318 Elevator constructors and mechanics

•   7371 Crane operators

•   7372 Drillers and blasters - surface, mining, quarrying and construction

•   7373 Water well drillers

•   8231 Underground production and development miners

•   8232 Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers

•   9232 Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators


You must complete your applications according to the requirements in place at the time you apply.

Got a question? Let us know - we're here to help.

About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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