August 28, 2013
Federal Skilled Trades Program welcomes first new residents
The federal government has officially welcomed the first permanent residents under the new Federal Skilled Trades Program.
Until the program was launched, trades workers had to apply through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, which places significant emphasis on post-secondary education and high proficiency in Canada’s official languages.
The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) has said that the program was not trades friendly and the majority of workers had been coming to Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the Provincial Nominee programs.
“From an industry perspective, we are elated that the first ones of what we hope will be many new skilled trade professionals have been admitted to Canada under the Federal Skilled Trades Program,” said CCA president Michael Atkinson.
“This new program responds directly to industry requests for a faster and more effective immigration program focused specifically on skilled trade professionals who are in short supply across Canada.”
Officially launched on Jan. 2, the program will accept up to 3,000 workers in 43 eligible trades.
The system recognizes relevant criteria such as language ability, practical training and work experience rather than formal academic education.
At a recent event in Toronto, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander officially welcomed Eric Byrne, originally from Ireland.
“The new Federal Skilled Trades Program enables us to attract and retain skilled workers — like Eric — so we can address regional labour shortages and strengthen Canada’s economy. It gives me great pleasure to personally welcome one of Canada’s first successful immigrants through our Skilled Trades stream,” said Alexander.
Byrne received his Ontario trades certificate of qualification in May 2012 and currently works as a plumber for University Plumbing and Heating.
He first arrived in Canada through the International Experience Canada program, which provides opportunities for international youth between the ages of 18 and 35 to travel and work in Canada.
“Canada is a great country and the people here have been exceptionally warm and welcoming,” said Byrne.
“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.”
At a recent event in Calgary, Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney welcomed another successful applicant of the Federal Skilled Trades Program.
New permanent resident Paul Lyttle has been working as an electrician for Calgary-based Unitech Electrical Contracting Inc. since June 2012.
“Relocating to Canada was the right decision for me, both personally and professionally,” said Lyttle. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to stay here in Canada permanently and can now start making long-term plans.”
To date, successful applicants under the Federal Skilled Trades Program have originated from different countries including India, Lithuania, Latvia and Germany, in addition to Ireland.
The program was created in response to requests from Canadian employers for skilled workers to fill labour shortages, particularly in the natural resources and construction sectors. In order to attract and retain qualified, in-demand candidates, the goal is to process applications as quickly as possible.
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