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Federal skilled trades program begins accepting applications

On August 18, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) published proposed regulatory amendments (the “Proposed Regulations”) in the Canada Gazette, which (once enacted) would create a Federal Skilled Trades Program (“FSTP”).  On January 2, 2013, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney (the “Immigration Minister”) announced that CIC would begin accepting applications under the FSTP, effective immediately.

Eligible occupations are split into two groups.  Group A includes 17 jobs with a moderate labour market need while Group B includes 26 in-demand jobs.  These occupations are listed below along with the 2011 National Occupational Classification (“NOC”) code:

  1. 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; and
    • 9243 Water and waste treatment plant operators.
  2. 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 car men/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; and
    • 9232 Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators.

To avoid backlogs and ensure fast processing times, CIC has indicated that it will accept no more than 3,000 complete FSTP applications to process in the first year (January 2, 2013 to January 1, 2014).  Within this 3,000 annual cap, no more than 100 new applications for each job listed under Group A will be considered for processing.  However, jobs listed under Group B will not be subject to any job-specific sub-cap.

In addition to falling under one of the above occupations, FSTP applicants are required to satisfy the following four minimum requirements:

  1. The applicant must have a qualifying offer of employment (from up to two employers in Canada) having a collective duration of at least one year, or a certificate of qualification from a provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority.
  2. The applicant must possess language proficiency (in either English or French), as evidenced by a test from a designated language testing organization, establishing that the applicant’s abilities meet the threshold set by the Immigration Minister in all four language abilities (speaking, reading, writing, and listening).  The threshold is Level 5 of the Canadian Language Benchmark (“CLB”) for speaking and listening, and CLB 4 for reading and writing.  CLB 4 is considered basic proficiency while those with CLB 5 can more effectively participate in and understand routine conversations.
  3. The applicant must possess at least twenty-four months of full-time (at least 30 hours per week) work experience (or the equivalent of part-time work experience), after qualification or certification in the country where the work was performed, in the same skilled trade within the last five years.
  4. The Applicant must possess qualifications that satisfy employment requirements as described in the NOC, except for certification and licensing requirements, which are difficult to obtain outside Canada.

Henry Chang
Blaney McMurtry LLP

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Henry J. Chang

Corporate immigration lawyer at Blaney McMurtry LLP
Henry J. Chang is a partner in the business immigration group of Blaney McMurtry LLP. A recognized authority in the field of United States and Canadian immigration law, Mr. Chang lectures extensively on the subject in both the United States and Canada. His written works have appeared in numerous nationally and internationally recognized legal publications, including Immigration Law and Procedure, which has been cited in over 300 federal court decisions. Read more
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