If you have a trade, then you have another route into Canada

plumber workingToday the government announced a new program that will be of interest to anyone with a trade (such as electricians, welders, heavy-duty mechanics and pipe-fitters announced thus far).

Beginning in January of next year, Canada will admit 3000 trades people under a new trades scheme aimed at filling labour shortages in all provinces.  Currently, the federal government is in talks with the provinces and I’m certain the list of qualifying trades will increase before the program begins.

How does one qualify for this new program?

Although all the rules have not yet been released, we know that in order to qualify for the program, an applicant will need a job offer in Canada.  Those without a job offer can still qualify for immigration under this program if they hold a “certificate of qualification” in the province or territory in which they wish to work.

Note that those trades with red seals may have an easier time obtaining such a certficate than those without.

In addition, there will be a language requirement, though we don’t know what IELTS score will qualify at this point.  In terms of work experience, the individual will need at least two years experience at the journeyman level (it does not appear that experience gained as an apprentice will count at this point in time).

Finally, the individual must have performed the essential skills and duties of the National Occupation Classification level “B” for their trade.  This is to ensure that – for example – a plumber in a foreign country performs the same duties and has the same skills as a Canadian plumber.

Note that is is not the new “skilled worker program” that is yet to be announced.  This is a new, specialized stream for immigrating apart from the skilled worker program that is scored on a points basis (67 points until it was suspended).

The other important point here is that intake will be limited to 3000 in the first year of the program.  I believe that CIC will be overwhelmed with applications and that 3000 number queue will be filled quickly, perhaps even in the first month or two.

As a result, if you are interested in this program, I suggest you start preparing for it now, even before all the entry rules are known.  For example, you may wish to take the IELTS General exam now, so you’ll be ready to show your abilities in English.  If you want until January to take that test you may be too late to get your application in on time.

As well, you should start researching the trade qualifications in the province or territory in which you wish to live and see about getting a certificate of qualification.  If that’s not possible, start reaching out to employers now for job offers.

Begin gathering evidence of your trade – collect trade certificates, educational transcripts, and letters of reference in preparation.  The more you do now, the less time you’ll waste later when queue starts growing, and with luck you’ll be in that group of 3000 people admitted in the first year of the program.

About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile