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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott


New Federal Skilled Trades Program:
Open to applications

On the same day I completed my past article the federal Minister announced yet another change to skilled immigration. I did not realize how prophetic my words of warning would be about changes in 2013. On January 2, 2013, federal immigration announced that the New Federal Skilled Trades Program is open for business and accepting applications. It is good to know that there is another way for skilled immigration but we should put this announcement into some context and describe who is eligible to apply.

First, the old Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), which I wrote about in several articles, is being replaced by a new “improved” (in the words of Minister Kenny) FSWP in 2013. The reader should understand that the old FSWP was much broader than anything proposed or implemented by immigration Minister Jason Kenny. The old skilled worker program attracted a great deal of application activity. In point of fact, there was a backlog of applications in the hundreds of thousands, which the Minister addressed by returning most of the applications in 2012. In terms of new applications, the FSWP was gradually reduced to 20,000 total applications in 2010 down to 10,000 in 2011, and finally down to zero in 2012 when Minister Kenny decided to freeze the program. The Minister also changed the program by introducing eligible occupations by their National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes to a list of 29 occupations with a maximum of 1,000 applications per NOC code in 2010, 500 in 2011 and finally down to zero with the freeze of the program.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program is now back in several incarnations. The new FSWP (by name) will start accepting around 3,000 applications in May 2013. The New Federal Skilled Trades Program is part of wider federal skilled worker immigration. The target numbers are nothing like those seen in the past because the new program is to be limited to 3,000 applications from persons in specific trades. There will be no limit on 26 in-demand occupations, while 17 occupations will be limited to 100 applications each. In total, there are 43 occupations eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the department expects processing to take 12 months.

In order to apply, applicants must: plan to live in a province other than Quebec; meet the required levels of English or French language proficiency with a minimum Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) level of 5 for speaking and listening, and a CLB 4 for reading and writing for English (or equivalent in French); have at least two years full-time (30 hours per week) work experience (or equivalent part-time work experience) in one of the eligible skilled trades within the five years before you apply; meet all job requirements for the skilled trades set out in the NOC; and have an offer of full-time employment, which can be shared between two employers, for a total of at least one year or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a provincial or territorial body.

The list of eligible occupations, corresponding to 2011 NOC codes, is divided into two groups. Group A are occupations with a cap of 100 applications. They include:

  • 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades, and telecommunications;
  • 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; 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.

There is no 100 application cap for the following Group B occupations:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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.

If your occupational category is listed above, you can check the Canadian requirements by searching the National Occupation Classification web site using the specific four digit NOC code listed above. In terms of the application itself, go to the federal immigration web site and access Federal Skilled Trades Class or Permanent Residence – Federal Skilled Trades Class or Document Checklist (MM5750). There is only a limited number of places at this time, so interested persons are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Michael Scott BA (Hon), MA, is a 30-year veteran of Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program who works as an immigration associate with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. He can be reached at 838 Ellice Avenue in Winnipeg, (204) 783-7326 or (204) 227-0292. E-mail:

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