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Building an Immigration System that Works for Canada

New Federal Skilled Trades Stream to Begin Accepting Applications on January 2, 2013

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 12/10/12 -- To address Canada's growing demand for skilled tradespersons, a new Federal Skilled Trades Program is being launched on January 2, 2013, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

"The new Skilled Trades Stream will help address serious labour shortages in some regions of the country, and support economic growth," Minister Kenney said. "For too long, Canada's immigration system has not been open to these in-demand skilled workers. These changes are long overdue and will help us move to a fast and flexible immigration system that works for Canada's economy."

The program criteria are built around four requirements that ensure applicants will have the right skills and experience needed to succeed here in Canada. In order to qualify, applicants will need to:

1.  have an offer of employment in Canada or a certificate of qualification
    from a province or territory to ensure that applicants are "job ready"
    upon arrival; 
2.  meet a basic language requirement; 
3.  have a minimum of two years of work experience as a skilled
    tradesperson, to ensure that the applicant has recent and relevant
    practice as a qualified journeyman; and 
4.  have the skills and experience that match those set out in the National
    Occupational Classification (NOC B) system, showing that they have
    performed the essential duties of the occupation. 

In order to manage intake, avoid backlogs and ensure fast processing times, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will accept up to a maximum of 3,000 applications in the first year of the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Minister Kenney was joined at today's announcement by Michael Atkinson, President of the Canadian Construction Association. "The introduction of a dedicated and streamlined program for skilled trades addresses many of the shortcomings from the current Federal Skilled Worker Program," said Michael Atkinson. "The new program ensures greater consideration is given to the needs of industry when processing eligible immigration applications."

"Ensuring Canada's immigration system works for small employers in need of skilled trades' people has been a concern for some time," said Dan Kelly, President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. "With the shortage of qualified labour in many parts of Canada growing once again, the launch of the Skilled Trades immigration stream is very welcome news."

Eligible occupations will include electricians, welders, heavy-duty equipment mechanics, and pipefitters, among others. CIC is currently working with the provinces, territories and federal government partners on the list of skilled trades' occupations that are experiencing acute labour shortages and which will qualify under the program. This list will be announced prior to the program opening on January 2, 2013.

The Federal Skilled Trades Program will complement other avenues already in place for skilled tradespersons to immigrate to Canada, such as the Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Programs.

"As promised in Economic Action Plan 2012, we are creating a new immigration stream to facilitate entry of skilled tradespersons," added Minister Kenney. "The Federal Skilled Trades Program will help transform Canada's immigration system into a fast and flexible system focused on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity."

Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CitImmCanada.

Photo of Minister Kenney will be available later today at: www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/high-res/index.asp.

Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada's economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.

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