First Immigrants Under New Federal Skilled Trades Program
By A Correspondent
Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander on August 16 officially welcomed one of the first permanent residents under the new Federal Skilled Trades Program: Eric Byrne, originally from Ireland.
“Our Government remains focused on job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Alexander. “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.”
Eric 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 Eric 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 the same time today 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.
“The new Federal Skilled Trades Program is a significant improvement to Canada’s immigration system which, for too long, had not been open to in-demand skilled workers,” said Minister Kenney. “Immigrants like Paul are set for success and I am pleased that this new Program will enable him, and others like him, to contribute skills to our economy on a permanent basis.”
“Relocating to Canada was the right decision for me, both personally and professionally,” said Paul 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 Government of Canada launched the Federal Skilled Trades Program in January 2013 to facilitate the immigration of skilled tradespeople who meet Canada’s current and evolving economic needs. Skilled tradespeople are assessed on relevant criteria, such as language ability, practical training and work experience rather than formal academic education. The Program was also 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. Eric Byrne’s application was processed in only three months, while Paul Lyttle’s was finalized in four months.
“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 Mr. Michael Atkinson, President of the Canadian Construction Association. “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.”
The Federal Skilled Trades Program, along with other recent transformational changes to economic immigration programs, supports Economic Action Plan 2013 by building a fast and flexible immigration system focused on Canada’s economic and labour market needs.