Tue | Aug 11, 2020

Immigration Corner | Tradesmen are welcomed in Canada

Published:Tuesday | August 20, 2019 | 12:25 AM
Deidre S. Powell
Deidre S. Powell

Dear Miss Powell,

I’m a hard working tradesman and I keep hearing about people going to work and live in Canada. However, every time I talk to people, they say trades people are not welcome as Canada is only looking for bright people. My aunty keeps complaining that she can’t find a good plumber there and she wishes she could sponsor me as she knows many of her church sister could use the help. If workers are short, how come I keep hearing that people can’t get through? Do they really don’t want a tradesman like me. I have a few CXC and a whole heap of experience. Tell me what to do, please.


Dear Tony,

Tradesmen are welcomed to come to Canada. There is indeed a shortage of skilled trade workers in Canada. Therefore, the Government of Canada has an immigration category known as the Federal Skilled Trade Programme (FSTP). The FSTP is for applicants with experience in a skilled trade. Individuals are selected based on factors such as age, language ability, education and their general adaptability or ability to settle in Canada and to make a contribution to the economy.

The FSTP, just like the Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP), is one of the economic immigration programmes that is managed by the express entry system. It is a points-based system and very competitive. Your goal therefore is to score as many points to be eligible.

From time to time the government select individuals based on the need of the labour market. Consequently, the first step for anyone who is interested in being selected is to ensure that they can satisfy the requirements to be admitted into the pool of eligible applicants. Once in the pool of applicants, the Government of Canada and the provinces can be aware of your skill and you can have an opportunity to be selected.


Eligibility under the Federal Skilled Trades (FST) Class is assessed based on the number of points that individuals are able to score in order to enter the pool. So, applicants are required to be able to clearly demonstrate that they have the language ability, work experience, education, financial resources, among other factors in order to qualify. I will highlight the most challenging factors on the list.

Language Competence

I cannot emphasise how important it is to be able to get the maximum scores under this category. All economic immigrants must be able to clearly demonstrate their language ability in order to successfully immigrate to Canada.

Applicants are expected to provide evidence of language proficiency in at least one of Canada's two official languages, French and English. Your points can double if you can pass both approved tests from English and French.

The approved language tests for English are the IELTS, General Training and the CELPIP General examinations. These test results are valid for two years. Individuals are expected to demonstrate that they have the minimum required Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) standard for each language. The CLB is a descriptive scale of language ability that evaluates an individual’s ability to understand and communicate effectively in a particular language.

The various tests will evaluate an applicant’s reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. The minimum acceptable grade score for FSTP is CLB 5 for speaking and listening, and CLB 4 for reading and writing. Recently, the rules have been changed so that applicants can now also earn up to 30 additional points for strong French language skills, even if French is your second language. If you score NCLC 7 or higher on all four categories of reading, writing, listening and speaking in the French language skills, you can get 15 additional points, even if you scored CLB 4 or lower in English and even if you did not take an English test. Additionally, you can get 30 additional points if you scored CLB 5 or higher on all four English skills.

Sometimes navigating these rules can be challenging and therefore I strongly recommend that you consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to ensure that you are able to maximise your points.

Work Experience and Education

An applicant must clearly demonstrate that they have a minimum of 24 months of work experience in the last five years in the skilled trade, after trade qualification. Employment needs to be continuous and full time or equal amount of part-time employment.

The critical thing to note is that under the FSTP, the work experience should fall under one of the groups of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) that is specified by the Canadian government. These groups are:

• Major Group 72, industrial, electrical and construction trades

• Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades

• Major Group 82, supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production

• Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators

• Minor Group 632, chefs and cooks

• Minor Group 633, butchers and bakers

This amounts to a total of over 90 different occupations. These major NOC groups are further subdivided into different occupations, and they are all skill type B, which are eligible under the FSTP.

Plumbers fall under Major group 72 and include maintenance plumber, plumber, plumber apprentice and plumbing mechanic.

You will need to clearly demonstrate that you have completed the minimum of the equivalent of a Canadian secondary school. Therefore, you will need to get an educational credential assessment report from one of the approved organisations. You said you have a few CXC subjects. That’s great, you will need to get those assessed to satisfy the minimum educational requirement.

Where did you learn to be a plumber? You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have completed a four- to five-year apprenticeship programme or a combination of over five years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses in plumbing is usually required to be eligible for trade certification.

Some additional information you should note is that persons have applied directly to provinces to get a provincial nominee to boost the number of points they have to enter the express entry pool. Most of the provinces require that you get certified in order to apply. Trade certification is compulsory in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Other provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, British Columbia, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not require certification, although it is recommended in order to get the extra points and to be competitive. Some applicants go as far as getting a Red Seal endorsement upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.

To find out if you are eligible for the latest FST, FSWP, Provincial Nominee Programme, Canadian Experience Class or any other immigration programmes, please contact a Canadian immigration lawyer.

Deidre S. Powell is a Canadian Immigration Lawyer. Submit your questions and comments to: Email:info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration. Tel: 613-695-8777. www.deidrepowell.com Follow her on facebook, Instagram and twitter for the latest news and tips on how to come to Canada.