11 September 2012

Construction industry praises Canada visa changes

A spokesperson for the Canadian Construction Association has said recent changes to the Canadian immigration and visa processes will benefit the industry.

Canada visa

The new Canada visa system allows for more skilled workers to move to Canada.

Canadian immigration officials have been releasing information in recent weeks detailing how the new Foreign Skilled Worker Program will work. While further details are still to be released, the new system will prioritise English or French speaking, younger workers with adaptable skills.

"It looks like a step in the right direction and we're certainly thrilled to see how quickly the government has acted upon the announced reforms," said Michael Atkinson, president of the Canadian Construction Association (CCA).

As part of the changes, a new Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) program has been created which will assess workers' qualifications and experience as well as offers of employment, which need to be for at least one year to be eligible.

The occupations in the FSTC will be those categorised as National Occupational Classification (NOC) B which include industrial occupations, electrical and construction trades.

Mr Atkinson says he expects more to be done in the future to attract skilled workers to Canada but is happy with the current changes for now.

"Our needs go beyond simply NOC B, but this is a great start, a very positive moment and it's great to see that the government not only listens but is respondent."

Criticism of previous Canadian immigration policy has often been centred on its prioritisation of educated migrants over skilled, making skilled migrants account for just a fraction of the annual intake.

"One of the things that we've been saying to the government all along was that the current points system was not construction trades friendly, they've made that adjustment," said Mr Atkinson.

"We've also said that we felt that experience and having job offers should be a much bigger consideration than post-secondary education."

The new system rewards applicants aged between 18 and 35, another change which has pleased the CCA.

"You're talking about building a future workforce, not just for projects in front of you that year, but forever.

"It makes some sense that somebody that's younger is more apt to be building a career in construction, rather than an older worker."

The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people make their application to the Canadian Embassy.

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