Government Welcomes First Skilled Trades Immigrants in Canada

Employment Minister, Jason Kenney, mentioned in a statement that the new system aimed at speeding up the immigration process for tradespeople attempting to come to Canada will solve “acute labour shortages” in the country’s construction sector. He speculated that Canada will be needing hundreds of thousands of construction tradespeople in the next decade, especially in the Alberta oilsands, and the only solution to the problem is to fast track bringing in foreign trades workers such as carpenters, plumbers and electricians.

Kenney mentioned that “we see some of the most acute labour shortages in the construction trades in the Athabasca oilsands region.” He straightforwardly complained that “we simply do not have enough qualified tradespeople in Canada to fill those labour needs.” These remarks were made by the Environment Minister while he was in Calgary on Friday. Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander, also mentioned at a separate occasion that the process of making skilled workers permanent residents in Canadian, under the new federal skilled trades program, shall be fast tracked. Kenny added that “our old immigration system was dysfunctional,” because “it took us sometimes up to 10 years to process an application for someone to immigrate to Canada.”

One of the very first applicants under the reviewed process was an electrician from Ireland, Paul Lyttle, who now works for a Calgary-based company. Lyttle’s application for permanent residency was processed in about three months under the new system. He stated that “now that I’ve gotten my permanent residency, it takes a big weight off my shoulders,” as “I can start looking at my long-term future here.”

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