Six out of every ten immigrant settling in Canada is an economic immigrant i.e. a skilled worker or an entrepreneur. With an ambitious target of more than 1.2 million immigrants by 2023, Canada wants to attract more and more economic immigrants because they are most likely to productively contributed to the Canadian economy after settling in the country.
But who exactly is a skilled worker? It is a common misconception that the phrase ‘skilled worker’ refers to managers, executives, professionals, and other white-collar workers. There’s no doubt that these categories of workers are skilled workers.
However, the definition of skilled workers covers skilled trades workers as well. If you are a skilled trades worker, then it’s important to understand that you are a key component of Canada’s focus on economic immigration.
Canada Needs Skilled Trades Workers Urgently!
Canada is staring at a potential shortage of more than 60,000 skilled trades workers by 2025, and these are very conservative estimates. This means the actual shortage of skilled trades workers can be much higher.
Analysis of 56 trade sectors that are in high demand across the country shows that there is a shortage of around 10,000 skilled trades workers in Canada. When all 250 regulated trades in Canada are considered, then the shortage is likely to be as high as 100,000 skilled trades workers.
Further, around 700,000 trade workers are likely to retire by 2028 and there just aren’t enough native Canadians to step up and replace them in time.
Why Canada Doesn’t Have Skilled Trades Workers?
The artificial and obsolete distinction between blue-collar and white-collar workers is one reason why there aren’t enough skilled trades workers in Canada.
Technology has become an integral part of all jobs and occupations, which means a pipe fitter or electrician needs to be as open to technological innovations, retraining, and upskilling as a systems analyst or database administrator.
Yet, the perception is that being a skilled worker is more respectable and more remunerative than becoming a tradesperson.
But the truth is that being a trades worker is not such a bad deal. Pipefitters and heavy-duty equipment technicians with four years’ certification had a median income of more than $100,000 in 2018. A skilled and qualified electrician can easily earn between $80,000 and $90,000 in a year in Canada.
Another factor that’s very important is the need for upskilling and training of the trade workers. And with trades sectors evolving rapidly, workers will need to be trained and upskilled to adapt and offer quality services. One in every four trades worker in the country, and there are four million of them in Canada, will need upskilling and training over the next five years.
Why Skilled Trades Immigration Will Get a Boost?
It’s basic economics that prices rise when demand exceeds supply, which the shortage of trades workers will mean increase in wages across all trade sectors.
This, in turn, will mean higher costs for housing, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and virtually all sectors of the economy. Even high-end tech industries cannot function without quality electrical, plumbing, or other trades services.
This means shortage of trades workers can result in wage inflation across the economy, which in turn will lead to further inflation and a host of other adverse economic and financial consequences for the country.
Canada Immigration Options for Skilled Trades Workers
There are numerous Federal and PNP immigration programs for skilled workers. However, there is just one federal program trades workers—the Federal Skilled Trades Worker program. The FSTP has an annual target of 3000 visas, of which 600 visas remained unused in 2019.
The pandemic has disrupted immigration, but there’s unlikely to be a sharp surge in entry of skilled trades workers into the country.
Apart from the FSTP, you can explore Express Entry linked PNP streams that cover the FSTP as well. Just as provinces can nominate skilled workers in the Express Entry pool, they can select trades workers candidates as well.
With no FSWP draws, there have been only CEC and PNP draws along with the odd FSTP-only draw under Express Entry.
While there are no trades-specific PNP streams, these may get covered under the In-Demand Occupations streams across different provinces.
If you are a trades worker, then you definitely must explore the possibility of working and settling in Canada through the combination of professional immigration assistance and Canadian immigration programs.