A Race to Get Skilled Workers: Canada Pulls Ahead


Paul Thomas is a mechanic previously working in Atlanta and Georgia. When business slowed at the Atlanta dealership where he worked, his annual income dropped from 100,000 dollars per year to $40,000 dollars per year. As a result, he filed for bankruptcy and his house was in foreclosure. His situation became increasingly grimmer as other jobs were hard to find.

However, everything changed for Thomas when he received a call last year from a recruiter regarding a position as a mechanic in British Columbia. Thomas also received an email from the recruiter with more information regarding the company and the city of Prince George in the form of video links. The dealership paid for Thomas to visit the area, and was soon hired under the Skilled Worker Program and had a work permit in only a month. Thomas and his wife were very excited for the new opportunity and the special treatment they felt in being recruited and catered to. Thomas’ new Canadian contract paid up to $100,000 a year and with government-provided health care the offer was complete.

Like Paul Thomas, Canada working to cater to plumbers, pipefitters, electricians and other skilled workers from the USA and other countries around the world. Specific trades are being targeted by the Federal and Provincial Governments in order to combat labour shortages while easing the path to residency. According to Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, the country is trying “to build a fast and flexible immigration system that is responsive to the needs of Canada’s economy.”

Why is Canada taking such a charge on recruiting skilled workers? Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland explains that, “it is a global competition and Canada’s design will lead to success perhaps at the expense of other countries like the U.S.” Canada itself is geographically imbalanced in terms of it’s’ labour market and unemployment rates. Although the Government has been promoting internal immigration, it has experienced little success. The Western Provinces experience unemployment rates below the Country’s average of 7.2%, with the Ontario and Eastern Provinces experiencing above-average unemployment rates, and in Newfoundland and Labrador suffering from unemployment rates as high as 12.3%. The Skilled Immigrant program is designed to fill the labour gap and ensure needed services are available to Canadians.

Canada has one of the highest immigration rates in the world, and has 250,000 new permanent residents each year. The U.S. is the 4th largest source of immigrants following the Philippines, China and India. Any immigrants looking to participate in the Skilled Trade program or any other immigration program to Canada must be proficient in basic English or French.

What can the U.S. do to keep up? The country is currently exploring the idea of granting permanent legal status to individuals who have a graduate degree in science or technology from a U.S. university. Additionally, technology companies are pushing for the number of temporary H-1B visas to be increased from the present cap of 65,000 to 100,000, with an added 25,000 available for those with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. Amendments to the legislation are scheduled to start May 9th by the Senate Judiciary Committee in order to improve the U.S.’s standing in international immigration.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more updates and tips on Canadian immigration, visit www.canadianimmigration.net. Don’t forget to like FWCanada on Facebook and follow the firm on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *