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CANADA: The Federal Skilled Trades Program—Expedited Immigration Processing

The government of Canada launched the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) in January 2013 to facilitate the immigration of skilled tradespeople who meet Canada's current and evolving trade needs. Applicants are assessed on relevant criteria such as language ability, practical training, and work experience, rather than on formal academic education.

The FSTP was also created in response to requests from Canadian employers for skilled workers to fill labor shortages, particularly in the natural resources and construction sectors. Eligible applicants include carpenters, plumbers, contractors and supervisors of electrical trades, construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers, supervisors of logging and forestry or mining and quarrying, contractors and supervisors of oil and gas drilling services, and logging machinery operators, among various other trades.

To attract and retain qualified, in-demand candidates, Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) goal is to process applications in this category as quickly as possible. Current processing time for FSTP applications is three to four months. While this outcome is excellent for Canada's trade industry, it is unfortunate that business owners and skilled, top-tier management employees essential to some of the largest companies in Canada continue to await receipt of permanent residence in queues of up to three years.

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