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New federal program fast tracking skilled immigrant workers

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August 19, 2013 by STAFF REPORT

Two of Canada’s first permanent residents under the new Federal Skilled Trades Program were introduced on Friday: Eric Byrne and Paul Lyttle, both from Ireland.

The Government of Canada launched the program in January 2013 in response to calls from Canadian employers for skilled workers to fill labour shortages – particularly in the construction and natural resources sectors.

Rather than formal academic education, applicants are assessed on language skills, practical training and work experience. The goal is to speed up the application process: Byrne’s was done in three months, Lyttle’s in four.

“I am very pleased that I qualified for the Federal Skilled Trades Program as it recognizes the value of my skill set and has allowed me to stay in Canada and integrate seamlessly into my new status as a permanent resident,” said Byrne.

Byrne received his Ontario trades certificate of qualification in May 2012 and currently works as a plumber for University Plumbing and Heating.

“Canada is a great country and the people here have been exceptionally warm and welcoming,” he added.

“Relocating to Canada was the right decision for me, both personally and professionally,” said Lyttle, who has been working as an electrician for Calgary-based Unitech Electrical Contracting Inc. since June 2012. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to stay here in Canada permanently and can now start making long-term plans.”

In addition to Ireland, other successful applicants have come from India, Lithuania and Latvia.

“From an industry perspective, we are elated that the first ones of what we hope will be many new skilled trade professionals have been admitted to Canada under the Federal Skilled Trades Program,” said Michael Atkinson, president of the Canadian Construction Association. “This new program responds directly to industry requests for a faster and more effective immigration program focused specifically on skilled trade professionals who are in short supply across Canada.”

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