Monday, October 2, 2023

Immigration program expansion provides new path to permanent residency for foreign nationals in transportation and logistics

What is the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

by Mabel Kyei and Ralitsa Harding

Miller Thomson LLP 

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (“FSWP”) is a stream under Canada’s Express Entry system for workers with foreign experience and skills to immigrate to Canada and obtain Permanent Resident (“PR”) status. Express Entry is a points-based system that regularly invites registered candidates to apply for PR in Canada.

The government typically holds Express Entry draws bi-weekly. Candidates with the highest scores receive an initiation to apply for PR, making them one step closer to becoming a PR of Canada, and ultimately closer to citizenship.

FSWP expands to include occupations in the transportation & logistics industry

On November 16, 2022, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) added 16 new eligible occupations under the FSWP. The 16 new National Occupation Classification (“NOC”) codes included: transport truck drivers, bus drivers, and other employees in the travel and logistics sectors.

These changes are expected to be the first steps towards broadening eligibility for PR through Express Entry, and overall changes in the Express Entry system that are anticipated to take place this year, although the Government of Canada has not expressed a timeline or specifics for when we can expect such changes to be implemented.

The list of all 16 new eligible occupations under the FSWP are as follows:

  • NOC 13102 Payroll administrators
  • NOC 33100 Dental assistants and dental laboratory assistants
  • NOC 33102 Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
  • NOC 33103 Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants
  • NOC 43100 Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants
  • NOC 43200 Sheriffs and bailiffs
  • NOC 43201 Correctional service officers
  • NOC 43202 By-law enforcement and other regulatory officers
  • NOC 63211 Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations
  • NOC 73200 Residential and commercial installers and servicers
  • NOC 73202 Pest controllers and fumigators
  • NOC 73209 Other repairers and servicers
  • NOC 73300 Transport truck drivers
  • NOC 73301 Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators
  • NOC 73400 Heavy equipment operators
  • NOC 93200 Aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors

Important! Applicants must still meet program requirements

While the addition of these occupations provides a broader path to PR for individuals with experience in these NOC codes, obtaining an invitation for PR is still not guaranteed. The Express Entry system requires candidates to submit an online profile, and applicants must still qualify for the FSWP by meeting the following general requirements*:

  • At least 1 year of continuous paid skilled work experience in the last 10 years at a job categorized in the NOC system as TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 (including the occupations noted above)
  • Qualifying language test in English or French. Applicants must receive a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (“CLB”) of 7 or higher in all 4 abilities: Reading; Writing; Speaking; and Listening.
  • Proof of funds available to support the principal applicant and dependent family members upon arrival in Canada, as applicable.

Unprecedented! Government invites candidates specifically under the FSWP

On February 1, 2023, Canada held an Express Entry draw for the first time in history, for candidates only under the FSWP. This unique draw indicates that the IRCC may be attempting to fill Canada’s labour market needs with qualified skilled workers (both those within Canada and outside of Canada), and/or responding to the labour shortages faced in many industries in Canada by targeting workers in specific occupations.

What does this mean for the industry?

These changes provide a new path for qualifying skilled workers in the transportation and logistics industry to receive PR in Canada. Particularly for skilled individuals outside of Canada, without a job offer or ties to an employer here, this change provides an opportunity to permanently relocate to Canada on their own accord; this is encouraging news for these skilled workers seeking ways to immigrate and settle in Canada long-term.