Last week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held its inaugural Express Entry draw based on the transportation sector. This marks another significant stride as Canada works to bridge gaps and shortages in its national labor market.
Eligible Occupations in the Transport Category
Under the Express Entry system, the Transport occupation category includes the following 10 occupations:
- Managers in transportation
- Air pilots, flight engineers, and flying instructors
- Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
- Air traffic controllers and related occupations
- Deck officers, water transport
- Engineer officers, water transport
- Railway traffic controllers and marine traffic regulators
- Transport truck drivers
- Aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors
- Railway car men/women
Why Canada Choose Transport Occupations for the Express Entry Category
The six categories selected for Express Entry category-based selection consist of occupations chosen strategically to address substantial labor shortages within the Canadian job market.
This decision-making process also included consultations by IRCC with government partners, provincial and territorial governments, and other key national stakeholders.
During these consultations, approximately 16% of respondents identified ‘trades, transport, and equipment operations and related occupations’ as the sector with the most pressing needs.
Pathways for Transport Workers to Immigrate to Canada
Provincial Nominee Program – PNP
The provincial and territorial governments administer Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) in 11 of Canada’s 13 regions (excluding Quebec and Nunavut). Transport workers seeking immigration to Canada have additional options, including the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).
These programs empower provinces and territories to select skilled workers they believe can effectively address local labor market shortages. Once chosen, these individuals receive invitations to immigrate to the respective province or territory through the local government.
For individuals in the transport occupations sector, applying through a program operated in a region with a substantial labor gap in the transport industry can significantly enhance their chances of being selected for immigration to Canada.
Regular Express Entry Draws
While category-based draws offer a specific pathway for individuals with experience in transport occupations to immigrate to Canada, they can also pursue Canadian immigration through standard Express Entry draws.
These draws prioritize a candidate’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score rather than work experience. They assess immigration applications from three economic immigration programs:
- The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
To explore Canadian immigration through Express Entry, prospective candidates must determine if they are eligible for one of the programs above.
Once eligible, candidates can create a profile on the IRCC website and await a decision.
In “standard” Express Entry draws, a points-based system ranks profiles against each other. It assigns a score and ranks each profile alongside others in the pool.
Candidates whose CRS score exceeds the draw cut-off will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) during a standard Express Entry draw. This ITA enables recipients to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
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Quebec Immigration Programs
Quebec offers several attractive immigration pathways for transport workers looking to settle in Canada’s predominantly French-speaking province.
These pathways include the Quebec Regular Skilled Workers Program (QSWP) and the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ).
In summary, the QSWP allows immigration candidates interested in residing anywhere in Quebec to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form through an online portal. Similar to the Canadian federal government’s Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) regularly selects individuals from the QSWP candidate pool and invites them to apply for permanent residence in Quebec.
On the other hand, the PEQ offers a streamlined route for foreign graduates (from a post-secondary institution in Quebec) and individuals with work experience in Quebec to obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate. This certificate is a prerequisite for permanent residence in the province.
Other Federal and Provincial Immigration Options
The Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) aims to promote immigration to the four provinces constituting “Atlantic Canada,” namely Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. In essence, the AIP facilitates local employers in finding foreign talent to address their labor market shortages. Simultaneously, it aids newcomers in their transition to life in Canada by providing them with a structured settlement plan upon arrival.
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is a community-driven immigration initiative currently involving 11 participating communities across Canada. This immigration program empowers these communities to lead in attracting new immigrants. Matching them with local job opportunities, fostering welcoming environments, and connecting newcomers with established community members and local settlement services.