Machine fitters are highly sought-after for Canada jobs, offering opportunities for qualified foreign nationals to gain their permanent residence here through occupation-targeted Express Entry system draws.
In early September, the Indeed.ca job-hunting website had 333 job postings for fitters in Canada.
These are the skilled workers who fit, assemble and build heavy industrial machinery and transportation equipment, including aircraft engines, for industrial machinery and transportation equipment manufacturing companies.
Depending on the exact nature of the position, machine fitters can be hired under several different job titles, including:
- aircraft engine fitter;
- assembly fitter;
- heavy equipment fitter;
- machine builder;
- machine fitter;
- machine tool builder, or;
- mechanical fitter.
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When Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced Canada’s Express Entry system would begin targeting 82 jobs in healthcare, technology, trades, transport and agriculture this summer – including machine fitters – it opened the door to a new pathway to immigration for them.
The flagship Express Entry selection system had previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.
Candidates hoping to immigrate through Express Entry occupation-targeted draws need at least six months of continuous work experience in Canada or abroad within the past three years in one of these occupations to be eligible, experience that can have been gained while working in Canada as temporary foreign workers with a work permits or as an international student with a student visa.
Strong Job Growth Forecast For Machine Fitters In Canada
The Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) lumps in machine fitters, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 72405, with heating, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics as well as elevator constructors and mechanics.
That COPS website makes it clear the demand for machine fitters in Canada is likely to remain strong for many years to come with solid job growth.
“Although the labour shortage conditions seen in recent years were expected to be temporary, the projected number of job seekers is not expected to be large enough to return this occupation to balance conditions over the projection period,” notes the COPS website.
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“As a result, the shortage conditions will become more structural, continuing over the 2022 – 2031 period. Employment growth is projected to be higher than the national average. As a result, job creation will represent about 56 per cent of openings, a proportion that is above the occupations average of 37 per cent of openings.
The Job Bank federal job-hunting and career-planning website pegs the median hourly wage for machine fitters in Canada at $29.44 but that varies from a low of $16.59 right up to $46.20.
Based on a standard, 37.5-hour work week, that means air traffic controllers can expect to earn up to $90,090 per year in Canada.
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Under the changes announced at the end of May, the Express Entry streams, including the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as well as parts of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) are now more responsive to labour market needs.
“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said then-Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
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“These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed. We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labour shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities.”
Canada first signalled its intention to start occupation-specific draws through Express Entry in June last year, when changes were made to the Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act to allow invitations based on occupations and other attributes, such as language ability.
The majority of Canada’s provinces have been issuing occupation-specific invitations for several years.
Under the changes to the act, the immigration minister is required to consult provinces and territories, members of industry, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners, before announcing new categories.
IRCC must also report to parliament each year on the categories that were chosen and the reason for the choices.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) says the number of occupations facing shortages doubled between 2019 and 2021. From 2018 to 2022, federal high skilled admissions accounted for between 34 and 40 per cent of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec, which manages its own immigration intake.
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