Immigrate To Canada As A Welder Or Machine Operator: All You Need To Know

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Immigrate To Canada As A Welder Or Machine Operator: All You Need To Know
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The shortage of welders for Canada jobs is so severe it could become a crisis for the industry, says a welding industry organization that provides certification, management systems registration and training.

“The Canadian welding industry is experiencing a shortage of welding professionals in several provinces and sectors due in significant part to an aging Canadian population, a lack of young people being attracted to the skilled trades and the reduced focus on skilled trades training in secondary and post-secondary institutions,” reports the CWB Group.

“If this shortage is not quickly addressed, it may inevitably lead to a crisis in the industry and its ability to be globally competitive in the future.”

With labour market surveys revealing there is likely to be strong growth in the welding sector in Canada over the next few years, that demand for welders is going to present opportunities for skilled foreign workers who want to immigrate here under economic programs.

“Shipbuilding, oil and gas, manufacturing and many other sectors are facing recruitment challenges – skills gaps and skills shortages – including a need to replace 20 – 30 per cent of their workforce through retirement over the next 10 years,” notes CWB Group.


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Job Bank, the federal government’s job-hunting and career-planning website, is forecasting a shortfall of roughly 900 welders in Canada over the coming eight years.

“For welders and related machine operators, over the period 2022-2031, new job openings arising from expansion demand and replacement demand are expected to total 17,700, while 16,800 new job seekers rising from school leavers, immigration and mobility are expected to be available to fill them,” states Job Bank.


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Prospects for welders are forecast to be particularly good in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan during that time period.

The Job Bank website already had 827 job postings for welders in early July and that means opportunities for foreign nationals hoping to get their permanent residence here through Express Entry occupation-targeted draws.

Welders Can Now Immigrate To Canada Under Express Entry Programs

Under changes announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) 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) will now be more responsive to labour market needs through occupation-targeted draws.

“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

“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.”


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Welders and related machine operators, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 72106, is one of the 82 occupational groups that will now be targeted under these new Express Entry draws.

That opens up opportunities for foreign nationals to immigrate to Canada through the Express Entry system if they can land any of the jobs available for welders and related machine operators in Canada.

In Canada, the median hourly wage for these jobs is $26 but that varies from a low of $19 per hour right up to $42 per hour, reveals Job Bank.

Based on a standard 37.5-hour work week, that would be $81,900 at the upper end of the annual wage scale for welders and related machine operators.

Provincial Nominee Programs Have Been Issuing Occupation-Specific Draws For Years

Until this year, the flagship Express Entry selection system has previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.

Candidates will 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.

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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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.