Foreign trained air traffic controllers have an opportunity to gain their permanent residence in Canada through occupation-targeted Express Entry system draws, with thousands of Canada jobs in the field expected to come available in the next nine years.
“For transportation officers and controllers, over the period 2022-2031, new job openings arising from expansion demand and replacement demand are expected to total 17,100, while 11,100 new job seekers arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility are expected to be available to fill them,” notes Job Bank, the federal job-hunting and career-planning website.
“With the quick post-pandemic demand recovery for this occupational group, the projected number of job openings is expected to substantially surpass the projected number of job seekers, significantly enough to not only eliminate the temporary surplus situation seen over the 2019-2021 period, but to also turn it around to a shortage situation over the 2022-2031 period.”
That’s a shortfall of 6,000 jobs foreign nationals can apply to get and so qualify for permanent residence to Canada under Express Entry draws.
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 air traffic controllers, it opened the door to a new pathway to immigration for them.
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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 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.
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Air traffic controllers, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 72601, direct air traffic within assigned airspace, and control moving aircraft and service vehicles at airports.
The Job Bank federal job-hunting and career-planning website gives a ranking of good for the job prospects of these workers in the Yukon, British Columbia, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador over the next three years.
The median hourly wage for air traffic controllers in Canada is $45 but that varies from a low of $20.60 right up to $85, reveals Job Bank.
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Based on a standard, 37.5-hour work week, that means air traffic controllers can expect to earn up to $165,750 per year in Canada.
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.
Immigration Seen As Vital To Resolve Looming Air Traffic Controller Labour Shortages
“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.
“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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