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Canada has many opportunities for foreign nationals qualified as industrial and manufacturing engineers to gain their permanent residence here through occupation-targeted Express Entry system draws over the coming nine years.
The Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) is forecasting that there will be 3,800 job openings for industrial and manufacturing engineers across the country over the coming nine years.
While the COPS website is also projecting there will likely be 4,200 job seekers looking for jobs in that field during that time frame, that slightly higher number of new qualified workers than jobs is not considered to be statistically significant.
“As such, the labour shortage conditions seen in recent years will not clear and are expected to persist over the projection period,” notes the COPS website.
Growth and investment in the manufacturing sector, linked to the priority given to productivity by manufacturing firms, is expected to drive job creation from now through to 2031.
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But most of the jobs that will become available will be due to employees leaving the workforce.
“Retirements will represent about 83 per cent of total job openings, a proportion that is higher than the average of all occupations,” notes the COPS website.
In May, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) changed Canada’s Express Entry system to allow it to target 82 jobs in healthcare, technology, trades, transport and agriculture starting this summer – including industrial and manufacturing engineers – and so 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.
“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.”
In late September, there were 186 job postings for industrial and manufacturing engineers on the Indeed.ca job-hunting website.
The federal government’s job-hunting and career-planning website, Job Bank, ranks the job prospects of industrial and manufacturing engineers as very good, its highest rating, in Saskatchewan and Quebec over the next three year and as good in Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba.
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In Canada, the median hourly wage for industrial and manufacturing engineers, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 21321, is $40.87 but that varies from a low of $22 right up to $62.50, reveals Job Bank.
Based on a standard, 37.5-hour work week, that means these workers could expect to earn a top median annual income of $121,875.
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.
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.
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.