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Transitioning from Semi-Skilled Worker Status to Canadian Permanent Residency

Recruitment Day
Recruitment Day (Photo credit: Middle Island Fire Department)
By David Cohen
Over 300,000 temporary foreign workers currently reside in Canada. They perform vital jobs in a wide array of professions and skill levels. Economic prosperity in Canada is increasingly dependent on workers who perform ‘semi-skilled’ occupations. These workers can be found in a range of key sectors, including but not limited to trucking, hospitality, construction, and manufacturing.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), semi-skilled work requires a secondary-school level of education, and/or on the job training in order to perform. However, it does not necessarily require post-secondary education. Semi-skilled occupations are classified as ‘C’ level in Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC), which organizes Canadian jobs according to their industry and the level of skill required to perform them. In addition to semi-skilled (NOC ‘C’ level) jobs, there are skilled jobs (NOCs A and B levels) and managerial jobs (NOC 0 level). Below semi-skilled are unskilled jobs, which are classified as NOC level D.
Most economically-driven Canadian immigration programs require workers to have experience in a ‘skilled’ job (NOC 0, A, or B levels). However, semi-skilled workers already in Canada may have a number of immigration options available to them, should they choose to pursue a Permanent Residency application.
In this article, the first in a two-part series, CIC News will explore the various programs that offer permanent residency options to semi-skilled (and sometimes unskilled) workers:
Options for Semi-Skilled Workers
All economic immigration programs with semi-skilled worker streams come under the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). These programs are tailored to suit the labour needs of individual provinces. As such, no two are exactly the same. Interested applicants are encouraged to research what sort of regulations and requirements a program needs before applying.
In this article, CIC News will briefly outline five PNPs that include a semi-skilled worker component. In the next mid-month newsletter, we will explore the final five PNPs. Be aware that applicants to all PNP programs now require applicants to meet meet minimum language requirements in either English or French:
Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP):
  • Employer Driven Stream/Semi-Skilled Worker Category
    • Semi-skilled workers in the following five industries may be eligible to apply to this stream: Food and Beverage Processing, Hotel and Lodging, Manufacturing, Trucking, Foodservice.
    • An unlimited amount of candidates in the fields of front desk/clerk, room attendant, food and beverage processors, heavy haul truckers of all types, and food services will be accepted by the program until November 28th, 2013.
    • Applicants must be currently living in Alberta and working in the province for at least six months. Minimum total work experience in the field ranges from 6 months (trucking) to three years (food and beverage).
    • English language requirements for semi-skilled workers applying through the AINP program are less stringent than requirements for skilled workers
  • Strategic Recruitment Stream/Compulsory and Optional Trades Category
  • Long Haul Truck Driver Stream
    • Truck drivers must be working in the industry in Saskatchewan for a minimum of 6 months, and have a total of 2 years of experience. They must have an eligible job offer from an employer in the field.
    • They must possess Saskatchewan Class 1A license and be able to drive to the United States.
  • Hospitality Sector Pilot Project
    • Food/Beverage Servers, Food Counter Attendant/Kitchen Helpers, and Housekeeping/Cleaning Staff may be eligible under this stream
    • Applicants must be living in Saskatchewan and must have worked for at least 6 months in one of the above industries.
  • Strategic Occupations Stream/Entry-Level and Semi-Skilled Worker Category
    • Semi-skilled workers in the following three industries may be eligible to apply to this stream: Tourism and Hospitality, Long-Haul Trucking, and Food Processing.
    • Both semi-skilled and unskilled (NOC levels C and D) workers may be eligible to apply provided they are living and working in Northeastern British Columbia. This is provided as part of the Northeast Pilot Project.
  • Skilled Worker Applicants with Employer Support Stream
    • Workers in occupations at NOC C and D levels in the following industries may be eligible for this program: business, health, sales, trades/transportation, natural resources, and manufacturing. They must have been working for more than a year with their New Brunswickemployer. They must also receive an eligible job offer from the employer.
    • Applications to this program are assessed on a points scale. Applicants must meet the 50 point mark to qualify for the program. Points are allocated on the basis of age, education, work experience, language ability and overall adaptability.
  • Employer Direct Stream
    • NOC C and D level workers may be eligible for this program provided that they have been living and working in Manitoba for 6 months prior to submission of their application. They must hold an eligible job offer from a Manitoba employer.
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