Skilled immigrants to be fast-tracked

Ottawa looks at changing immigration rules to meet the demand for skilled labour
||Last Updated: 04/08/2003

Employers will see a reduction in the red tape that now slows the entrance of much needed skilled workers, if proposed federal immigration changes go through.

The new rules would fast-track temporary workers into Canada, who have skills in certain trades such as high-tech and construction.

The new program would expand on the fast-tracking which has been done for high-tech sector workers during the past few years. Other areas experiencing extreme labour shortages are now being considered for fast-tracking. Engineering, truck transporation and food services and accommodations are other sectors which may be looked at.

In an interview with

The Toronto Star

, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan said this is a new way to use immigration to tackle the labour shortage. Rather than trying to fill individual requests for workers, allowing immigration in bulk according to industry will help businesses more effectively deal with labour shortages. She said the government is listening to corporate Canada to identify the industries which have the highest need for employees.

Currently, it can take more than two years for a skilled worker to come to Canada through normal channels. The new program would allow temp workers into the country in a matter of days or weeks.

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