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Permanent Residency on your Mind? Have you Considered the Trades?

96% of Canadians agree that there is a shortage of skilled trades workers.

Misconceptions and lack of awareness surrounding these fields make it difficult to fill the gaps.

With so many open positions and over 300 types of skilled trades across the country, there are many opportunities to find high-paying positions that will result in a long–term career. In addition, foreign nationals who are skilled trade professionals can become permanent residents in Canada as well.

5 Of the Highest Paying Trades (According to Indeed)

1. NOC 7311: Millwright - $80,306 per year

A millwright is a highly skilled tradesperson who assembles, installs, maintains, repairs, disassembles, and operates various sorts of machinery. Millwrights work in a variety of industries such as manufacturing, mining, foundries, food processing, petroleum processing, and construction.

2. NOC 7252: Pipefitter - $76,491 per year

A pipefitter designs, builds, and installs piping systems that transport water, steam, chemicals, and other fluids or gases. They are a hands-on tradesperson that creates, maintains, and repairs pipe systems used in commercial, industrial, and manufacturing facilities. Pipefitters work for themselves, as contractors, or for companies that provide pipefitting services.

3. NOC 72401: Heavy Equipment Mechanic - $73,618 per year

A heavy equipment mechanic services and repairs heavy machinery used in construction, transportation, mining and quarrying, forestry, and petroleum industries. They deal with electrical, gas, and diesel engines, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, as well as electrical and electronic operations. They also diagnose, troubleshoot, and repair equipment problems and provide maintenance services.

4. NOC 7241: Electrician - $67,909 per year

An electrician is responsible for designing, assembling, repairing, and maintaining electrical wire systems, control panels, electrical fixtures, and other electrically controlled machinery or components. Electricians work in homes, commercial buildings, manufacturing plants, and industrial settings. They can work for themselves, as a contractor or subcontractor, or for a company.

5. NOC 7251: Plumber - $65,234 per year

A plumber is a qualified tradesperson who designs, installs, assembles, and fixes water and waste distribution components. They work for themselves, as contractors, or for companies that provide plumbing services. Plumbers can be found working in various industries, including residential, commercial, and industrial building construction.

With over 700,000 skilled trades workers in Canada set to retire between 2019 and 2028, now is the time to look into this promising field! But, where do you start?

5 of the Top Trade Colleges in Canada


SAIT offers over 30 construction, trades, and apprenticeship programs for students to explore, such as:

  • Automotive Service Technician

  • Baker

  • Electrician

  • Plumber

  • Welder

  • Ironworker

And more!

Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Saskatchewan Polytechnic provides in-school apprenticeship training for 20 trades programs!

Here are a few of the programs they offer:

  • Carpenter

  • Industrial Mechanic (Millwright)

  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic

  • Truck and Transport Mechanic

  • Bricklayer

Nova Scotia Community College

NSCC offers many trade programs in combination with apprenticeships. Taking a program at NCSS may help fast-track your apprenticeship journey because with some programs you receive credit for the theory and practical training you learn with them.

NSCC offers:

  • Carpentry

  • Electrical Technician

  • Welding

  • Power Engineering

  • Metal Fabrication

And many more!

Fanshawe College

Fanshawe is one of Ontario's largest colleges, with over 200 programs divided across four campuses in London, St. Thomas, Simcoe, and Woodstock. Over 40 of these programs are focused on skilled trades, such as (but not limited to):

  • General Machinist

  • Electrical Engineering

  • Renewable Energies

  • Industrial Mechanic

  • Plumber

Vancouver Community College

VCC offers trade programs spanning from culinary, to hairstyle to automotive! Wherever your interests lie, VCC has a program for you. A few of their programs are:

  • Hairstylist

  • Culinary Arts

  • Automotive Service Technician

  • Heavy Mechanic

  • Automotive Glass Technician

Now, all of this is great, but how does studying a trades program in Canada lead you toward Permanent Residency?

Permanent Residence Options for Skilled Trades Professionals

Federal Skilled Trades Program is administered through Express Entry. Candidates must have two years of work experience in a skilled trade within the last five years to be eligible. Candidates must meet the job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification and have a valid job offer or a certificate of qualification issued by Canadian federal, provincial, or territorial authority.

The NOC lists the trades in four major groups and two minor ones. Those are:

  • major group 72, industrial, electrical and construction trades;

  • major group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades;

  • major group 82, supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production;

  • major group 92, processing, manufacturing and utility supervisors and central control operators;

  • minor group 632, chefs and cooks, and;

  • minor group 633, butchers and bakers.

A good way to find those occupational descriptions is on the federal government’s Jobbank website.

In order to be eligible, candidates must also get a minimum score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in all 4 abilities: writing, reading, listening and speaking.

If you went to school in Canada, you must have a certificate, diploma, or degree from a Canadian secondary institution (high school) or post-secondary institution. If you have foreign education, you must have: a completed credential, and an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for immigration purposes from a designated organization showing that your education is equal to a completed certificate, diploma, or degree from a Canadian school.

If you feel that Express Entry is not the right fit for you, another option is Provincial Nomination. Most provinces have pathways for skilled trades professionals, the most popular programs being OINP and SINP


To qualify, candidates must have at least one year of cumulative, paid, full-time (or part-time equivalent) work experience in a skilled trade in Ontario during the last two years from the date of the application. On September 7th, OINP held a Skilled Trades stream draw, a few of the targetted NOCs include:

  • NOC 7201 – Contractors and supervisors, machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades and related occupations

  • NOC 7202 – Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades, and telecommunications occupations

  • NOC 7237 – Welders and related machine operators

  • NOC 7241 – Electricians (except industrial and power system)

  • NOC 7242 – Industrial electricians

And many more!


In order to qualify for the International Skilled Worker pathway, candidates must have an offer for a permanent, full-time job in Saskatchewan and two years of work experience in a skilled trade in the past five years. There is no specific list of eligible occupations but it needs to be NOC A, B, O, or a designated trade, such as:

  • Carpenter

  • Heavy Equipment Technician

  • Millwright

  • Locksmith

  • Plumber

And more!

Don't forget about the Rural Northern Immigration Pilot Program!

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot creates a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live in one of the participating communities.

There are 4 steps to applying for permanent residence under this pilot:

  1. Check that you meet both IRCC eligibility requirements and community-specific requirements.

  2. Find an eligible job with an employer in one of the participating communities.

  3. Once you have a job offer, submit your application for recommendation to the community.

  4. If a community recommends you, apply for permanent residence.

Keep in mind that each community will have its own eligibility requirements and job search process.

Of course, there's more to it than that. All these pathways have additional eligibility requirements that candidates must meet.

If this piques your interest, consider booking our Permanent Residence Consultation and have your eligibility assessed by one of our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants.

What Do You Say?

Knowing what you know now, would you consider the trades?

Our team can assist you on your educational journey!

Book our PR and Study Consultation to speak with one of our consultants who can assess your eligibility, discuss your program of choice and help you find the right pathway for you!

Fall 2023 admission is on! By this time next year, you could be studying in Canada.


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Mike Sensational
Mike Sensational
Oct 21, 2022

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