Bus drivers can now apply for permanent residence in Canada under the Express Entry system’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program.
The change to the FSW which made that possible came on Nov. 16 last year, when Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) added 16 new jobs to its list of eligible occupations under that worker immigration program.
That increased the number of eligible occupations under the FSW on the same day the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 came into effect at the IRCC to 359.
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The 16 new occupations are all deemed to be jobs for which the worker must get a college diploma, an apprenticeship training of fewer than two years, or more than six months of on-the-job training.
The full list of newly-added jobs on the list of eligible occupations under the FSW includes:
- NOC 13102 Payroll administrators
- NOC 33100 Dental assistants and dental laboratory assistants
- NOC 33102 Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
- NOC 33103 Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants
- NOC 43100 Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants
- NOC 43200 Sheriffs and bailiffs
- NOC 43201 Correctional service officers
- NOC 43202 By-law enforcement and other regulatory officers
- NOC 63211 Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations
- NOC 73200 Residential and commercial installers and servicers
- NOC 73202 Pest controllers and fumigators
- NOC 73209 Other repairers and servicers
- NOC 73300 Transport truck drivers
- NOC 73301 Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators
- NOC 73400 Heavy equipment operators
- NOC 93200 Aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors
Bus drivers, those who operate either school buses or other motor coaches, are categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system under the code 73301 and are in hot demand across Canada as school districts scramble to find enough of these workers to bring students safely to and from school.
Demand For School Bus Drivers Has Reached Crisis Proportions In Some Areas Of Canada
The demand for school bus drivers is now so high that school districts across the country regularly have to announce school bus delays or cancellations due to a lack of personnel.
Marcos Salib, a national service representative with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), went so far last year as to describe the situation as a crisis.
“It was probably on the map many years ago, several years ago,” Salib reportedly told the CBC’s Information Morning Moncton.
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“But with the increase of COVID and those types of situations, it’s just really brought a bad situation to … a crisis situation.”
That labour shortage has left school districts across the country without enough bus drivers to meet the challenge of transporting children to school.
In the northern Nova Scotia school district of Chignecto-Central, director of operations Chris Zwicker has described the bus driver shortage as the biggest challenge that he’s facing this school year. All of the full-time positions for drivers have been filled but the school district is short of drivers who can be called upon when another driver is off sick.
Lack Of Bus Drivers Described As One School District’s Biggest Challenge
“It causes a big issue for our families,” Zwicker reportedly told the CBC. “In some cases when we’re short a substantial number of drivers, it does impact the families that we can’t get out to every site [on] every route and pick the kids up. It’s a real frustration.”
That means lots of jobs are available for bus drivers and many opportunities for economic immigration to Canada for skilled foreign nationals.
The Canadian federal government’s job-hunting website ranks the job prospects of bus drivers over the next three years as good in almost every Canadian province and moderate in the Northwest Territories.
The Indeed job-hunting website had 1,269 help-wanted postings for bus drivers in mid-January.
Economic immigration through Express Entry offers both a way for foreign nationals to get their permanent residence here and for school districts and other employers to recruit qualified foreign nationals to drive buses in Canada.
Foreign Nationals With In Demand Skills Can Immigrate To Canada
Foreign nationals hoping to apply for permanent residence through the FSW must have one year of paid work experience within the last decade in jobs categorized as TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 of the NOC 2021 system.
Applicants under this program must also take a language test to prove that they possess sufficient language skills to successfully establish themselves in Canada. Language tests evaluate an applicant’s abilities with regard to:
In order to be eligible for the FSW, an applicant needs to obtain at least the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 7 in all categories and show that he or she has enough money to support him or herself and any relatives upon arrival in Canada.