The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program is one of the three federal programs managed through the Express Entry. The Express Entry is an online system used to manage applications from economic class immigrants who can contribute to Canada’s economy. The FSW program is for skilled workers that have foreign work experience who want to immigrate to Canada.
Eligibility Requirements to Become a Federal Skilled Worker
In order to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, candidates must meet all the minimum requirements for skilled work experience, language ability, and education. The application will then be assessed on various selection factors to determine eligibility. You will be awarded points for each of the six selection factors and given a score out of 100. The six selection factors are: age, education, work experience, English and/or French language skills, settlement adaptability, and whether you have a valid job offer. The current pass mark is 67 points.
Minimum Program Requirements
Skilled work experience
An applicant must have at least one year of skilled work experience in one of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) job groups:
- Skill Level 0 – managerial jobs, such as restaurant managers, marketing and public relations, financial managers…etc.;
- Skill Type A – professional jobs that usually require a university degree, such as doctors, dentists, engineers…etc.;
- Skill Type B – technical jobs and skilled trades that require either a college diploma or apprenticeship, such as bakers, technicians, plumbers…etc.
Your job must fit within one of those groups and you must show that you performed the duties listed in the occupational description in the National Occupation Classification (NOC). The NOC is a government database that lists the main duties and any other requirements applicants need to show as part of the occupational description.
An applicant’s skilled work experience must be in the same type of job you are using in your application (primary occupation). It also must be gained within the last 10 years. At least one year of paid, continuous work experience is required. This must equal 1,560 hours total (30 hours per week) using either full-time or part-time employment or a combination of the two.
Applicants must also meet the required language level needed in each language ability—writing, reading, listening, and speaking. The Government of Canada uses the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) to measure the varying English language ability of prospective immigrants and citizens. For each language ability there is a designated test to assess your proficiency. Applicants must at least score a Canadian Language Benchmark of 7 in all four ability areas.
The recognized language tests are the IELTS and the CELPIP. Language tests are valid for 2 years after the date of the test result and must be valid when you apply permanent residence.
Applicants must have a certificate, diploma or degree from a secondary school institution (high school) or a post-secondary school institution (university or college). If you did not go to school in Canada then you must show that you have a certificate, diploma or degree issued upon completion of the program, as well as an educational credential assessment (ECA). An ECA is used to verify that your education is valid and equal to a Canadian one. You need to complete an assessment for immigration purposes through an organization or a professional body designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
If you meet the minimum program requirements, your application will then be assessed on various selection factors to determine eligibility. You will be awarded points based on the six selection factors: age, education, work experience, English and/or French language skills, settlement adaptability, and whether you have a valid job offer. If an applicant scores 67 or higher out of 100 then they may qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Once you have completed your application as part of the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you will enter the Express Entry pool and your profile will be ranked according to your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.
Settlement Adaptability5 (relatives in Canada, past studies in Canada…etc.)10 (past work experience in Canada)
|Selection Factor||Minimum Points||Maximum Points|
|Age||0 (those 18 and under, as well as 47 and older)||12 (between 18-35 years old)|
|Education||5 (High School Diploma)||25 (Doctorate)|
|Work Experience||9 (1 year of full-time, paid work||15 (6 or more years of full-time, paid work)|
|Language Skills||16 (CLB level 7 in first official language)||28 (24 points for a CLB level 9 or higher in all 4 ability areas in an official language and 4 points for a CLB level 5 or higher in all 4 ability areas in another official language)|
|Valid Job Offer||–||10 (job offer of at least 1 year from a Canadian employer)|
Proof of Funds
All applicants must show that they have enough money to support themselves and their family to settle in Canada. You will not need to show that you have enough funds if you are currently able to legally work in Canada or you have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada.
The amount of money you need to support your family depends on the size of your family. You must be able to show that you have the funds required to support yourself, as well as your spouse/partner and dependent children, even if they already permanent residents or Canadian citizens or not accompanying you to Canada.
Minimum funds required as of June 9, 2022
|# of family members||Funds required (CAD$)|
|For each additional family member||$3,586|
These funds must be readily available to you. For proof, you must get official letters from any bank or financial institution where you have money. These letters must include any outstanding debt, your account information, and average balance for the past 6 months.
Provincial Nomination and the Federal Skilled Worker Program
If you are eligible under the FSW Program, you can also be nominated by a province or territories and have extra points added to your CRS score.
The related program under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is Ontario’s Express Entry Human Capital Priorities stream. This stream allows workers with the required skills and experience the opportunity to settle in Ontario. To apply for this stream, you must first make a valid profile in the IRCC’s Express Entry system and have received a notification of interest from Ontario. Once you have received a notification of interest, you can apply to be nominated by the Government of Ontario. Successful nominations can be added to your Express Entry profile and are confirmed electronically by the province.
Latest Draw Information and Processing Times
After completing your Express Entry profile, you will be entered into the Express Entry pool. The Express Entry pool ranks candidates using their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. The highest-ranking candidates are selected from the pool and are invited to apply for permanent residence. The average processing time as of September 13, 2022 is 26 months with Express Entry draws take place approximately every two weeks.
Express Entry draws since July 6, 2022 have invited thousands of applicants to apply for permanent residency from all programs. At the time of the writing of this blog, the latest CRS score of the lowest-ranked individual candidate was 510. This draw took place September 14, 2022 and 3,250 invitations were issued.
Please use our free Express Entry Calculator to help determine your CRS score.
How We Can Help
If you are interested in making an application for permanent residence under the FSW Program, the Law Office of Matthew Jeffery has extensive experience with this type of case and can help you. Please contact us for further information.