What is Canada's Federal Skilled Worker Program?

What is Canada's Federal Skilled Worker Program?

“Express Entry” refers to an electronic system used by the Canadian government to manage immigration applications seeking permanent residence status from skilled workers. There are three primary federal economic programs managed via Express Entry:

  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST)

Each of these immigration programs has different eligibility criteria.

This blog post will focus on the Federal Skilled Worker program.

What is the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

The Federal Skilled Worker program is for skilled workers with foreign work experience who want to become Canadian permanent residents. Under this program, applicants do not need to have any prior Canadian work experience. As the foreign work experience must fall within TEER categories 0, 1, 2, or 3, this program is often utilized by individuals with both formal post-secondary education from a foreign institution and skilled work experience.

Minimum requirements include: 

    • Skilled work experience in National Occupational Classification (NOC) TEER categories 0, 1, 2, or 3
      • Must be in the same type of job (same NOC) as the primary occupation listed in your Express Entry profile
      • Within the last 10 years
      • Paid wages or earned commission
      • At least 1 year of continuous work or 1,560 hours total:
        • Full-time hours at one job, i.e. 30 hours per week for 12 months
        • Equal hours amount in part-time work, i.e. 15 hours per week for 24 months
        • Full-time hours at more than one job
    • Language ability demonstrated through approved language tests in English or French
      • The applicant must get a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark score of 7 in writing, reading, listening, and speaking abilities
  • Educational credentials
      • If the applicant attended school in Canada, they must have a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian secondary or post-secondary institution
      • If the applicant attended school outside of Canada, they must have:
        • A completed educational credential (i.e. degree, diploma, trade, or apprenticeship credential) issued for completing a program of study or training at a recognized educational or training institution;
        • An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for immigration purposes from a designated organization which demonstrates that the applicant’s education is equal to a completed certificate, diploma, or degree from a Canadian secondary or post-secondary institution
    • Proof of enough funds for the applicant and their family to settle in Canada (see chart below), unless the applicant:
      • Is currently able to legally work in Canada
      • Has a valid job offer from an employer in Canada
    • Is admissible to Canada (i.e. no issues with criminality, prior removals, etc.)
    • Does not plan to live in the province of Quebec

    The Express Entry Selection Factors

    The first hurdle that potential Federal Skilled Worker Program applicants must overcome is the minimum requirements listed above. If the applicant meets all of the minimum requirements, their application is then assessed based on the Selection Factors. The Selection Factors considered by the government are:

    • Age; 
    • Education;
    • Work Experience;
    • Valid job offer;
    • English and/or French language skills; and
    • Adaptability

    The Selection Factors form a 100-point grid. This grid is used by the Federal Skilled Worker Program to assess eligibility to apply. In order to apply, the current minimum score required is 67 points. If you have at least 67 points, you may create an Express Entry profile. Once your profile is submitted, it will be assessed by the Canadian government using their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Criteria

    The government of Canada ranks all Express Entry applications on an ongoing basis, and periodically invites the highest ranking candidates from the pool to apply for permanent residence.

    Contact Sisu Legal for more information on our Express Entry services or to Schedule a Strategy Session with our immigration lawyers!

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