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Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

Canada's main worker immigration program

Canada's main worker immigration program, known as theFederal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), is for professionals and skilled workers worldwide who want to move to Canada permanently. This program allows Canada to welcome many newcomers each year based on their ability to work in Canada.

Who can apply for Federal skilled worker program?

Professionals and skilled workers worldwide, along with their spouse/partner and dependent children, can apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

How long does it take?

The majority of thorough applications are typically handled within a timeframe of six months or shorter.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is a system that allows Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to invite eligible candidates to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Candidates who are interested in settling in Canada create an online Express Entry profile. They are then ranked under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) based on the information they provided.

Advantages of the Federal skilled worker program under Express Entry

For participants within the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Express Entry presents two clear benefits and potentially one drawback.


Accessibility: People outside Canada can apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Class without needing any ties to the country. They can fulfill all necessary requirements like work experience, language skills, and education from abroad, making it a good option for non-residents.

Higher Invitation Rate: Federal Skilled Worker Program candidates, particularly those under the Federal Skilled Worker Class, received more than half of all invitations issued in 2018.

Potential disadvantage:

Uncertain Invitation: Even if you qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, there's no guarantee of receiving an invitation to apply. If your CRS score falls below the cut-off, you should refer to our guide on boosting your CRS score.

Eligibility Clarification: Merely possessing skilled work experience isn't sufficient; understanding the eligibility requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program is crucial.

Eligibility requirements – Federal skilled worker:

To submit an Express Entry profile under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Work Experience: Minimum of 12 months of full-time skilled work experience, or equivalent part-time experience, in a single occupation categorized under NOC levels 0, 1, 2, or 3.
  • Language Proficiency: Proficiency in either English or French demonstrated through an approved language test. FSWC requires a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark of Level 7 (CLB 7).
  • Education: Completion of education equivalent to a Canadian high school diploma, with an Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA) required for foreign education validation.
  • Federal Skilled Worker Points Grid: Candidates must score a minimum of 67 out of 100 points on the FSW points grid.
  • Settlement Funds: Adequate funds to support settlement in Canada are necessary.

Meeting these requirements may make you eligible to submit an Express Entry profile. However, eligibility doesn't ensure an invitation forCanadian permanent residence as Express Entry is a competitive system, and only the top-ranking FSWC candidates receive invitations.

Federal skilled worker points system

To join the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you need at least 67 points out of 100 on the points grid. Remember, this system is different from the one used for the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) in Express Entry.

Six factors count in the points grid:

  • Language skills: Up to 28 points
  • Education: Up to 25 points
  • Work experience: Up to 15 points
  • Age: Up to 12 points
  • Arranged employment: Up to 10 points
  • Adaptability: Up to 10 points

Check your eligibility:

To see if you qualify for Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker Program, use our Express Entry CRS Calculator. It'll tell you if you're eligible for all three federal economic immigration programs under Express Entry. Plus, you'll learn your potential CRS score and how competitive you are.

Settlement funds for Federal skilled workers:

If you don't have arranged employment, you'll need to declare enough settlement funds when you join the Express Entry pool. You'll need to prove this when you apply for permanent residence.

Requirement increases/decreases depending on family size


Quantity of Family Dependents

Minimum Funds Needed (in CAD)

1 (single applicant)














Additional family member

+$3,706 per member


Ensuring Availability of Settlement Funds for Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Program Applicants

For applicants to the Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Program, it's important to have accessible funds without any debts or obligations. These funds should be ready for transfer when needed. The requirement for settlement funds must be fulfilled both at the time of application and when the permanent resident visa is granted.

Which workers does Canada seek?

Canada is welcoming a variety of skilled workers through its Federal Skilled Worker Program. This includes individuals with experience in different skilled occupations categorized under TEER levels 0, 1, 2, or 3.

Overview of Canadian Federal skilled worker occupations:

Canada recognizes numerous skilled occupations, classified into four categories:

  • TEER 0 (zero): Management roles, such as restaurant managers, retail and wholesale trade managers, those in food service and accommodation management, and more.
  • TEER 1: Occupations of a professional nature usually necessitate a university degree. This includes various Information Technology (IT) roles, engineering and construction positions, legal occupations, and more.
  • TEER 2: Occupations often requiring a college diploma, apprenticeship training lasting two years or more, or roles involving supervision are common. Examples include positions such as web technicians and medical laboratory technologists.
  • TEER 3: Occupations generally necessitating a college diploma, apprenticeship training of less than two years, or over six months of on-the-job training.

How to apply for FSW – step-by-step guide

Step 1: Check if you're eligible.

First, make sure you meet the basic requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program. This includes having enough work experience, language skills, and education. Also, see how many points you score on the FSW points grid.

Step 2: Gather your documents.

In order to establish your Express Entry profile, you will require three categories of documents.

  • Verification: Ensure you possess a current passport.
  • Language Proficiency: You'll need recent test results from an approved language test. For English, you can take the IELTS or CELPIP test. For French, choose between the TEF and TCF tests. If you're proficient in both English and French, you can earn extra points.
  • Education: If you completed your education outside of Canada, you'll need an Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA).

Step 3: Make a profile on the IRCC website

You'll need to give some personal information. Some you just say yourself, like your job history. For some, you need documents from before.

Step 4: Make your profile better and get a higher ranking

If your score isn't high enough, check out our guide on how to make it better. One way is to take your language tests again if you can do better. You could also get more work experience or see if you can join a special program in the province you work in. You might get a big bonus for that.

Step 5: Get asked to apply

This is when you can start the process to stay in the country permanently. You'll have 60 days to finish the paperwork. They ask people when they do a draw.

Step 6: Do a health check, show you're safe, and apply online

All Federal Skilled Worker applicants get checked to make sure they're healthy and haven't done anything wrong. You need to show you've had a health check with an official doctor. You also need to show you haven't had any trouble with the police in any country you've lived in for more than six months since you were 18. You have to do all this within 60 days of getting asked to apply. You also need to give detailed letters from your old bosses.

It's a good idea to get the police checks and work letters ready before they ask you to apply because you'll have to do it all quickly.

Step 7: Your online application is checked

A Canadian immigration officer looks at the application you filled out online and tells you if they need anything else.

Step 8: Get confirmation of being a permanent resident and finish your arrival

The majority of applications for the Federal Skilled Worker Program are typically processed within a timeframe of fewer than six months. When you're approved, you get a document saying you're a permanent resident. An officer in Canada or at an IRCC office signs and dates this document when you officially become a permanent resident.

Step 9: Get your PR card

After you have confirmation of your status, you can apply for your PR card. If you leave Canada, you can use this card to show that you're a permanent resident.

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