The Canadian Federal Skilled Trades Program offers potential immigrants who are qualified in a skilled trade the opportunity to quickly become a permanent resident of Canada in an attempt to ensure that the country attracts and retains a skilled work force. The Canadian Government and Immigration Department developed the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) in 2013 in order to address the growing shortage of skilled workers in areas that were experiencing rapid growth due to the increasing strength of the economy. The economic immigration program was developed at the request of Canadian businesses and employers who were struggling to hire enough skilled workers to help them complete their work on time.The Canada Federal Skilled Trade Program now operates through the Canadian Express Entry immigration selection system.

Federal Skilled Trades Program Eligibility

There are a variety of different factors that affect an applicant’s eligibility for the Federal Skilled Trades Program. Skilled Trade Program applicants are assessed on their predicted ability to establish themselves in Canada economically.

Work Experience

The applicant must have at least 24 months of full-time experience (30+ hours per week) in the particular trade in the five years prior to the application being lodged. Part-time work that adds up to two years of full-time work also meets the requirements. This can be 24 months of working more than one job for a total of 30 hours/week, or a longer duration of part-time work (15+ hours each week) totalling 3,120 hours over a two-year period.

Language Proficiency

Applicants who wish to reside in Canada through the Skilled Trades Program must demonstrate that they have at least an intermediate grasp of either English or French. This can be done by taking a test through the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) for English, or the Test d’Evaluation de Francais (TEF) for French. The applicant will be tested on all four parts of the chosen language: speaking, reading, listening and writing. The prospective immigrant needs to score above the minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) points in order to be found eligible for Federal Skilled Trades Class immigration.

  • For IELTS, the 2018 Federal Skilled Trades Program Canada requires CLB 5 for speaking (5.0+) and listening (5.0+), and CLB 4 for reading (3.5+) and writing (4.0+)
  • For CELPI, the Federal Skilled Trades Program 2018 requires CLB 5 for speaking (5+) and listening (5+), and CLB for reading (4+) and writing (4+)
  • For TEF, the 2018 Canada Federal Skilled Trades Program requires NCLC 5 for speaking (226+) and listening (181+), and NCLC 4 for reading (121+) and writing (181+)

Please note: all language testing must be completed with an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) approved agency.

Permanent Job Offer or Skilled Trade Qualification

In the case of a permanent job offer, the applicant must be able to supply proof that they have been offered a full-time job in Canada that adds up to 30 hours a week or more. This can also be applicable to two part-time job offers that will cover 30 hours a week.

If the applicant is qualified and holds a certification in their particular skilled trade, they do not necessarily need a job offer. Instead, the applicant needs to get hold of the regulatory body in the province or territory in which they intend to work, and through this provincial or territorial organization get their skilled trade qualifications certified.

Please note: it is likely that the applicant will have to travel to the province or area in which they wish to reside to get the certification done.

Satisfy Job Requirements

An applicant must be able to meet the requirements of one of the employment opportunities that is offered in the Federal Skilled Trades Program. There is a list of the possible jobs for applicants, and failure to meet either the relative certification or training for one of these jobs will result in failure to work in Canada through the program. We have listed all the eligible Federal Skilled Trades Program occupations below, as well as their National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes.

Work Outside Quebec

Quebec has its own skilled immigration program called the Quebec Skilled Trades Program, therefore prospective immigrants who are qualified in a skilled trade and wish to work and settle in Quebec are not able to got through the Federal Skilled Trades Program and must instead apply to the relevant authorities in Quebec. The Federal Skilled Trades Program is only for prospective immigrants who wish to live and work in British Columbia (BC), Alberta (AB), Saskatchewan (SK), Manitoba (MB), Ontario (ON), New Brunswick (NB), Nova Scotia (NS), Prince Edward Island (PEI), Newfoundland (NL), or any of the Canadian territories.