Part of the Express Entry System, the Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Program (known as FSW or FSW Program) is managed by the federal government. It supplies the nation with skilled workers when there are not enough of a specific type of worker within the general population of citizens and permanent residents. Federal Skilled Workers may reside in every province except for Quebec. 

There are 347 occupations eligible for this program making it a popular pathway for many different types of people to enter Canada. You do not need a Canadian job offer to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, but having one can significantly improve your chances of receiving an offer for immigration.

There are specific eligibility criteria for this program. The first step is to find out if you qualify by filling out an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Express Entry Pool. The applications are evaluated using the 2 sets of points which give each candidate a score. These scores are used to determine eligibility and rank candidates against one another, so having higher scores means you have a better chance at being selected from the pool.

What is a Federal Skilled Worker in Canada?

Skilled workers from around the world who want to immigrate to Canada permanently can do so through the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Candidates can apply with their spouse/partner and dependent children.

If you are selected to enter Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you will receive Canadian permanent residency, and will be on a path that can lead to Canadian Citizenship.The Federal Skilled Worker Class is assigned to people who meet certain minimum requirements.

These requirements include work experience, education and language ability. However, many other factors contribute to an overall score which allows the IRCC to rank you against other applicants.

Federal Skilled Worker Points Grid – you must score at least a 67 on the FSW points grid (this is different from the CRS score). How you can earn these points is outlined below.

What does it take for a foreign national to achieve Canadian skilled worker status?

There are a number of steps to go through from Application to arrival in Canada

  1. Make an expression of interest (EOI) in immigrating to Canada by creating an online Express Entry profile via the IRCC website. 
  2. Get your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and improve your score if necessary.
  3. Receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence (PR) in Canada.
  4. Complete physical exams, provide security checks, and submit e-application.
  5. Your application is reviewed by a Canadian Immigration Visa Officer.
  6. The visa office will request your passport and Right of Permanent Resident fee.
  7. You will be issued your Canada immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa.

Let’s look at each of these steps.

  • Make an expression of interest. Your EOI will give you your Federal Skilled Workers point score  In order to qualify for Canadian permanent residence via the FSW program, you must score a minimum of 67 points out of 100.. 

Points are awarded based on this criteria:

  • Work Experience – You need at least 1 year of full time, continuous work experience in your field (maximum 15 points). You’ll be awarded points for the number of years you’ve spent doing full-time paid work (at least 30 hours per week, or an equal amount of part-time such as 15 hours per week for 24 months) at various skill types based on the National Occupational Classification (more below). 
  • Education – Your education must be at least equivalent to a Canadian high school diploma (maximum 25 points). If you studied in Canada, you must have a Canadian diploma, degree, or certificate from a Canadian high school or post-secondary institute. If you went to school abroad you need to get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report for immigration purposes from a designated organization showing that your education is equal to a completed certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian high school or postsecondary institution.

  • Language Ability – Test scores (through an approved language test facility) in English or French show you have language abilities equal or higher than a language benchmark level 7 (maximum 28 points).

  • Age Points – You will receive a set number of points based on the age you are when your application is received (maximum 12 points)

  • Job Offer –  Arranged employment in Canada is not necessary but will greatly improve your score. You’ll be given a score (maximum 10 points) and you must secure the offer before you come to Canada. A number of factors must be present to gain the extra points on the FSW score.

  • Adaptability – You can earn points if you show that you and your family are able to adapt well to Canadian life (maximum 25 points). 

Read more about the FSW Points Grid here.

  • If you meet the 67 point minimum, you will then be eligible to submit your complete Express Entry profile, which will give you your CRS ranked score. You can continue to improve your score while you wait for approval.
  • If you are selected from the pool of applicants, you’ll receive an ITA, and you will have 60 days to complete your permanent resident application. You’ll need to include all your supporting documentation, so begin preparing them early.
  • You’ll complete your physicals and background checks. Your physical is meant to provide Canada with a complete medical history record. There are some instances where a physical shows a history of disease that makes you inadmissible, but this is rare. Medical exams are given in cities all around the world.The medical examination includes a standard physical examination, blood tests, urine tests, and X-Rays. 
  • A Canadian Immigration Visa Officer will analyze your complete application and all of your supporting documentation. They will assess it based on the current program criteria. 
  • You will be requested to provide you passport (some exclusions apply) and pay your Right of Permanent Resident Fees.
  • You will be issued your Visa. You will have a certain period of time in which you and your family will need to enter Canada.

What is the National Occupational Council of Canada (Natoc)?

The Natoc establishes criteria for different jobs. This data is reported through the National Occupational Classification (NOC). Their services are used to provide a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians. The website Canada.ca says it helps:

  • define and collect statistics
  • manage information databases
  • analyze labour market trends
  • extract practical career planning information

This standardized way of organizing job information allows Canada to create the national Job Bank listing of jobs available across Canada. 

Potential immigrants can use this job bank to find a Canadian employer and attempt to secure employment before or during their application period.

Because the NOC standardizes jobs, it is easy to see expectations and qualifications for specific jobs using this job bank. 

When applying for application through Express Entry streams, finding ways to improve your FSW and CRS scores is very important. There are many strategies you can use to elevate your score and give you better chances of being selected from the applicant pool. We encourage you book a consultation with us so we can help you understand how to maximize your points, and what to do before and after you apply to immigrate quickly.

Canadian Immigration: The Past and the Present

For the past hundred years, Canada’s economy has grown and been strengthened by generations of enterprising immigrants from all over the world. As a result, the Canadian government has a preference for skilled workers to immigrate to this country.

Due to its goals for economic development, the Canadian government has developed and constantly modifies its main immigration program aimed at skilled foreign workers – the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Since 2015, this program is processed through the online selection system Express Entry, through which candidates are invited to settle, based on an evaluation of various factors.

So, what type of candidates does Canada look for? The ideal skilled worker should be relatively young. The optimal age of the immigrant is 20-29 years old, for which one can get 100-110 points (depending on whether the candidate is single or married). Such candidates are given maximum points for age. In general, Canada grants some points for candidates up until the age of 44, and those ages 40 can get about half of the possible points for age.

Canada is looking for people with a higher education, and the higher it is – the more points are awarded to the candidate. A higher education gives a candidate about 112-150 points. A trade certificate or diploma can give about 84-98 points.

Another important factor in the immigration evaluation is knowledge of English or French. The better the main applicant knows at least one official language – the more points they can get. It should also be noted that the maximum possible score for the main language is 128 or 136 points (depending on whether the candidate is married). You can also get some bonus points for language proficiency with the CLB 9, which can be obtained by getting IELTS score of 8.0, 7.0, 7.0, 7.0 and higher or CELPIP score 9, 9, 9, 9.

The last important puzzle in the immigration evaluation is the individual’s work experience. Canada appreciates one’s work experience, but only if it was done in Canada. As a result, work experience in one’s home country does not give them any points by itself. However, 1-2 years of home country experience in combination with knowledge of the official language(s) gives the candidate 13 or 25 points, and for 3 years of experience – 25 or 50 points. Similarly, points are awarded for a combination of foreign and Canadian work experience. With Canadian experience, a candidate can immigrate through the Canadian Experience Class.

Thus, the ideal skilled worker is younger than 30 years old, has a bachelor’s degree, received the English language score at the CLB 9 level, and has at least three years of skilled work experience. The lack of points for one of the factors can easily be compensated by a higher score for another factor.

Do you want to immigrate to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker? Contact us at Green Light Canada to get the expert help!