The Federal Skilled Trades Program or FSTP is one of the three programs which help international skilled workers to get jobs and permanent residence in Canada. This program is managed by the Express Entry Canada online platform.
The FSTP gives skilled workers of different backgrounds the opportunity to submit their profiles and get a chance to be invited to apply for a visa. It works similarly to a lottery, but the chances of being selected are quite high since Canada has labor shortages in different occupations.
Each year, the Canadian Government publishes a list of skilled trades that are in shortage in the country and internationals as well as those who are on temporary work permits can submit their profiles and wait to see if they are picked. The skilled trades are in accordance with Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) list. If you become a permanent resident through the Federal Skilled Trades Canada Program, then you can work and live in Canada. After a few years, you will also have the chance to become a Canadian citizen.
Each year, 3,000 people are invited to apply for permanent residence in the Federal Skilled Trades Program from 26 occupations. Out of these 26 occupations, 17 occupations are limited to 100 people while the rest do not have any limits.
What are the requirements for the Federal Skilled Trades Program?
To be eligible for the FSTP, you must fulfill 6 types of eligibility criteria.
Minimum requirements for the FSTP
The minimum requirements that allow you to qualify for the FSTP are as follows:
- Adequate language ability;
- 2 years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in a required skilled trade within the last 5 years;
- Meet job requirements for the skilled trade which is set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC);
- Have a job offer for full-time work by a Canadian employer for at least 1 year or a certificate of qualification that you are skilled in a trade. The certificate of qualification must be issued by a provincial, territorial, or federal Canadian authority.
Skilled work experience requirements
The skilled work experience that you have must be in one of the occupations listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC). The NOC has 5 skill levels, from Skill Level 0 to Skill Levels A, B, C, and D. The skill level for the Federal Skilled Trades Program must belong to Skill Levels A or B in the NOC. Skill Levels A occupations are limited to 100 people only, while Skill Levels B are not limited and include these occupations:
- Major Group 72 – Industrial, electrical, and construction trades;
- Major Group 73 – Maintenance and equipment operation trades;
- Major Group 82 – Supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture, and related production;
- Major Group 92 – Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors, and central control operators;
- Minor Group 632 – Chefs and cooks;
- Minor Group 633 – Butchers and bakers;
In the NOC list which can be found here, you must find which occupation you belong to and then read the description or lead statement. The lead statement has all the duties and responsibilities that the person does when in that job. You must be able to prove that you have done all the duties that are listed in the lead statement through your work experience.
The Federal Skilled Trades Program does not have any strict education requirements but having some level of qualifying education can help boost your profile. You must specify it in your application if you have the following:
- A Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary diploma;
- A completed foreign credential and Education Credential Assessment from an approved agency which shows that your education is equal to a secondary (high school) or post-secondary Canadian degree.
Fulfilling one of these requirements will gain you more points and increase the chances that your profile will be chosen from the pool of applicants.
You must meet the minimum points for either English or French as they are standard languages in Canada. The requirements for speaking and listening are Canadian Language Benchmark – CLB 5 and for reading and writing (CLB 4). You must also take approved tests for speaking, reading, listening, and writing and enter your results on your profile.
You must be admissible to enter Canada if you want to apply through the FSTP. Reasons why you could be inadmissible include, but are not limited to:
- You pose a security risk;
- You have committed international or human rights violations;
- You have been convicted of a crime within or outside of Canada;
- You are tied to an organized crime organization;
- You have serious health problems;
- You have serious financial problems;
- You provided false information on your application or interview;
- One of your family members is not allowed to enter Canada;
Provincial, territorial, or federal assessment requirement
Depending on your level of experience in your trade, you will have to be assessed and get a certificate of qualifications from a provincial, territorial, or federal body. After finding the trade and NOC number for your occupation, you must visit one of the websites of the places below to find which body governs your trade and seek out the assessment.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
If your trade is federally regulated like airplane mechanics for example, then you must find out who regulates it through the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials website.
You can live in any of the provinces of Canada if your skill is applicable, except for the province of Quebec. This province selects its own skilled workers through the Quebec-selected skilled-workers program.
To check whether you are eligible, visit the Canadian Government website and answer a few questions. At the end, the results will show you whether you can apply for the FSTP program or not.
How to apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program?
Once you determine that you are eligible for the program, then you must go through several steps to submit your profile and application.
Gather supporting documents
In order to start the application process, you must submit your profile. Before you start the profile though, it is a good idea to gather your supporting documents so that you can complete the profile faster. These are the documents you will need:
- A valid passport or travel document;
- Your language test results;
- Your education credential assessment report so that you can get extra points;
- Written job offer from an employer in Canada (if you have one);
Since the FSTP works through selection from a pool of applicants from the Canadian Government, if you are invited to apply for permanent residence then you must also have these documents:
- Police certificates which determine that you have a clean criminal record;
- Medical exams to show you are in good health;
- Proof that you have enough funds to cover your travel and first few months of living in Canada while you find a job.
It is a good idea to have all these documents gathered so that you do not take too much time to submit them if you are selected.
Submit your profile
To submit your profile, you must have a Government of Canada account. You can open one by following this link and using your banking details or a Government of Canada login (GCKey). From there, take the eligibility test which will determine whether you are eligible for FSTP.
If you are eligible, then you will be redirected to completing your profile. You will have to enter information from your documents which include personal information, employment and education records, language proficiency, etc. You will also need to have your National Occupational Classification (NOC) code for your specific skilled trade.
You do not have to immediately submit your profile. You have 60 days from the moment you start completing it to submit it. If you do not submit it within 60 days, then you will have to start all over again.
Wait for selection
The FSTP works on a ranked points system from a pool of applicants. Each year, the Government of Canada will select people from the pool of applicants and invite them to apply for permanent residence. The selection is determined based on the information you submit and the points that each qualification earns you. The Canadian Government determines the points for each information such as education, employment, or language proficiency and then ranks the applicants. Those who rank the highest get selected and invited to apply.
Note: You can find an explanation of the Express Entry system and the points system by visiting our article here.
In the meantime, while you wait for this process, you can work on improving your scores. If you did not have a job offer when you submitted your profile, you can look for one and then update your profile. You can also improve your education or employment qualifications by taking courses or getting jobs in your home country which make you more experienced in your trade. You can also retake language tests to improve your results. Any improvements you make, you must update your profile accordingly to increase your chances of selection.
Get an invitation to apply
If you are eligible for the program and your score is the highest ranked then you will be invited to apply for permanent residence. The invitation that you get will inform you of the next steps you must take and you can choose to accept or refuse it. If you refuse your application, then you cannot change your mind. You will have to submit a profile all over again and then wait to be selected.
Apply for permanent residence
The invitation will let you know the procedure of applying for permanent residence. You will have to sign in to your account, follow the links provided and fill out the necessary forms. You must provide all correct information in your forms and complete all the mandatory fields.
After you complete the forms, you must submit your supporting documents which you have gathered in the steps above. Scan your documents and provide certified translations if they are not in English or French. Upload them to the system and make sure they are of good quality and legible. Your passport must have longer validity than 6 months for it to be acceptable.
Afterwards, you must pay your fees in Canadian dollars, which will include the following:
- Processing fee – $550;
- Right of permanent residence fee (RPRF) (does not apply to dependent children) – $490;
- If you include your spouse or common-law partner – $1,040 (includes processing fee and RPRF);
- If you include a dependent child – $150 per child;
You will have 60 days to complete your permanent residence application and submit it. After you submit your application, you will only be allowed to make important changes such as:
- Changes in contact information or address;
- Births or deaths in your family;
- Marriage or divorce;
- Changes to your job or job offer in Canada;
- New education credentials;
- Updated language test results;
After submission, the decision of whether you are given permanent residence in Canada or not will be given to you in 6 months or less. The Canadian Government will inform you and let you know of the next steps you must take if they approve your application. If you are denied, then the notice will state the reasons and you can improve your application the next time.