Federal Skilled Worker Program

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Federal Skilled Worker Program

Your Immigration Consultant for Canada

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    What is the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

    The Federal Skilled Worker Program is Canada's largest immigration program, in place since 1967. It is the most popular program in Canada's Express Entry system, which is projected to accept more than 110,000 immigrants in 2024.  In contrast to the Canadian Experience Class and the Provincial Nominee Program, the Federal Skilled Worker Program is does not require existing connections or experience in Canada, making it the top choice for applicants from outside of the country.

    What are the Minimum Requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

    The following are the minimum requirements which must be met to qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker program:

    Work Experience

    • At least 1 year of full-time, continuous work experience in the past 10 years, or the equivalent in continuous part-time work. Under the program, 1560 hours (or 30 hours/week for one year) is considered to be the equivalent of one year of full-time work.
    • The National Occupational Classification (NOC) of your work experience must be in TEER level 0, 1, 2, or 3.
    • NOC of your qualifying work experience must match the primary NOC used for your Express Entry profile
    • The work must have been paid by wages or comission. Volunteer work or unpaid internships do not qualify.
    • Work experience gained while being a full-time student is eligible.

    English or French Skills

    • Language Test results in English or French, at a level equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 7 - That is equivalent to an IELTS General Training score of 6 (with 6 in reading, writing, speaking, and listening), or a CELPIP General score of 7 (with a 7 in reading, writing, speaking, and listening).
    • Your language test results can not be older than two years from the date of applying for permanent residence.

    Education

    • A completed education credential, of secondary school (high school) or higher, is required
    • If your education was completed outside of Canada, an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) obtained in the past five years is required.

    Province of Destination

    • The intention to live in a province or territory other than Quebec.

    Minimum Score of 67

    • Obtain a minimum of 67 points in the Federal Skilled Worker Program points system (which is distinct from Express Entry's Comprehensive Ranking System [CRS] score)

    What are Federal Skilled Worker Points, and how are they Calculated?

    In addition to meeting the other minimmum requirements, applicants must have a score of at least 67 on the official points scale. Points are calculated for the following categories: Work Experience, Language Skill, Education, Age, and Adaptability Factors.

    Below is a section by section breakdown of the Federal Skilled Worker Program points scale.

    Work Experience

    6+ years 15
    4-5 years 13
    2-3 years 11
    1 year 9

    Language Skills

    6 in all areas (intermediate/competent English level) 7 in all areas (intermediate/competent English level)) 16
    6.5 in reading, writing, speaking, 7.5 in listening 8 in all areas 20
    7 or higher in reading, writing, speaking, 8 or higher in listening 9 or higher in all areas 24

    Skills in Second Language (optional)

    5 or more in all areas 4

    Education

    Doctorate / PhD 25
    Master's Degree 23
    Two post-secondary degrees (one at least 3 years) 22
    Post-secondary degree - 3+ years 21
    Post-secondary degree - 2 years 19
    Post-secondary degree - 1 year 5

    Age

    under 18 0
    18-35 12
    36 11
    37 10
    38 9
    39 8
    40 7
    41 6
    42 5
    43 4
    44 3
    45 2
    46 1
    47+ 0

    Adaptability Factors (maximum 10 points total)

    Work Experience in Canada One year of full-time work experience in Canada (NOC Skill type 0, A, or B) 10
    Spouse Work Experience in Canada Spouse has one year of full-time work experience in Canada (NOC Skill type 0, A, or B) 5
    Study in Canada Completed a 2 year study program in Canada 5
    Spouse Study in Canada Spouse completed a 2 year study program in Canada 5
    Spouse Language Skills Spouse has a language level of at least CLB 4 in English or French. 5
    Arranged Employment in Canada A qualifying job offer in Canada 5
    Relatives in Canada You or your spouse/common-law partner have a relative who is living in Canada, is 18 years or older, and is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Qualifying relatives: Parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother/sister, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew. 5

    I Qualify for Federal Skilled Worker - What Should I do Next?

    If you meet the minimum requirements for work experience, language, and education, and score at least 67 on the points scale, you're qualified for Federal Skilled Worker! That makes you eligible to enter Canada's Express Entry System, which manages all permanent residency applications under this program.

    The next steps are:

    1. Take the IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF exam, and if your education is from outside of Canada, obtain an Education Credential Assessment (ECA).
    2. Submit an Express Entry Profile on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, and receive your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.
    3. If needed, take steps to increase your CRS score, such as improving your language level, studying in Canada, obtaining a job offer, or obtaining a nomination through the Provincial Nominee Program.
    4. Wait for an Express Entry draw that gives you an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence from IRCC. Draws are generally held every 2 or 3 weeks.
    5. Submit your Application for Permanent Residence (APR) to IRCC. You have 60 days from the date of the ITA to electronically submit your application.

    What If I am Outside Canada, and Don't Qualify for Federal Skilled Worker?

    The following are common strategies for either gaining the 67 Federal Skilled Worker points needed to enter Express Entry, or for qualifying for an alternative immigration program.

    Come to Canada on a Study Permit

    After obtaining a Study Permit and completing a qualifying study program, you can boost their points score, and can also qualify for a post-graduation work permit. After obtaining work experience in Canada, you could qualify for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class or the Provincial Nominee Program.

    Obtain a Canadian Job Offer

    A qualifying job offer gives a boost of 5 Federal Skilled Worker points, and may also allow you to come to Canada immediately on a Work Permit. While it is often difficult to succeed in a job search from outside Canada, entering Canada on a Visitor Visa can allow you to meet employers and network, making it a suitable first step for some applicants.. After starting work in Canada, you may qualify not only for Express Entry but also for direct admission to the Provincial Nominee Program.

    Rewrite Language Exams

    A small increase in language test scores can have a big effect on the overall score, so it is often useful for you or your spouse to re-write language tests.

    Assess Spouse Language and Education

    If you have a spouse or common-law partner, points can be added if they also get a language exam, and assess their education.

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