Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) in 2013 to offer a dedicated immigration pathway to skilled trades workers. Federal Skilled Trades Application 

The FSTP is one of three federal economic programs managed by the Government of Canada’s Express Entry system. Express Entry is the primary way Canada welcomes economically skilled workers to immigrate to the country. Under its Immigration Levels Plan, Canada aims to welcome over 400,000 new immigrants annually, with an average of 110,000 annual immigration spots allocated to Express Entry.

The federal skilled trades program is a federal employee training program that allows you to work in a trade for the government. It’s a fantastic opportunity to earn money while learning new skills and gaining valuable experience working with your hands. Just because it’s called the “skilled trades” doesn’t mean you can’t be a jack of all trades!

What is the Federal Skilled Trades Program?

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is a new federal program designed to attract skilled workers from abroad who are currently living in Canada or the United States to come and work in their field of expertise in Canada. The FSTP is different from other programs because it does not require that an employer sponsor applicant; instead, you apply directly with Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This means that if you have experience working as a carpenter or electrician but don’t want to stay at your current job anymore, this might be an option!

The FSTP differs from other federal programs, such as the Express Entry stream, because it allows people to work in their field for at least one year within five years before applying for permanent residence status in Canada. This means that even if someone had never worked as an electrician before but was able to do so during their time here on student visas or visitor visas – they could still qualify under these rules!


How To Apply For The Federal Skilled Trades Program

The FSTP application process is simple, and you can start it by following these steps:

  • Download the application form from the IRCC website. You can also find it on this page of our site if you’re looking for a specific version of the document (for example, one that’s in French).
  • Please fill out the form and submit it online at Make sure to include all of your documents with your submission! This provides proof of language proficiency (if applicable), education credentials and work experience related to your field(s) of interest–more details about why these things make you qualified for immigration under FSTP will help us assess whether or not we should recommend your application to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen when making final decisions about who gets accepted into Canada through this program each year.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can pursue immigration to Canada through the FSTP:

Step 1: See if you meet the FSTP’s eligibility criteria. CanadaVisa has a free eligibility tool.

Step 2: If you meet the eligibility criteria of the FSTP or another Express Entry program, you will need to complete an English and French language test officially recognized by IRCC. If you have studied abroad in an eligible program, you may also want to claim the additional CRS points you qualify for by obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment. ReadMore

Step 3: Submit your Express Entry profile on IRCC’s website for free.

Step 4: Follow IRCC’s Express Entry draws to see if you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Draws tend to take place every two weeks.

Step 5: If you receive an ITA, submit your completed permanent residence application to IRCC within the specified deadline. IRCC’s processing standard for endless residence applications is six months or less for most applicants.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, you must

  • meet the required language levels for each language ability
    • writing
    • reading
    • listening
    • speaking
  • have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in a skilled trade within the five years before you apply
    • your work experience must be for paid work (paid wages or earned commission—volunteer work or unpaid internships don’t count)
  • meet the job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification, except for needing a certificate of qualification
  • have a

Selection Criteria

The selection process is based on a points system. You must have a minimum of 60 points in the skilled trades category, which includes:

  • Work experience in Canada or abroad (years)
  • Language proficiency (level)
  • Education (credentials and courses)

Factors considered in the selection process include education, work experience and language proficiency. Minimum requirements for selection include having one year of full-time paid employment as an electrician at Level 3 or higher on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) with an electrical contractor; or five years experience as an electrician at Level 2 or higher on NOC; plus either passing grade 6/7 English Language Proficiency Test OR Canadian Citizenship OR Permanent Residence status.

  • 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 utility supervisors and central control operators,
  • Minor Group 632: chefs and cooks, and
  • Minor Group 633: butchers and bakers.

FSTP candidates must plan to reside outside the province of Quebec. The area of Quebec selects its skilled workers through a unique immigration system. If you plan on immigrating to Quebec, please visit the Quebec Skilled Worker Program page for more information.

Benefits of the Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is a fast track to permanent residence in Canada for skilled workers who have a job offer from a Canadian employer. It’s also an opportunity to access free healthcare, social services, and more. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Permanent residence status in Canada
  • Access to employment opportunities
  • Pathway to citizenship

If you are an FSTP candidate with Canadian work experience, you are well-positioned to succeed in the Canadian labour market. IRCC provides a more Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) that points to candidates working in Canada and studying here.

Research by Canada’s governments and academics also shows that having Canadian experience is a significant advantage when obtaining permanent residence. The combination of the knowledge, connections, experience and skills you received while working in Canada will provide you with a labour market edge when you obtain permanent residence under the FSTP.

Language ability

You must

  • meet the minimum score of Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for speaking and listening, and Canadian Language Benchmark 4 for reading and writing
  • take approved language tests for
    • writing
    • reading
    • listening
    • speaking
  • enter the test results in your Express Entry profile

Your language tests are valid for two years after the test result date. They must be good on the day you apply for Permanent Residence.

Proof of funds

You must show that you have enough money for you and your family to settle in Canada unless you

  • are currently able to work in Canada legally and
  • have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada


The Federal Skilled Trades Program is a great way to get a job in Canada. It’s not a fast process, but it is worth it! The government has made the process easier by eliminating language proficiency requirements for specific occupations and reducing processing times for many applications.

However, they have also made it more difficult by requiring specific training and experience to qualify as an eligible applicant under one of the above categories (i.e., no longer accepting general applications). They have also changed some of the rules around what types of jobs qualify as “skilled trades” positions and how much time you must spend working at each place before you can apply through FSTP again (i.e., no longer accepting “periodic” applications).


Federal Skilled Trades Program