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Federal Skilled Trades Program is one of the three federal programs managed under the Express Entry online system. This program is dedicated to skilled workers with experience in one of the approved trades. Occasionally, Express Entry dedicates a Round of Invitations solely to candidates that qualified under this program, which represents an excellent opportunity for those with a lower score.

How does it work?

Candidates interested in obtaining permanent residence through Federal Skilled Worker Program must first meet the program’s requirements. Qualified candidates may proceed to calculating their score under the Comprehensive Ranking System and submitting an online Express Entry Profile. Your Express Entry profile with an official score will be parked in so called pool of qualified applicants. Periodically, Express Entry will draw candidates with the highest score from this pool and invite them to apply for permanent residence. These draws are called ‘Rounds of Invitation.’ About two times a year, based on current records, Express Entry dedicates a Round of Invitation to qualified candidates under Federal Skilled Trades Program alone. As a result, the points required to be invited drop substantially and many candidates, otherwise without a prospect to be invited, may proceed with their permanent residence application.

Exclusive Federal Skilled Trades Program Draw

Express Entry draws (i.e. Rounds of Invitations) take places approximately every two weeks. Most of these rounds choose from candidates of all three Express Entry programs. A Federal Skilled Trades Program Draw, solely dedicate to this program, occurs about two times every 12 months. In some instances, the draw is shared with other selected groups of qualified applicants. Nonetheless, the primary objective of the federal government is to give an opportunity to apply for permanent residence to applicants employed in trades who may have lower score under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) due to possible lack of post-secondary education or higher language ability.

Express Entry Rounds of Invitations

Exclusive Federal Skilled Trades Program Draws

Round of Invitations Number

Date of the Round

Minimum Score Needed

117

May 15, 2019

332

100

September 24, 2018

284

91

May 30, 2018

288

76

November 1, 2017

241

64

May 26, 2017

199

Federal Skilled Trades Program Minimum Requirements

All candidates for Federal Skilled Trades Program must meet the following minimum requirements:

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Language Ability

Federal Skilled Trades Program has the lowest required language ability of the three federal programs under Express Entry. In order to qualify, candidates must take one of the approved language exams and score at minimum CLB 5 for speaking and listening and CLB 4 for reading and writing. However, candidates may want to strive for higher scores in order to obtain more points under Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Use this conversion table to compare your language exam result to CLB levels (Canadian Language Benchmark).

Work Experience

Candidates under the Federal Skilled Trades program must show at least 2 years of full-time work experience in the trade, under which they apply. The experience must be obtained within 5 years prior to applying for permanent residence. Alternatively, part-time experience is also considered. In terms of part-time work, candidates may work more or less than 15 hours/week as long as the total hours come to 3,120 hours within the 5-year period. See examples below.

You can meet this requirements in several ways:

Equal amount in part-time

30 hours/week for 24 months = 2 years full time (3,120 hours)

Equal amount in part-time

15 hours/week for 48 months = 2 years full time (3,120 hours)

Full-time at more than 1 job

30 hours/week for 24 months at more than 1 job = 2 years full time (3,120 hours)

Permitted Skilled Trades

Unlike other programs under Express Entry, Federal Skilled Trades Program is limited to only one category of skilled workers. Specifically, the program accepts only candidates with experience in NOC B (National Occupational Classification). Furthermore, specifically the following subcategories are eligible.

Eligible Trades Under Federal Skilled Trades Program

NOC B Sub-Group

General Characteristic

Examples of Occupations

Major Group 72

Industrial, Electrical and Construction Trades

Sheet Metal Worker, Boilermaker, Welder, Industrial Electricians, Bricklayer, Carpenter, Concrete Finisher, etc…

Major Group 73

Maintenance and Equipment operation trades

Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics, Elevator Mechanics, Autobody Repairers, etc…

Major Group 82

Supervisors and Technical Jobs in Natural Resources, Agriculture and Related Production

Supervisors in Mining and Quarrying, Mining Machine Operator, Shaft Inspector, Fisherman, etc…

Major Group 92

Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities Supervisors and Central Control Operators

Supervisors in Food and Beverage Processing, Supervisor in Motor Vehicle Assembly. Waste and Water Treatment Plant Operators, etc…

Minor Group 632

Chefs and Cooks

Executive Chef, Chef, Pastry Chef, Cook, Hospital Cook, Line Cook, Second Cook, etc…

Minor Group 633

Butchers and Bakers

Supermarket Meer Cutter, Retail Butcher, Butcher in Wholesale, Baker, Bread Baker, Wedding Cake Decorator, etc…

Valid Job Offer

In order to qualify for Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), a candidates must have a valid job offer. This means that the offer is:

  • made by one or maximum two employers
  • for continuous, paid, full-time work (at least 30 hours a week)
  • offering employment for at least one year after approved for permanent residence
  • in a skilled trade occupation permitted under FSTP.

Your job offer must be further supported by:

  • a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) that names you and the position, which you are being offered OR
  • you are currently working in Canada in the skilled trade and you have a work permit that was issued based on a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment. Your permit is valid and you are working for the employer listed on the document, and you have been offered a job in the same trade as your current job OR
  • you have a work permit that is exempt from requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment; and you currently work for the employer specified on your work permit; you have worked for this employer full-time for at least one year (or part-time equivalent) and you have a job offer from this employer.

Provincial Certificate of Qualification

Candidates who do not have a job offer may choose to obtain a provincial Certificate of Qualification. In order to obtain a certificate, you will likely need to get your trade skills assess by a relevant provincial or federal governing body. You may need to demonstrate Canadian work experience as well as take knowledge tests. For each trade, the process is different. 

If your trade is not regulated by a province or territory, it may be federally regulated (for example, airplane mechanic). You can find out who regulates your trade by visiting the website of the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials.

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