Federal Skilled Worker Program
Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) is one of the three federal programs managed under Express Entry. The programs is mainly designed for skilled workers with foreign work experience who want to immigrate to Canada permanently. The key difference of this program is its points system based on Selection Factors. Read on to find out if you qualify.
Do I need a Job Offer for Federal Skilled Worker Program?
This is a very common question. The short answer is no. It is not required to have a job offer from a Canadian employer. However, without a job offer you will not obtain Federal Skilled Worker points under the Selection Criteria as well as under the Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). This means that you will need to compensate for the lost points with higher scores for language ability, work experience and/or education. If you intend to find employment, find out what the requirements for a valid job offer are.
Main Federal Skilled Worker Program Requirements
At minimum, candidates for the program must:
- have English or French language ability level of CLB 7
- have foreign or Canadian work experience in a skilled occupation (NOC 0, A or B). Find your NOC.
- have 1 full year of continuous full-time or part-time equivalent work experience in the same skilled occupation (NOC 0, A or B)
- have secondary education
- meet 67 points in Selection Criteria
- have minimum funds (for candidates without an employment offer and authorization to work in Canada)
Submit Your Resume (CV)
Candidates must take one of the approved language exams to demonstrate their English and/or French language ability. Candidates must prove their ability at CLB 7 (Canadian Language Benchmark) for writing, reading, listening and speaking. It is required to score at least CLB 7 level for each of the four abilities separately. Average score is not relevant for Express Entry. See the Conversion Table for comparing your score to CLB levels. See approved English and French Language tests.
Skilled Work Experience
In order to qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, your work experience must, as the name of the program suggest, be in a skilled occupation. Precisely, your work experience must be in an occupation that, according to National Occupational Classification (NOC), falls under:
- Level 0 (zero) Managerial Jobs (e.g. restaurant managers, human resources manager, construction managers, etc.)
- Level A Professional Jobs (e.g. civil engineers, architects, land surveyors, etc.)
- Level B Technical Jobs and Skilled Trades (e.g. restaurant supervisors, mechanics, carpenters, etc.)
In addition, your skilled work experience must be:
- in the same occupation (have the same NOC) as the one you will be using for your Federal Skilled Worker immigration application. This occupation is called ‘Primary Occupation.’
- within the last 10 years. This means that at the time of submission of your application, you must have at least 1 full year of full-time or equivalent work experience within the past 10 years.
- paid work experience (volunteer work and unpaid internships do not count.)
- at least 1 year of continuous work or 1,560 hours total (30 hours per week)
You can meet this requirements in several ways:
Full-time at 1 job
30 hours/week for 12 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)
Equal amount in part-time
15 hours/week for 24 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)
Full-time at more than 1 job
30 hours/week for 12 months at more than 1 job = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)
Federal Skilled Worker Program requires that candidates have at least secondary (high school) education to qualify. This is a minimum requirement and any post-secondary education will earn candidates additional points under the Selection Criteria. If you have foreign education, you will need to obtain an Educational Credential Report from an approved agency (i.e. Designated Organizations).
Apart from the basic requirements, Federal Skilled Worker Program candidates must get at least 67 out of 100 points based on Selection Criteria grid. This is a different system than Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and it should not be confused. You can calculate your Federal Skilled Worker points by reviewing the following criteria:
- work experience
- whether you have a valid job offer
- English and/or French language skills
- adaptability (likelihood that you will settle well in Canada)
First Official Language (maximum 24 points)
First official language
CLB level 9 or higher
CLB level 8
CLB level 7
Below CLB level 7
Not eligible to apply
Not eligible to apply
Not eligible to apply
Not eligible to apply
Second Official Language (maximum 4 points)
At least CLB 5 in all of the 4 abilities
CLB 4 or less in any of the 4 abilities
Your Education (maximum 25 points)
Doctoral (PhD) level
Professional degree. Occupation related to the degree must be:
- NOC 2016 Skill Level A, and
- licensed by a provincial regulatory body
- Professional degrees in: Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Podiatry, Optometry, Law, Chiropractic Medicine, or Pharmacy
Two or more post-secondary credentials, one of which is a three-year or longer post-secondary credential
Three-year or longer post-secondary credential
Two-year post-secondary credential
One-year post-secondary credential
Secondary school/high school diploma
Your Work Experience (maximum 15 points)
6 or more years
Your Age (maximum 12 points)
18 – 35
47 and older
Arranged Employment in Canada
Valid Job Offer (maximum 10 points)
You can get points if you have a job offer of at least 1 year from a Canadian employer. You must get the job offer before you apply to come to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker.
A valid job offer has to be:
- for continuous, paid, full-time work (minimum of 30 hours/week) that is:
- not seasonal
- for at least 1 year
- in an occupation listed as Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B of the NOC.
We must be convinced that:
- you’re able to do the job offered to you
- you’ll be able to become licensed or certified when in Canada (if the occupation is regulated in Canada)
Adaptability in Canada
The below factors will help us assess how well you and your spouse (if applicable) can settle in Canada (maximum 10 points)
Your spouse or partner’s language level
Your spouse or common-law partner has a language level in either English or French at CLB 4 level or higher in all 4 language abilities (speaking, listening, reading and writing). Results from an approved language test are required.
Your past studies in Canada
You completed at least 2 academic years of full-time study (in a program of at least 2 years long) at a secondary or post-secondary school in Canada.
Full-time study means at least 15 hours of classes per week. You must have stayed in good academic standing (as set out by the school) during that time.
Your past work in Canada
You have at least 1 year of full-time work experience in Canada:
- In a job listed in Skill Type 0 or Skill Levels A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
- And, with a valid work permit, or while authorized to work in Canada.
Your spouse or common-law partner’s past work in Canada
Your spouse or partner have at least 1 year of full-time work experience in Canada on a valid work permit or while authorized to work in Canada.
Relatives in Canada
You, or your spouse or common-law partner, have a relative who is:
- living in Canada
- 18 years or older and
- a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
This relative must be a:
- your or your spouse’s sibling (child of your or your spouse’s parent)
- your or your spouse’s aunt or uncle (by blood or marriage)
- your or your spouse’s niece or nephew (grandchild of your or your spouse’s parent)
Candidates interested in the Federal Skilled Worker Program must show that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their family in Canada. You do not need to show funds if you are authorized to work in Canada (i.e. have a work permit or are allowed to work without a work permit) and you have a valid job offer.
In the table below, you can verify whether you have enough funds to qualify. In your calculation, you must include yourself, and if applicable: your spouse, your dependent children and the dependent children of your spouse (if different from yours). You can only use fund that are available to you momentarily. For example, you cannot use the value of your real estate property.
Proof of Funds
Number of family members
(in Canadian dollars)
For each additional family member
Valid Job Offer Requirements
Although not required, some candidates may be able to secure a job offer from a Canadian employer. A valid job offer can provide additional points within the FSW Selection Criteria as well as in Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). In order to receive extra points, you must have a valid job offer. This means that the offer is:
- made by one employer
- for continuous, paid, full-time work (at least 30 hours a week)
- for a non-seasonal job
- offering employment for at least one year after the permanent residence is approved
- in a skilled occupation in levels NOC 0, A or B
Your job offer must be further supported by:
- a new 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 job (e.g. NOC 0, A or B) 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 by your current employer 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 in NOC 0, A or B occupation; 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.