The Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program is one of the three federal immigration programs managed by the Express Entry system. As with all Express Entry programs, FST uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to rank interested candidates against one another, only inviting the most competitive candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Each year, over half of all immigrants to Canada are skilled workers welcomed through economic programs, including the Federal Skilled Trades program. For qualified tradespeople the FST program can be a fast option for obtaining Canadian permanent residence, and with it, the right to live and work in Canada permanently.
In order to qualify for FST, a candidate must have at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade (or an equal amount in part-time). This experience must have been obtained within the previous 5 years and only considers work experience obtained after an individual has been granted the certification to practice the trade in their country of residence.
Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) code, defines skilled trades as the following occupation groups:
|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|
If a person does possess the necessary work experience, they also must meet the other eligibility criteria outlined by the FST program:
Provided a candidate meets these requirements, they will be eligible to submit an Express Entry profile for the Federal Skilled Trades program. However, candidates should note that they must meet Canada’s basic admissibility requirements. Certain criminal offences and medical conditions may make a person inadmissible to Canada.
If a person meets these requirements, they can submit an Express Entry profile to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Submitting an Express Entry profile does not guarantee a candidate will receive Canadian permanent residence. Only after submitting an Express Entry profile will a candidate be assigned a CRS score and be considered in future Express Entry draws for Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residence.
When submitting an Express Entry profile, an FST candidate will be required to provide information from several documents:
Though educational documents are not required for FST, an applicant must have certain documentation in order to claim points for education:
Since the Express Entry system launched in 2015, the lowest ranking FST candidate to receive an ITA held a CRS score of 199 points. If an applicant’s CRS score is below this score they should actively pursue options for improving their score.
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