Federal Skilled Worker

The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is one of the three programs contained within Canada’s Express Entry system for processing permanent residency applications. All programs within Express Entry are highly competitive, utilizing Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to rank candidates.

Check if you qualify as a federal skilled worker

What is the FSW program?

The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is managed under the Express Entry system and uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to rank candidates who wish to settle permanently in Canada. Unlike the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates, Federal Skilled Workers are not required to have Canadian work experience to enter the Express Entry pool. Instead, candidates must meet a minimum points requirement based on factors such as work experience, language ability, and education. Once in the pool, applicants with the most competitive CRS scores will receive invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Who is eligible to apply under the FSW program?

In order to qualify for the FSWP, a candidate must meet certain minimum requirements regarding years of experience, level of education, age, and English or French language proficiency:

  • Work Experience
    At least 12-months of continuous, full-time, skilled work experience completed within the previous 10 years (or an equal amount in part-time experience).

    • Skilled work experience refers to experience classified under NOC Skill Level 0, A, or B.
  • Language Proficiency
    Reach a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 7 on an approved English or French language test.
  • Education
    A minimum of a Canadian high school diploma or the equivalent in foreign education.
  • Financial Support
    Enough funds to support themselves and any spouse and/or children in their settlement in Canada.
  • Residence in Canada
    Must intend to live outside of the province of Quebec.

If a candidate meets the requirements listed above, they must also demonstrate that they score a minimum of 67 out of 100 points on the FSW eligibility points grid:

FactorPoints
Education25
Language Proficiency28
Age12
Work Experience15
Arranged Employment10
Adaptability10
Minimum Pass Score67

Factor 1: Education

Level of EducationPoints
Doctoral (PhD) level25
Master's level23
Two or more post-secondary degrees - at least one for a program of at least 3 years22
Post-secondary degree - 3 years or longer21
Post-secondary degree - 2 years19
Post-secondary degree - 1 year15
Secondary school5
Maximum25

Factor 2: Language Proficiency

Language Proficiency
EnglishIELTS ScorePoints
First Official LanguageSpeakingListeningReadingWriting
CLB 966666 pts/ability
CLB 855555 pts/ability
CLB 744444 pts/ability
Second Official Language (OPTIONAL)
*Score must be met in all four abilities44444 points
EnglishCELPIP ScorePoints
CLB 999996 pts/ability
CLB 888885 pts/ability
CLB 777774 pts/ability
Second Official Language (OPTIONAL)
*Score must be met in all four abilities55554 points
FrançaisMarque TEFPoints
Première langue officielleExpression oraleCompréhension de l'oraleCompréhension de l'écritExpression écrite
NCLC 9371+298+248+371+6 pts/compétence
NCLC 8349-370280-297233-247349-3705 pts/compétence
NCLC 7310-348249-279207-232310-3484 pts/compétence
Seconde langue officielle (OPTIONELLE)
*vous devez atteindre le seuil minimal dans chacune des quatre compétences linguistiques226-371+181-298+151-248+226-371+4 points
FrançaisMarque TCFPoints
Première langue officielleExpression oraleCompréhension de l'oraleCompréhension de l'écritExpression écrite
NCLC 914+523+524+14+6 pts/compétence
NCLC 812-13503-522499-52312-135 pts/compétence
NCLC 710-11458-502453-49810-114 pts/compétence
Seconde langue officielle (OPTIONELLE)
*vous devez atteindre le seuil minimal dans chacune des quatre compétences linguistiques6+369-397+375-405+6+4 points
Maximum28

Factor 3: Age

AgePoints
Under 180
18-3512
3611
3710
389
398
407
416
425
434
443
452
461
47 and older0
Maximum12

Factor 4: Work Experience

Work ExperiencePoints
6 or more years15
4-5 years13
2-3 years11
1 year9
Maximum15

Factor 5: Arranged Employment

Arranged EmploymentPoints
IfAnd
You currently work in Canada on a temporary work permit.Your work permit is valid both when you apply and when the visa is issued (or you are authorized to work in Canada without a work permit when your visa is issued)

and

IRCC issued your work permit based on a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Your employer would have applied for the LMIA, which you then had to attach to your application to IRCC

and

You are working for an employer named on your work permit who has made a permanent job offer based on you being accepted as a skilled worker.
10
You currently work in Canada in a job that is exempt from the LMIA requirement under an international agreement (such as, the North America Free Trade Agreement) or a federal-provincial agreement.Your work permit is valid both when you apply and when the visa is issued (or you are authorized to work in Canada without a work permit when your visa is issued)

and

Your current employer has made a permanent job offer based on you being accepted as a skilled worker

and

You have been working for that employer for at least 1 continuous year, full-time or part-time equivalent.
10
You currently do not have a work permit, or do not plan to work in Canada before you get a permanent resident visa.

OR

You are currently working in Canada and a different employer has offered to give you a permanent full-time job

OR

You are currently working in Canada in a job that is exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment, but not under an international or federal-provincial agreement.
An employer has made you a permanent job offer based on you being accepted as a skilled worker

and

The employer has a positive Labour Impact Assessment from ESDC
10
Maximum10

Factor 6: Adaptability

AdaptabilityPoints
Your past work in Canada

You did at least one year of full-time work in Canada (NOC Skill Type 0, A or B) with a valid work permit or while authorized to work in Canada.
10
Your spouse or partner's full-time work in Canada

Your spouse or common-law partner did at least one year of full-time work in Canada on a valid work permit or while authorized to work in Canada.
5
Your past study in Canada

You finished at least two academic years of full-time (15 hrs/week) study in a program at least two years long at a secondary or post-secondary school in Canada, and stayed in good academic standing during that time.
5
Your spouse or partner's past study in Canada

Your spouse or common-law partner finished at least two academic years of full-time (15 hrs/week) study in a program at least two years long at a secondary or post-secondary school in Canada, and stayed in good academic standing during that time.
5
Arranged Employment in Canada

You earned points under Factor 5: Arranged Employment
5
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 four language abilities (IELTS Listening 4.0, Reading 4.5, Writing 3.5, Speaking 4.0)
5
Relatives in Canada

You, or your spouse or common-law partner, have a relative who is living in Canada AND 18 years or older AND a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, either a:

  • parent,

  • grandparent,

  • child,

  • grandchild,

  • child of a parent (sibling),

  • child of a grandparent (aunt or uncle),

  • or grandchild of a parent (niece or nephew)

5
Maximum10

 

Provided a candidate meets these requirements, they will be eligible to submit an Express Entry profile for the Federal Skilled Worker 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.

How can I apply under the FSW program?

Interested candidates must 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 your Express Entry profile, an FSW candidate will need to provide the following documents:

  • Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA)
    In order to claim points for education, an FSW candidate must provide a valid ECA report attesting to the value of foreign education by Canadian standards. There are five organizations in Canada authorized to issue ECA reports. This is not required for educational credentials obtained from a Canadian educational institution.
  • Language Proficiency Test Results
    All candidates under the Express Entry programs must provide results from an approved language test taken within the previous two years. Accepted tests for English include the IELTS exam, and the CELPIP exam (only available in Canada). Accepted tests for French include the Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) and the Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada).
  • Identification Documents
    Candidates will be required to provide information from identification documents. Ideally, a candidate and all accompanying family members should possess passports valid for travel.

If a candidate is successful in receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence, they will move onto the second stage of the application process. In this second stage, the applicant will have 60 days to prepare and submit an electronic Application for Permanent Residence (eAPR). This application requires further documentation.

Since the Express Entry system launched in 2015, the lowest ranking FSW candidate to receive an ITA held a CRS score of 413 points. If an applicant’s CRS score is below this score, they should actively pursue options for improving their score.

What is foreign work experience?

To be eligible to submit an Express Entry profile, Federal Skilled Workers must have at least one year of full-time (or part-time equivalent) foreign work experience. Foreign work experience is any paid work experience acquired outside of Canada within the past 10 years.

The work experience must be in National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type A, B, or 0. To determine the skill type of your work, you will first need to find your NOC code.

How do I calculate CRS points for foreign work experience?

After submitting an Express Entry profile, Federal Skilled Workers are ranked against one another in the pool of candidates and given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Foreign work experience is calculated as part of the skill transferability factors of the CRS score in combination with a candidate’s official language proficiency and Canadian work experience.

Having three or more years of foreign work experience will allow you to claim the highest amount of points under these factors.

Foreign Work Experience and Official Language Proficiency

Years of ExperiencePoints for foreign work experience + CLB 7Points for foreign work experience + CLB 9
No foreign work experience 00
1-2 years of foreign work experience 1325
3+ years of foreign work experience 2550

Foreign Work Experience and Canadian Work Experience

Years of ExperiencePoints for foreign work experience + 1 year of Canadian work experience Points for foreign work experience + 2 or more years of Canadian work experience
No foreign work experience 00
1-2 years of foreign work experience 1325
3+ years of foreign work experience 2550

How do I calculate FSW points for part-time work experience?

Part-time work for Federal Skilled Workers can be calculated one of two ways:

  1. Combining the total number of hours worked per week in two or more part-time, skilled roles (eg. 15 hrs/week in job A + 15 hrs/week in job B = 30 hrs/week)
  2. Combining the total hours worked in one part-time job over the period of two or more years (eg. 15 hrs/week for two years = 1 year equivalent of full-time work) 15 hours per week in one part-time job over a period of two years, etc).

All part-time roles must be in NOC skill type A, B, or 0 to be considered toward one’s eligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker program.

How long does it take to process an FSW application?

A Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Express Entry profile will remain valid in the pool of candidates for a period of 12 months.

If, while in the pool of candidates, you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), you will have 60 days to submit a full application and documentation to the Government of Canada.

The standard processing time for Express Entry applications is six months from the time the application is received by the Canadian authorities to the issuance of a permanent residence visa.

Additional factors may affect your processing time, including:

  • The complexity and/or completeness of your application
  • The ease with which the officer can confirm the information provided in your application
  • Adding an additional family member to your application

Am I required to show settlement funds for FSW?

Federal Skilled Workers are required to demonstrate that they can provide for themselves and their families once they settle in Canada.

The funds required for settlement depend on the number of family members included in your application. Please refer to the below table for the amount required for your family size.

Number of Family MembersFunds Required
1$13,213
2$16,449
3$20,222
4$24,553
5$27,847
6$31,407
7$34,967
For each additional family member$3,560
UpdatedJuly 15, 2021

For more information on what is accepted as proof of settlement funds, visit our Settlement Funds page.

If you are not able to demonstrate sufficient settlement funds, you can still apply as a Federal Skilled Worker if you first secure an offer of employment from a Canadian company.

What are the processing fees to apply under the FSW program?

The government processing fees must be remitted when submitting an application for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker program. These fees are separate from a candidate’s settlement funds, which must be demonstrated as part of the Federal Skilled Worker eligibility requirements.

The processing fees to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker program are as follows:

ApplicationProcessing fee in $ CAD
Principal applicant (Processing fee and right of permanent residence fee)$1325
Spouse, common-law or conjugal partner (with right of permanent residence fee)$1325
A dependent child under the age of 22 who is not a spouse or common-law/conjugal partner, or a dependent over the age of 22 who is unable to support themselves financially due to a physical or mental conditionAdd $225 each per dependent

Do I need to provide language test results for the FSW program?

To apply under the Federal Skilled Worker program, candidates must provide results from an approved language exam. To meet the minimum eligibly requirements, Federal Skilled Workers must score at least a CLB 7 or higher in each area of the language exam.

Is there an age limit to apply for under the FSW program?

There is no age limit to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program. However, after the age of 35, candidates will begin to lose points toward the FSW eligibility requirement. After the age of 29, candidates will also lose points toward the age factor of their Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS). For this reason, candidates with lower age points may need to increase their eligibility points and CRS score through other factors.

Can my spouse and children be included in my FSW application?

Individuals applying under the Federal Skilled Worker may include their children and spouse on their application for permanent residence. However, an applicant should consider how their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score may be affected when applying with a spouse.

Can I include my parents on my Federal Skilled Worker application?

Unfortunately, parents cannot be included on an application for permanent residence through the Federal Skilled Worker program. However, after becoming a permanent resident, you may be eligible to sponsor your parents to come to Canada.

Do I need a job offer to apply under the FSW Program?

A job offer is not required for the Federal Skilled Worker program. In fact, a large majority of candidates invited under the Express Entry system do not have a formal Canadian job offer. That said, having a valid job offer may increase a Federal Skilled Worker’s CRS score by 50-200 points. To qualify for these points, the job offer will likely require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

I have a criminal background or serious medical condition - can I still apply under the FSW program?

If you have a criminal record or serious medical condition, you may be considered inadmissible to Canada and unable to successfully apply under the Federal Skilled Worker program. However, inadmissibility is not necessarily a permanent ban from entering Canada. There are solutions available to help people otherwise considered inadmissible to enter Canada. Visit our inadmissibility page for more information.

Ready to
start?

Free Immigration Assessment

Discover your Canadian immigration options! Complete our free assessment today and a member of the Canadim Team will contact you to discuss your immigration to Canada.

Find out if you qualify to Immigrate to Canada

Related Links

Free assessment

Discover your Canadian immigration options. Get your free assessment now!