Federal Skilled Trades (FST) Program: Canada Express Entry

The Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program is one of the three federal immigration programs managed by the Express Entry system.

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As it is with all Express Entry programs, FST uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to rank interested candidates against each other, only inviting the lead competitive candidates to submit an application for Canadian permanent residence.

Each year, more than half of all immigrants to Canada are skilled workers welcomed through economic programs, including the Federal Skilled Trades program.

For qualified tradespersons, the FST program is often a quick option for obtaining Canadian permanent residence, and with it, the authorization to stay and work in Canada permanently.

Eligibility Requirement for the FST Program

To be eligible, you must

  • meet the specified language levels for every language ability
    • writing
    • reading
    • listening
    • speaking
  • have a minimum of 2 years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) within a skilled trade within the 5 years before you apply
  • have obtained work experience from a paid work (paid wages or earned commission—volunteer work or unpaid internships don’t count)
  • meet the work requirements for that skilled trade as put out by the National Occupational Classification (NOC), apart from needing a certificate of qualification

have a

  • valid job offer of full-time employment for a complete period of a minimum of 1 year or
  • certificate of qualification therein skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority

Skilled Work Experience

Skilled trades associated with the Federal Skilled Trades Program are arranged under these groups of the National Occupational Classification (NOC):

  • 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
  • Minor Group 633, butchers and bakers

The major NOC groups are subdivided into different occupations and are all skill B.

You must show that you have performed the duties laid out within the lead statement of the occupational description within the NOC. This includes all the essential duties and most of the principal duties listed.

If an applicant fails to show that their experience meets the outlined descriptions within the NOC, their application will be refused.

The work experience is only valid after you have been deemed qualified to independently practice the occupation.

Education

There are no requisites for education under the Federal Skilled Trades Program. But, if you would like to enhance your rank within the Express Entry pool, there are 2 ways you’ll do that.

  • If you visited a school in Canada, you’ll get points for a certificate, diploma, or degree from a Canadian:
    • secondary institution (high school) or
    • post-secondary institution

or

  • If you obtained foreign education, you’ll get points for a completed educational credential, if you also have an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report for immigration reasons from a delegated organization showing that your education is equivalent to a completed certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian:
    • secondary institution (high school) or
    • post-secondary institution

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
  • insert the results of the test into your Express Entry profile

Your language tests are valid for a limited period of two years after the date of the test result. They have to be authentic on the day you apply for permanent residence.

Proof of funds

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

 

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

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

Nonetheless, candidates should note that they have to meet Canada’s basic admissibility requirements. Certain criminal offenses and medical conditions may make an individual inadmissible to Canada.

FST Application Procedure

If an individual meets these requirements, they will submit an Express Entry profile to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Submitting an Express Entry profile doesn’t guarantee a candidate will receive Canadian permanent residence.

Only upon submission of 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 is going to be required to supply information from several documents:

  • Language Proficiency Test Results

All candidates under the Express Entry programs are required to provide results from an approved language test taken within the previous two years.

  • Identification Documents

Candidates are going to be required to supply information from identification documents. Ideally, a candidate and every one of their accompanying relation should possess passports valid for travel.

Though educational documents aren’t required for FST, an applicant must have certain documentation in order for them to claim points for education:

  • Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA)

In order for them to claim points for education, an FST candidate must provide an authentic ECA report attesting to the worth of foreign education by Canadian standards.

There are five organizations in Canada authorized to issue ECA reports. This is often not required for educational credentials obtained from a Canadian institution.

Since the Express Entry system launched in 2015, the least 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 ought to actively pursue options for improving their score.

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