If you are seeking to move to another country or a job opportunity abroad, Canada is the right place to start. Unlike the popular belief that immigrating to Canada is difficult, it can be very easy, and you only need a bit of paperwork to get you started. One of the most popular immigration programs is the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people immigrate to Canada and many of them use this exact program to do so. The Federal Skilled Trades Program is managed by the Express Entry platform. What you need to do to join the FST program is to check your eligibility, join the pool, work on your CRS score, and make sure that you have your paperwork ready once you get the ITA – and that’s it.

What Is Federal Skilled Trades?

The Federal Skilled Trades (the FST program) is a program that allows you to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker. The program has its essential prerequisites, and it ranks you and other candidates using the CRS score. This score should provide you with ample opportunities to see how you rank among other candidates (an approximation) and it should also give you a chance to work on it – any improvement in the scale will increase your chances of getting elected.

The FST program is very popular – in particular, because the process is free to start, and you only have to pay the fees once the initial processing period is done. This already provides you with ample opportunities to save money and not invest in a program that you are not sure you will be able to pass. However, the FST program allows you to send in the paperwork and pay the fees only once you receive the ITA – which is a good indicator that you may be granted the PR status – Permanent Residence status.

This status is certain to improve your life – as many people who want to immigrate to Canada have the safety, educational aspects, and Canada’s great healthcare system in mind. However, on the way there, there are some prerequisites that you should be able to fulfill to make sure that your application is not for nothing. However, the FST program (as the majority of Canadian immigration programs are) is very transparent, so let’s have a look at the requirements that you should fulfill. 

Requirements for the Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades Program has very simple and lax prerequisites. Of course, this does not mean that doing the bare minimum is going to cut it for you – in fact, you will need to make sure that you score as many CRS points as possible – as this will significantly increase your chances of getting elected.

You will need to have some work experience, a language level, and some funds and be admissible to Canada. We will discuss all these requirements in more detail. You will also need to understand that not having some of the requirements will not dismiss you from the program, but also that these will bring in fewer CRS points.


One of the basic requirements of the FST program is that you need to have at least two years of skilled, full-time work experience accumulated over the past five years. When it comes to this, you can either have full-time work experience or an equivalent of part-time work experience. The experience should be in the trade that you are applying for and that you have a certificate of qualification for.

If you work more than full-time, only up to 30 hours a week can be recognized. This means that taking up extra shifts will not be counted towards this eligibility criteria. When it comes to part-time work, you will need to have an equivalent, but be careful with calculations – the work experience has to be gathered in the past 5 years, so working for 10 hours a week will never yield a two-year full-time equivalent.


Americans working in Canada probably have it easy – their language test results are always certain to pass the language exams unless we are talking about foreigners with poor English language ability and US papers. in any case, you will need the following band scores to be eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades program:

  • Reading – CLB score of 4
  • Writing – CLB score of 4
  • Speaking – CLB score of 5
  • Listening – CLB score of 5

Please beware that the language tests need to be official, recognized tests. They also need to come with a certificate, and an easy-to-verify registration number or an equivalent. Considering that there have been many instances of faked tests from questionable institutions of learning, the Canadian government recognizes only these tests:

  • English
    • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program
    • IELTS: International English Language Testing System
  • French
    • TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français
    • TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français

For some, this may still seem like too much, but in reality, most people with a high school level of English will be able to pass the tests and get sufficient knowledge to function in Canada. As the aforementioned tests use a different scale to the CLB scale, let’s consider the equivalents:


CLB Band ScoreSpeakingListeningReadingWriting
9 +9+9+9+9+


CLB Band ScoreListeningReadingWritingSpeaking
10+8.5 – 9.08.0 – 9.07.5 – 9.07.5 – 9.0

TEF Canada:

CLB Band ScoreSpeakingListeningReadingWriting
8349 – 370280 – 297233 – 247349 – 370
7310 – 348249 – 279207 – 232310 – 348
6271 – 309217 – 248181 – 206271 – 309
5226 – 270181 – 216151 – 180226 – 270
4181 – 225145 – 180121 – 150181 – 225

TCF Canada:

CLB Band ScoreSpeakingListeningReadingWriting
10+16 – 20549 – 699549 – 69916 – 20
914 – 15523 – 548524 – 54814 – 15
812 – 13503 – 522499 – 52312 – 13
710 – 11458 – 502453 – 49810 – 11
67 – 9398 – 457406 – 4527 – 9
56369 – 397375 – 4056
44 – 5331 – 368342 – 3744 – 5

Canadian Residence

If you already have Canadian temporary residence or Canadian work experience, this is a great way to increase your chances of getting accepted into the program. As you have spent some time in Canada, this should mean that you have become accustomed to the Canadian way of life, laws, and work culture. This is highly cherished during the immigration process.

However, even if you have no Canadian experience and have never set foot into the country, this should not mean that your chances of getting a Canadian PR (Permanent Residence) are slim. Quite on the contrary, as long as you have a clean criminal record, are in good health, and are willing to work on your skills and to be fully integrated into Canadian society, your FST application will be considered and possibly accepted.

Fund Proof

Proof of funds is usually on the prerequisites list in most immigration programs. Sometimes, it is called the ‘settlement funds’ or simply ‘sufficient funds for immigration’. The level of funds you need to have to be able to migrate to Canada is set by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This is done based on the number of family members traveling with you. Let’s consider them in more detail:

Number of Applicants on a Single ApplicationEvidence of Funds in CAD
Each Additional Family Member3,706


To be considered admissible to Canada, you will need to prove your admissibility on two levels: the medical and the criminal admissibility. The Canadian government is pretty serious about this one, so it is important to note that you should be truthful during your application. If you have been deemed inadmissible before, simply reapplying may not be enough: you should consider contacting an immigration consultant or an immigration lawyer.

When it comes to medical inadmissibility, it is important to note that this type of inadmissibility can be lifted after a while. For example, if you have traveled to a country or an area known for an epidemic outbreak, you may be deemed medically inadmissible for a year. After that, you may be deemed admissible again. However, when it comes to you having a medical state that may cost the Canadian insurance companies more than CAD100,000 (approximately) over 5 years, you may be deemed inadmissible for good.

Criminal inadmissibility, on the other hand, is somewhat more strict. Here, you should consider that even petty offenses, which may be seen very lightly in your own country can be frowned upon in Canada. A good example is a DUI – in Canada, this could easily deem you inadmissible, even if you got your Permanent Residence already (it can be revoked). If you have a police record or an ongoing investigation, it is probably best to hire an immigration lawyer.

Benefits of the Federal Skilled Trades Program

Skilled worker immigration is a necessity for Canada, as the Canadian economy relies heavily on the constant import of the workforce to ensure that all their job vacancies are filled in and to make sure that their industries can keep developing the way they should. When it comes to the FST program, it is important to say that the program is very popular and that the minimum score (the CRS score) that is required is never too high.

With all this in mind, there are many benefits to the program as well. If you are in the program, you will be able to get your PR status in as little as six months, as all programs under the Express Entry pretty much guarantee a six-month processing time. This is very short, and compared to some other developed nations, this is one of the fastest immigration programs on the planet.

Another benefit of the FST is that the program is that there is no education requirement. In addition to this, this economic immigration program also has more lax eligibility requirements and it puts you in the pool for a possible PNP draw. A PNP draw is a draw made by the Canadian provinces, which seek a specific profile of immigrants to fill in their own immigration needs. These programs help many who do not meet all the eligibility criteria for the FST itself to get elected and get their PNP nomination. Considering that the PNP nomination brings in 600 (out of 1200) CRS points, this is almost a sure way to the PR status in Canada.

For those who have Canadian work experience, this can be another benefit – as there are more CRS points for those who do. It does not bring in as many points as the provincial nomination, but it still helps. Canada cherishes people with experience and people who work hard, this is why permanent residents are always very successful – because permanent residency is reserved for those willing to work their way up.

How to Apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s go and consider how to apply for the program. When it comes to the application process itself, you will need to make an IRCC account, and you will also need a separate Express Entry profile. You will need to make them in this order, as you will need the IRCC registration number to open the Express Entry. Once this is done, you should check your eligibility.

Two Years Minimum of Relevant Experience

The first thing that you should do is consider how many years of full-time experience you have. You can do this by calculating and adding up your work hours. You should have a total of 1,560 work hours per year, or 3,120 for two years. When it comes to the work hours, they can be dispersed over five years, but you will need a minimum of 3,120 to apply. Be sure to have documents to prove this, as you will need this during the second part of the Express Entry FST application.

Make Sure Your Trade Is Listed by Checking

Then, you should check whether your trade is listed in the NOC system and whether you can use your trade to apply for the FST program. If it is not listed, you can still apply, but the question is whether your application will be accepted. If your exact work position is not listed, it is always advisable to check and see what you can do to secure a position that is listed as acceptable by the FST program. When it comes to this, it is important to note that you can always take new certifications and seek new work experience.

This is a viable way to increase your chances of getting your PR through the FST program. Being able to get an education and work experience in a field that Canada is looking for is a great way to show that you are willing to immigrate. We recommend that in these cases you look for a field that is close to your current field of work expertise and education, as this can be a long and strenuous process. Here are some of the trades that are accepted by the Federal Skilled Trades:

Major Group 72industrial, electrical, and construction trades
Major Group 73maintenance and equipment operation trades
Major Group 82supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources;
supervisors and technical jobs in agriculture and related industries
Major Group 83natural resources, agriculture, and related production-related occupations
Major Group 92processing supervisors and central control operators;
manufacturing supervisors and central control operators;
utility supervisors and central control operators
Minor Group 632chefs and cooks
Minor Group 633butchers and bakers

Major Group 72

NOC CodeJob Description/Position
72010Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades, and telecommunications occupations
72011Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades, and telecommunications occupations
72012Contractors and supervisors, pipefitting trades
72013Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
72014Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
72020Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
72021Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
72022Supervisors, printing, and related occupations
72023Supervisors, railway transport operations
72024Supervisors, motor transport, and other ground transit operators
72100Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
72102Sheet metal workers
72106Welders and related machine operators
72200Electricians (except industrial and power systems)
72201Industrial electricians
72202Power system electricians
72203Electrical power line and cable workers
72204Telecommunications line and cable installers and repairers
72205Telecommunications equipment installation and cable television service technicians
72301Steamfitters, pipefitters, and sprinkler system installers
72302Gas fitters
72400Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
72401Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
72402Heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning mechanics
72403Railway carmen/women
72404Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
72405Machine fitters
72406Elevator constructors and mechanics
72410Automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics, and mechanical repairers
72411Auto body collision, refinishing, and glass technicians and damage repair estimators
72420Oil and solid fuel heating mechanics
72421Appliance servicers and repairers
72422Electrical Mechanics
72423Motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, and other related mechanics
72429Other small engine and small equipment repairers
72500Crane operators
72501Water well drillers
72999Other technical trades and related occupations

Major Group 73

NOC CodeJob Description/Position
73100Concrete finishers
73101Tile setters
73102Plasterers, drywall installers, finishers and lathers
73110Roofers and shinglers
73112Painters and decorators (except interior decorators)
73113Floor covering installers
73200Residential and commercial installers and servicers
73201General building maintenance workers and building superintendents
73202Pest controllers and fumigators
73209Other repairers and servicers
73300Transport truck drivers
73301Bus drivers, subway operators, and other transit operators
73310Railway and yard locomotive engineers
73311Railway conductors and brakemen/women
73400Heavy equipment operators
73401Printing press operators
73402Drillers and blasters – surface mining, quarrying, and construction

Major Group 82

NOC CodeJob Description/Position
82010Supervisors, logging and forestry
82020Supervisors, mining and quarrying
82021Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling and services
82030Agricultural service contractors and farm supervisors
82031Contractors and supervisors, landscaping, grounds maintenance, and horticulture services

Major Group 83

NOC CodeJob Description/Position
83100Underground production and development miners
83101Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers, and related workers
83110Logging machinery operators
83120Fishing masters and officers

Meet the Requirements

If your current work position corresponds to the National Occupational Classification (NOC categorization), you’re in luck. If it is not on the list, then, you can then proceed with all other requirements. Your job requirements (including whether you have an eligible occupation), educational qualifications (certifications, etc.), and all other eligibility requirements. Checking this is essential, as making an application without meeting all the requirements is not advisable – you will be declined or asked to provide additional documents – if you fail to do so, your application will be declined again.

Create a Profile for Express Entry

The next logical step is to make the profile for Express Entry. We’ve explained above that this is a two-step process: you will need to make the IRCC account, and then use the registration number from the IRCC to make the Express Entry account. There, you will choose the program that you want to apply for (in this case, the Federal Skilled Trades program), and you will be able to proceed to enter all your details. It is here that you will receive your CRS score.

CRS score (or the Comprehensive Ranking System score) is a type of score that you can use to see how likely you are to pass in one of the upcoming draw cycles. When it comes to this score, it is not fixed in stone, and there is a lot that you can do to secure more CRS points.

Increase Your CRS Profile and Ranking

When it comes to the CRS score and how you can increase it, there are several ways to do so. First, you should use the CRS score calculator to see how many CRS points you have. Now, play with the different options a little bit, and make sure to revise all of them. You should be able to see how each new option increases or decreases your CRS score.

Once you have identified what changes make the biggest difference, it is time to work on those to increase your CRS score. Although the FST program does not require educational credentials for you to be considered for this type of federal immigration program, you may still want to consider getting credentials or certification in your field of study. An increase in the language level can also boost your CRS score and so can more work experience. When it comes to full-time employment, a minimum is 2 years, but more cannot hurt either.

Besides this, having a valid job offer is a big plus, so you should consider visiting JobBank Canada to see if you can land a job even before you apply. Many Canadian employers know that finding a job and then applying for the FST is a harsh reality for many, so they are willing to wait for you to finish your application process.

Request to Apply

The first step or the first part of the immigration process through the FST program is self-reported. You will not be asked to send your documents that should prove that your statements were correct. This gives you a valuable chance to improve your skilled work experience and improve your permanent residence application. As all this information will be reviewed by the federal authority, we advise that you be truthful.

Any changes that you make during the application process will be visible to the visa agents going through your application during the second part of the process. For this reason, only make changes to your application once they have happened – whether this was you retaking your language exam, getting more educational documents, or anything else. If you have proof that your settlement funds increased, you can make the changes as well.

In the initial stage of the process, your application will be reviewed. This is a free step, and you will be asked to pay no fees. If your profile stands out in the pool of candidates, you will be sent an ITA. An ITA is an Invitation to Apply, and will only be sent to the highest-ranking candidates. If you are among the eligible candidates and you have received the ITA, you will have to accept it.

Complete Other Requirements

After you have accepted it, you will only have a fixed window to send in all the documents. When it comes to the Federal Skilled Trades workers, you will need to have all the necessary documents beforehand, to expedite the process. The first stage of the application can be as short as a few weeks, or as long as a full year – as this is how long your application will stay in the system. The second part of the process lasts up to six months, if everything is OK with your documents, and you did not miss uploading any of them.

When it comes to the necessary documents, you will need to submit the following:

  • Valid passport or other travel document
  • Language test results
  • Proof of Canadian education or an ECA – Educational Credential Assessment
  • PNP nomination – if applicable
  • Written job offer in Canada – if applicable – it has to contain your details, the details of the employer and their contact information, the exact position you will be working in, as well as your work duties, and the location you will be working in, in case the employer has multiple locations
  • Proof of work experience
  • Proof of funds
  • Foreign education certificate or diploma for the job you work on or plan to work on in Canada. The certificate should have been valid for the duration of the work experience you will be using during the application process, if it was not, your work experience will not be taken into consideration
  • Police certificates, clearing you of any investigation or criminal record
  • Birth certificate for all children you will be taking with you – the federal government is very serious about foreign nationals and children they bring in with themselves – as children are potential immigrants and very vulnerable, it is a priority to make them as safe as possible. If the child is adopted, you will need to have an adoption certificate
  • Marriage certificate, divorce certificate or legal separation agreement, common-law union form, whichever applies to your case, including a death certificate if you are a widow
  • Proof of a relationship to a relative in Canada, if applicable
  • Digital photographs of you and all other applicants
  • Any additional identification documents that may be used to prove you have other names, aliases, variable spellings of your name, etc.
  • Medical examination results
  • Any other documents that may be relevant to your application
  • Any additional documents you may be asked to submit
  • Proof of processing fee payment, and all other fees that your program may ask you to provide

Review of Your Electronic Application

After you send all the documents in, you will have to wait. An agent or a Canadian immigration officer will go through your application to make sure that all the documents can be verified and that they match the self-reported details. If there have been any last-minute changes that cannot be proven through the documents you have provided, this may be seen as a red flag – make sure you only make the changes once they take place.

Obtain Proof of Your Residence Status

When it comes to the proof of your residence status, or the permanent resident status, once your documents have been verified and you have been deemed acceptable for immigration, you will receive your COPR – the Confirmation of Permanent Residence. With this document, you can go and get the permanent residence at your Point of Entry, or the nearest IRCC office. Here, the document will be signed, and you will officially become a permanent resident of Canada.

Obtain a PR Card

Once you have this document, you will be able to take out the PR card. The PR card is a document that you want to take out, as it can be used when traveling outside of Canada to prove your status. It can also be used to cross some borders and it will be useful to speed up your re-entry into Canada.

Check Out How to Move to Canada | Federal Skilled Worker Program | Express Entry Eligibility

FSTP and Express Entry

The FSTP has been under the Express Entry management from January 2015 onwards. The program is very popular and moving it from a base-program status (a standalone immigration program) was a smart move as it enabled more competitive candidates to apply and to be considered for moving to Canada. Here, you can upload all your documents (including proof of settlement funds, the certificates, and identification documents), and be placed in the pool of candidates waiting to be invited for one of the skilled occupations that the territorial authority is seeking for that draw cycle.

Not only that, but the program allows for a streamlined application process and it even allows you to be considered for the PNPs – Provincial Nominee Programs. When it comes to these programs, they are a great way to boost the chances of you getting elected and to increase your chances of getting the PR. They do not ask for a high CRS score, and they also do not have a high experience requirement.

How To Improve CRS Score?

Although the PNP programs and the FST program do not have a high CRS threshold, the programs may still receive a high number of applications, which will mean that the CRS threshold automatically goes up. With this in mind, it is always best to apply for the programs and then keep working to improve your CRS score.

Here are some ways to increase your CRS score:

  • retake your language test(s)
  • gain more work experience
  • get a PNP nomination
  • complete a new qualification or certification
  • get a valid job offer
  • employ a recruiter to assist in your Canadian job hunt or an immigration consultant that provides these services as well
  • apply with your spouse or a common-law partner or a conjugal partner
  • use the CRS calculator the right way to find out what small changes will make the biggest impact
  • keep up with the Express Entry news to get informed about the latest CRS draws


How Many Points Are Needed for Pnp Canada?

Any professional advice will say that you do not need a high CRS score to pass and be drawn for migration to Canada. However, it is also important to note that the programs can also increase or decrease the minimum CRS threshold. At times, the CRS score drops to 300, and at times, it is as high as 500. In any case, a higher CRS score will mean that you are more likely to get drawn.

How Can I Get 67 Points for Canadian Immigration?

The 67-minimum point system has been introduced for the Federal Skilled Worker program. With this program, skilled workers from all over the world can join one of Canada’s most popular economic programs. To get the 67 points, if you have already not scored them, you should work on your human capital factors, as they are very easy to work on and can provide more points and more CRS points at the same time.

Can a Retired Person Move to Canada?

Yes, if you are retired you can move to Canada. At the same time, you should be aware that there are no immigration programs in Canada that will allow you to immigrate as a retired person. However, you can use an investor immigration pathway to move there, for as long as you have enough funds to invest into Canada. If not, you can always apply for the TRV or an eTA if you come from a visa-exempt country and stay in Canada for a shorter period.

Does Canada Allow Dual Citizenship?

Yes, Canada allows dual citizenship. This means that you do not have to denounce the citizenship of the country you used to live in before moving to Canada. You can keep both of them, for as long as the initial country allows it as well.

Final Thoughts

Moving to Canada is an ordeal that is not so easy to finish, but at the same time, it is not impossible either. For as long as you work on your language skills, education, and work experience, you are good to go with most of the Express Entry Programs, including the Federal Skilled Trades program. This program is very popular and our guide is supposed to help you prepare for immigration to Canada.

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