If you are thinking about moving to Canada using the Federal Skilled Worker program, you should know that this program is a part of the Express Entry program – one of the three immigration pathways. If you have work experience in skilled occupations and would like to apply for permanent residency, this is the right type of program for you. 

Needless to say, there are minimum requirements that you should be able to fulfill. There is also the minimum score that you should get to be considered for the permanent resident visa. Besides this, the program is pretty straightforward and is likely to end up in you joining this economic immigration program and getting a PR Canada. 

How Does Federal Skilled Worker Program Work?

The main difference between FSW and Express Entry is that Express Entry is also a platform that supports three (to four, depending on the way you look at it) immigration streams. These streams include: 

  • FSW (Federal Skilled Worker)
  • FST (Federal Skilled Trades) 
  • CEC (Canadian Experience Class)
  • PNP (Provincial Nominee Candidates – although they are not a part of the Express Entry program, a Canadian employer or a province can still access your data and invite you to immigrate to them) 

This being said, Express Entry is a large platform and program that aims to receive around 300,000 people into Canada every year. The Federal Skilled Worker Program is just a portion of the Express Entry, but it is still used by many professionals around the world. This program ensures that you can get your residence, for as long as your language ability and skill type match the prerequisites of the program. According to Canadian standards, this is really not too much, and a majority of people who decide to join the programs actually have a successful Canadian immigration experience within months of their initial application.

Who Are Under Federal Skilled Worker Category?

Federal Skilled Workers are all those who have a high skill level for doing a certain kind of skilled work, have knowledge of one or both official languages in Canada (English and French), have proof of funds (settlement funds) and have a specific length of full-time work within the field that they will be working in Canada. 

If these skilled workers also have Canadian work experience, they are much better off applying for the CEC program (Canadian Experience Class). The desired language level is CLB level 7 in all language skills, and they should have written statements or recommendations from their past and current employer if they would like to find a job offer before coming to Canada. However, this is not all, as there are more eligibility requirements that must be met for the person to proceed with their application journey. 

Federal Skilled Worker Requirements

As we have said before, the biggest difference between Express Entry and Federal Skilled Worker is in the hierarchy: Express Entry is a platform and a group of immigration pathways. The FSW program is one of those programs, with specific eligibility criteria and demands. All of these criteria have to be met in order to join the program. Without them, this would be impossible as the number of CRS points allocated to such a candidate would be too low for them to compete with other eligible candidates.

These criteria include work experience (on skilled jobs, on part-time jobs, and on student jobs). They also include language and education credentials and sometimes other factors that could help a candidate stand out among others. 

Experience in Skilled Jobs

Every candidate should have a certain amount of skilled work experience. This experience would mean you worked in TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3, as outlined in the NOC TEER Categories (NOC – National Occupational Classification). Working in one of the tiers means that you worked on a work position that you can identify in the classification, based on essential and main skills that are provided in the description. 

It also means that you have these skills and knowledge that would enable you to work in the same position in Canada as well. It also means that the job types in your country overlap with what Canada would demand, with possibly additional certification, but not with a complete educational program that is several years long. If you would like to study in Canada, there are separate programs aimed at students, that enable you full-time study and part-time work. 

When it comes to work experience itself, your skilled work experience should be: 

  • In the same NOC type of job as the job that you describe in your immigration application form 
  • It has to have been obtained within the past 10 years
  • You must have been paid to do that job (no volunteering or unpaid internship)
  • It has to be at least 1 year of continuous work or 1,560 hours in total. This number assumes 30 hours of work a week. There are several ways that you can achieve this:
    • Full-time work, with 30 hours a week for a full year 
    • Part-time work, with less than 30 hours per week for 1,560 hours. If you work 15 hours a week, it will take you 24 calendar months to reach this number
    • Of multiple jobs amounting to 30 hours a week for a full year
    • If full-time work in your country is longer than 30 hours a week, you can only count 30 hours/week. The Canadian government does not count any hours above this threshold. 

Experience in Part-time Jobs

If you work on a part-time job, you should consider that this can only be paid work or paid internship. Volunteer work or unpaid internships/apprenticeships for skills that demand it do not count. When looking for more hours to reach the 1,560-hour threshold, we can accept additional hours from a different job position, but the Canadian government cannot accept anything over 30 hours a week. 

Experience in Student Jobs

Work experience that you have during your studies may count towards the 1,560 hours quota that is outlined above. However, the work has to be paid by wages or commissions, it has to be continuous (so no gaps in employment, vacations excluded), and it has to meet all other requirements of the program. 


When it comes to your language proficiency, it has to be tested if you would like to have a complete application. Please bear in mind that foreign education systems may not teach English or French and that you may have to go for additional classes or work on your own to meet the requirements and have the educational credentials necessary for this Canadian immigration program. 

In general, you will need to have a CLB result of 7 in all four language skills to be able to apply for the program, as the CLB has higher demands than some other programs. In general, you will need to pass with good grades in writing, reading, listening, and speaking (the four language skills that are tested), and you will need to take one of the approved language tests in English or French. 

The approved language tests are: 

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


When it comes to the education part, you need to have an appropriate level of education to be able to join the program. If you have a Canadian education, you need a certificate, diploma, or degree from that institution (a DLI – Designated Learning Institution). If you have foreign education, you will need the same, plus an ECA – Educational Credential Assessment for immigration purposes from one of the designated organizations. 

The main difference between Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trade is in the kind of job that will be done. While skilled worker has some stricter demands when it comes to the educational and experience fields, the Federal Skilled Trades programs ask for less education, although work experience is still expected.

Applying For Federal Skilled Worker Program

Applying for skilled worker immigration is the same as applying for any other program within the Express Entry. There is one notable difference though, and that is that your language ability, education, work experience, age, existence of arranged employment, and even adaptability (similar to skills transferability) are first evaluated against eligibility points. 

This way of testing is used to give a preliminary estimation of how well you would score in the actual CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System). You will be judged based on your ability to join the program, not eligibility for a Canadian work permit or permanent residence. Let’s consider this system in more detail, step-by-step. 

Examine Eligibility

When talking about these eligibility points, you will need to score about 67/100 of these points to be accepted into the pool of candidates for the FSW Express Entry program. These points are awarded as follows: 

Eligibility Factor ConsideredMaximum Points Allocated
Language Proficiency28 
Education Level25
Work Experience15
Valid Job Offer/Job Contract10 
Adaptability of Your Skills10

Obtain the Necessary Paperwork

After you have checked your eligibility points, you will need to collect the necessary documents for the application itself. You will need to have a valid passport, one of the recognized language test results, discussed above) and you will also need to have your education credentials, and an ECA for foreign education (outside of Canada). Bear in mind that you will need more documents, and that this is a preliminary list for the first out of the two steps in the immigration application process.

Create a Profile for Express Entry

The next step is to create an Express Entry profile. This is done on the IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) website. You will need to provide personal information pertaining to your education, language level, work experience, etc. Most of this information will be self-declared but is still legally binding. You will only submit your documents once you have received an ITA – Invitation to Apply. This can happen at any time after you submit your profile, for up to a full year – this is how long your profile remains visible in the pool of candidates. 

Improve Your CRS Profile and Ranking

Once you have submitted your profile, you will receive your CRS score. The CRS score is what is used to compare you against all other eligible candidates to see whether you are a better option than some others for eligible occupations where you can seek employment in Canada. As a principal applicant, your profile will be compared to others based on this CRS score. 

At the same time, you will be able to work on your profile and improve your CRS score. Getting more education, improving your language skills, and gaining more work experience will help improve both your score for those particular fields and your adaptability factors. The foreign credentials (in education) also bring in a higher CRS score once an ECA (Educational Credential Assessment) has been established. 

All of these efforts combined will up your CRS score – a single year of apprenticeship training can help you by scoring more CRS and your academic standing can be improved by you listening to just some hours of classes and going for more education in a post-secondary institution. Visa applications that show higher CRS scores have a higher chance of getting elected for the desired immigration option. A Canadian immigration officer will be reviewing these documents and they may like to see that you’ve invested extra effort.

Receive an Application Invitation

After you have submitted your profile and have managed to secure a spot in the pool of candidates, it is important to stay patient. Nobody knows when you will be elected and nobody knows when you will receive your ITA – if at all (this is the reason to keep working on your skills). At the same time, what is known is that draws from the pool of candidates are made approximately biweekly and that the CRS cut-off score fluctuates with each new draw cycle – all judging based on objective criteria – but it also has an upward trend. 

Complete a Medical Exam, Submit a Security Background Check, and Fill Out an Online Application

All FSW applicants have to be screened for medical or criminal inadmissibility. For this reason, you will need to provide medical examination results as well as a police clearance certificate to show that you are eligible for the program and to be admitted into the country. 

You will need to provide medical clearance in particular (in the year prior to your application) if you have traveled to a high-risk zone. High-risk zones are areas where the movement of people may be restricted for reasons of health hazard possibility, epidemic outbreaks, and similar reasons. 

You will also need to present police clearance that should be clean – there should be no ongoing police investigations against you and you will need to not have had any criminal activity in your past. You will need to provide this for every country you have ever lived in for longer than six months, ever since you were 18 years of age. You should start gathering these documents early enough so that you can send them in at once. 

In fact, once you have received your ITA, you only have 60 days to send all the documents in. If you fail to do so, there will be no extensions of the deadline for ANY reason. This means that you should start gathering your documents early enough and that you should have them ready. Please bear in mind that some of these, such as medical examination and police clearance may have a validity period. In the case of language tests, they are generally valid for a period of 2 years. 

Reviewing of Electronic Application

Once you send in all the documents outlined above, a Canadian Immigration Officer will have a thorough look at your application. this is a flagship immigration program and everything has to be neat. To ensure that your application is processed at the fastest possible rate, please bear in mind that your documents need to be complete and that any tardiness may be a cause for unnecessary delay. For this reason, please collect all your documents and have them ready to be sent all at once. 

requirements to immigrate to canada

Confirm Permanent Residence Status

Once your application has been processed, you will receive a COPR document (Confirmation of Permanent Residence). With this document, you can go to any Port of Entry that allows this document and they will stamp and sign it. This is a confirmation that you can receive your PR card and enter Canada. 

Get a PR Card

Many look for a Canadian working visa as if it could change their life. And indeed it could. Canada has a lot to offer to employees, children, and all others who would like to move there. With your COPR, you can finally apply for the PR card. This is the card that you will be showing to Canadian border officers both when leaving and returning to the country. 

Selection Factors for Federal Skilled Worker Program

So, if you manage to pass on the eligible factors, you will be able to go to the next step, as outlined above. When it comes to these preliminary factors, it is necessary to first establish whether you are eligible to enter the Express Entry pool. As there are a lot of chances to get the ITA (because even the PNP – Provincial Nominee Programs – pull candidates from this pool), you have to undergo this additional screening. 

Language Skills

Americans working in Canada seem to have it easy – as the two countries speak the same language, their language skills need no assessment. However, it is important to note that some Americans, as well as nationals of all other countries, may still need to present a language certification from the list of approved language testing centers. This is to say that the language testing needs not to be tied to their country of origin/current residence. 


Your education will also be assessed – as Canada may have a different educational system to your country’s, it may be necessary to get an ECA. This assessment will compare your title and level of education to that of Canada, and you may be gaining additional CRS points by getting it. 

Work Experience

Your work experience is the next most important factor when it comes to applying for a program like this. Although your foreign work experience may be different from what you would receive in Canada, it is important to note that you may still need to adjust it a bit – a 40-hour workweek has to be translated to 30, with 10 hours lost per week. 


Your age may seem insignificant, but in general, very young candidates will receive fewer points than someone between the ages of 20-29. At the same time, candidates who are older will receive less progressively with each year added to their age. The thing is that young people who know languages and have just finished their education are a very attractive group to any immigration expert. For this reason, every Canadian immigration option will give them plenty of opportunities to immigrate. 

Arranged Employment in Canada

As this is a big plus, probably even more than French language skills when you would like to immigrate to an English-speaking territory or province, arranged employment is a very desirable factor to consider. For this reason, you may want to consult an immigration consultant and check with them how to look for a job in Canada before getting there. JobBank Canada and LinkedIn are great options, but there is also more to explore. 


When it comes to the adaptability points, they are likely a source of confusion, as so many people think that they are adaptable, although they may not be. In this case, what is paid attention to is the skillset and knowledge of program applicants and their previous work experience in Canada, education in Canada, existence of relatives in Canada, as well as their spouse’s or common-law partner’s same traits. 

How the FSWP Affects the Immigration Process

The FSW program was launched in 1967. Back in the day, this was the first-ever program to evaluate candidates objectively, by comparing their skills and their education and age to a pool of candidates. Over time, the program has managed to help many people reach their goals in Canada. At the same time, the program has evolved and is now a part of Express Entry – a platform that manages two more similar programs. 

Check Out the Overview of the six selection factors for Federal Skilled Worker Program Express Entry

FSWP ’s Advantages

This program allows many people to enter Canada every year. It is estimated that, by 2024, Canada will have welcomed over 110,000 immigrants through this program alone. At the same time, this program is aimed at educated individuals with work experience, and they are very likely to succeed in Canada. In addition to this, with the FSW program, you can get your permanent residence in as little as six months, and there are very few programs that can deliver immigration that is this quick. 


What Is the Maximum Age to Immigrate to Canada?

There is no minimum or maximum age to immigrate to Canada. You can immigrate very young, while still in school and accompanied by a parent or a guardian, or you can immigrate at a later age – when you would like to retire, for example. And while Canada does not have separate retirement programs for immigration, you can go there as an investor, and get an investor visa while doing so. 

How Can I Get 67 Points for Canadian Immigration?

Getting the 67 eligibility points for Canadian immigration is not too difficult. Most skilled immigrants will start with some points but may work on their education or work experience to gain more. Skilled worker immigrants can also use Express Entry’s online platform to keep entering their details as they change, and get more points whenever they happen to enter a valid change into the platform. 

What Is the Difference Between Federal Skilled Workers and Express Entry?

There is a big difference between the Federal Skilled Worker and Express Entry. The former is an immigration program organized by the Canadian government and is likely one of the oldest immigration programs there are. When it comes to Express Entry, this is a platform that manages this program and two more: CEC – Canadian Experience Class and FST – Federal Skilled Trades. 

What Is the Difference Between Federal Skilled Workers and Federal Skilled Trade?

The difference between the Federal Skilled worker and Federal Skilled Trade is in the profile of the people whom the program is aimed for. The Federal Skilled Worker program is aimed at highly educated individuals with college or university education who would like to try their way in Canada. On the other hand, the Federal Skilled Trades is a program looking for people who may not have as much education but have the skills and knowledge that the Canadian job market needs – as there are constant work positions with no one who could fill them in. 

Can a Skilled Worker Work Part-Time?

Both yes and no. In essence, when applying for the Federal Skilled Worker program, you will need to have accumulated 1,560 work hours at the current job position. This means that you will need to have worked 30 hours per week for a full year to be eligible for the program. At the same time, if you have a job offer, it will need to be a full-time job offer that will enable you to join the program and get additional eligibility and CRS points there. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the Skilled Worker Program, this program is a great option for immigration to Canada. It enables you to easily move there and get your Permanent Residence in as little as six months from the time you upload all your documents to the platform. This is a perfect chance for all people who have education and some work experience and for those who would like to put both of those to the best practice.