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Canada Federal Skilled Trades Program

Canada Federal Skilled Trades Program – All You Need To Know

Federal Skilled Trades Program – Canada has several economic immigration program offering permanent residency in the country. Most common and fastest way is Express Entry System. Express Entry system offers 3 programs for permanent residency.

We all know about Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC). However, the least discussed is Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

So, let’s understand the Express Entry Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). This article enlists:

Overview of Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is a specific immigration pathway for skilled trades professionals who want to become Canadian permanent residents. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) established the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) in 2013 to provide a specific immigration pathway for skilled trades professionals.

The Express Entry system comes within the federal economic programs that welcome economically beneficial skilled workers to immigrate to Canada. One of the programs under the Express Entry system is the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). 

The Federal Skilled Trades Program was developed to fight the labour shortage. So, it aims to attract and retain skilled trade workers worldwide and offer them Canadian permanent residency. Below are more benefits of the Federal Skilled Trades Program. 

Benefits of Federal Skilled Trades Program

The federal and provincial governments are making a significant effort to welcome qualified skilled trade workers to Canada. The country increasingly depends on immigration to support its labour force and economic expansion because of its aging population and low birth rate. As a result, there is a significant need for skilled trade workers in Canada. 

The Federal Skilled Trades Program has numerous advantages when applying for Canadian permanent residency. For example, successful Federal Skilled Trades Program candidates can typically get their permanent residency under Express Entry in less than six months. 

Moreover, as Federal Skilled Trades Program is part of the Express Entry system, candidates can also receive provincial nominations. A provincial nomination can earn 600 additional points to your Express Entry profile. As a result, it’ll increase your chances of obtaining permanent residency.   

However, the Federal Skilled Trades Program candidates have lower CRS scores than other Express Entry candidates in the pool. It is because FSTP candidates do not need to evidence their education. Nevertheless, IRCC holds program-specific draws that target Federal Skilled Trades Program applicants. 

With the new amendments in the Express Entry system, you have an opportunity to apply for permanent residency even with low CRS scores. In addition, as Canada’s labour shortage continues to grow, new amendments require IRCC to conduct draws based on an economic goal. So, as a Federal Skilled Trades Program candidate, you will have ample opportunity to apply for permanent residency. 

In addition, if you are a Federal Skilled Trades Program candidate who has worked in Canada, you can earn additional CRS points with Canadian experience. 

Similarly, if you have Canadian education, certification or degree completed in Canada that is at least eight months long, you’ll get additional CRS points. 

According to academic and government research in Canada, the Canadian experience is a significant advantage when applying for permanent residence. 

When you achieve permanent residency through the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the skills, experience, and connections you acquired while working in Canada will give you a competitive advantage in the job market.

How does the Immigration process work with Federal Skilled Trades Program

Before applying, the first step is to ensure you meet the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) requirements, Canadian Experience Class (CEC), or both.

After confirming your eligibility, you can create your Express Entry profile and upload information. Then, you will receive a CRS score based on factors such as age, education, language proficiency, work experience and time spent working and studying in Canada. 

IRCC will hold draws every two weeks and invite those with the highest CRS scores to apply for permanent residency. Considering you received an invitation to apply, IRCC will notify the number of days you have to submit your application. With the recent changes, you’ll typically have 60 days, but IRCC will provide you with a deadline. 

After you submit your application, IRCC will process your application generally in six months. 

Step-by-step guide on how you can pursue immigration to Canada through the Federal Skilled Trades Program:

  • Step 1: Take an IRCC-recognized language test. You need a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of 5 for speaking and listening and a CLB of 4 for reading and writing. Note that your language tests are valid for two years only. Ensure that your test results stay valid when you submit your Express Entry application. 
  • Step 2: Get an Educational Credential Assessment. If you have studied abroad and want to claim points for your foreign education, you can get an Educational Credential Assessment recognized by IRCC. 
  • Step 3: Submit your Express Entry profile on the IRCC website
  • Step 4: Track IRCC draws to check if you received an invitation to apply (ITA)
  • Step 5: Submit your complete Express Entry application if you received an invitation to apply (ITA) within the IRCC-given deadline. 

Eligibility Criteria for Federal Skilled Trades Program

To be eligible, you must have the following: 

Work Experience minimum requirement 

  • You must have at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade in the last five years.
    • Or an equal amount of part-time experience 
    • Your acquired work experience should be paid, excluding volunteer work or unpaid internships.
    • Should satisfy the job requirements for skilled trades as mentioned in the National Occupational Classification, without certification requirements 
    • Need to have a valid full-time job offer for at least one year; or
      • a skilled trade certificate of qualification issued by a Canadian province, territory or federal authority 

Skilled work experience

The Federal Skilled Trades Program are categorized under the following National Occupational Classification (NOC) and your experience should be in one of the following:

  • 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

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

To claim work experience, you must provide evidence that you carried out the tasks listed in the lead statement of the NOC’s occupational description. It includes meeting all essential and main listed duties. 


The Federal Skilled Trades Program has no specific education requirements. However, if you would like to improve your CRS score, you can:

  • Earn points for acquiring Canadian education, either a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian post-secondary institution.


Language requirements 

Minimum language requirements are to have at least a CLB 5 in reading and listening and at least a CLB 4 in reading and writing. 

Remember that language tests are valid for 2 years, and your test should stay valid when you apply for permanent residency. 

Proof of funds

As a Federal Skilled Trades Program candidate, you must have sufficient funds to support yourself and accompanying family members to settle in Canada. However, you do not need to show proof of funds if you:

  • Can legally work in Canada 
  • Have a valid job offer from a Candian employer 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can you get a qualification certificate for Federal Skilled Trades Program? 

A qualification certificate certifies a person’s eligibility to work in a skilled trade in Canada. They have completed a recognized exam and are qualified to work in that capacity in a particular province or territory.

The organization that oversees trades in the relevant province or territory, or a federal government entity, will issue you this certificate. 

Do you need a job offer to apply under Federal Skilled Trades Program? 

No. A job offer is necessary if you do not possess a Canadian province or territory-issued certificate of qualification in your skilled trade.

How can you get a qualification certificate for Federal Skilled Trades Program? 

The provinces and territories in Canada are in charge of education and training, according to the constitution. This indicates that they are typically in charge of establishing the standards necessary to conduct a skilled trade in their area.

Your abilities, trade experience, and training must be evaluated by the regulatory body overseeing your skilled trade in the province or territory of your choice to determine whether you qualify to sit for an exam to become certified.

You’ll probably need to physically travel to the province or territory to take the certification exam. Additionally, you might need training and job experience from a Canadian employer before you take the exam.

How to know if your job offer is valid for Federal Skilled Trades Program? 

A job offer is eligible for the FSTP if it is for full-time employment with up to two Canadian businesses and a weekly minimum of 30 hours. In addition, the job offer must be for a minimum of one year.

There are a few exceptions to the rule that job offers need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The federal government uses LMIAs to ensure that hiring foreign workers has no adverse effects on the Canadian labour market.

Which work experience counts toward Federal Skilled Trades Program? 

Unfortunately, the FSTP only allows you to count work experience if you were authorized to practice in that trade in the region where you acquired the work experience.

For instance, you might have received your education in one country and gained work experience there. However, provided you later relocated to work in another country, you could only include the work experience you acquired there if you also obtained a license from the appropriate government to practice there.