Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW)

The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is one of the three major programs accompanied 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.

What is Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW)

The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is regularized under the Express Entry system and uses the (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.

Eligibility to apply under the FSW program?

In order to qualify for the FSWP, a candidate must meet the following minimum requirements:

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 Canadian Language Benchmark 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:

Factor Points
Education
25
Language Proficiency
28
Age
12
Work Experience
15
Arranged Employment
10
Adaptability
10
Maximum Pass Score
67

Level of Education Points
Doctor (PHD) Level 25
Master's Level 23
Two or more post-secondary degrees - at least one for a program of at least 3 years 22
Post-secondary degree - 3 years or longer 21
Post-secondary degree - 2 years 19
Post-secondary degree - 1 year 15
Secondary school 5
Maximum 25

Second Official Language (OPTIONAL)

First Official Language Speaking Listening Reading
CBL 9 6 6 6
CBL 8 5 5 5
CBL 7 4 4 4
*Score must be met in all four abilities 4 4 4
Second Official Language (OPTIONAL)
*Score must be met in all four abilities 4 4 4
English CELPIP Score
CLB 9 9 9 9
CLB 8 8 8 8
CLB 7 7 7 7
Second Official Language (OPTIONAL)
*Score must be met in all four abilities 5 5 5

452

AgePoints
Under 180
18-3512
3611
3710
389
398
407
416
425
434
443
461
47 and Older0
Maximum12

Work Experience Points
6 or more years 15
4-5 years 13
2-3 years 11
1 year 9
Maximum 15

Arranged Employment Points
If And
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) 10
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.
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) 10
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.
You currently do not have a work permit, or do not plan to work in Canada before you get a permanent resident visa. An employer has made you a permanent job offer based on you being accepted as a skilled worker 10
or And
You are currently working in Canada and a different employer has offered to give you a permanent full-time job The employer has a positive Labour Impact Assessment from ESDC
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.
Maximum 10

Adaptability Points
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
Arranged Employment in Canada

You earned points under Factor 5: Arranged Employment
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
Maximum 10

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 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 Experience Points 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
0
0
1-2 years of foreign work experience
13
25
3+ years of foreign work experience
25
50

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.

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

Number of Family Members Funds 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
Updated
July 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:

Application Processing 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 condition
Add $225 each per dependent

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.

Free Immigration Assessment

Discover your Canadian immigration options by completing our free  immigration assessment form today and a member of our Team will contact you to discuss about your immigration to Canada.

Are you ready for Immigration?