Visa Categories Federal Skilled Trades

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is for people who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade. This category is geared at attracting more skilled tradespeople to Canada. It is not a points system but rather is a “pass/fail” system. An applicant must have either Arranged Employment or a Canadian Certificate of Qualification in order to qualify, amongst other requirements.

Applications for the FSTP are managed via Express Entry – so an Express Entry profile will need to be created as the first step. An applicant will need to meet the requirements of the FSTP and will also need to meet the threshold of Express entry, in order to be given an Invitation to Apply.

What are the minimum requirements?

Work Experience

You need to have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in your skilled trade in the last five years. This work experience must be post-qualification. You must meet the job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), except for needing a certificate of qualification – so make sure you check the relevant NOC.

Arranged Employment / Certificate of Qualification

You must have EITHER an offer of full-time employment from up to two employers for at least one year of continuous full-time work OR a Canadian Certificate of Qualification in your skilled trade. In Canada, provinces and territories issue Certificates of Qualification in the skilled trades. To get a certificate, the provincial or territorial trades’ authority must assess your training, trade experience and skills to decide if you are eligible to write an exam to be certified. You will need to write the exam in Canada. Some Certificates of Qualification are endorsed by the Red Seal if they are inter-provincially recognized.


You must meet the required levels in English or French for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing and listening) – these are Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for speaking and listening, and Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 for reading and writing. You must show that you meet the requirements in English or French by including the test results when you complete your Express Entry profile. Your test results must not be more than two years old on the day you apply for permanent residence. For English, you should do the IELTS (General) or the CELPIP (General) test and for French you should do the TEF.


There is no education requirement for the Federal Skilled Trades Program. But, if you want to earn points for your education under Express Entry, you either need a Canadian education credential or you will you will need to have your foreign education credentials assessed, so that points can be properly allocated. You must provide an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from an agency approved by IRCC. The report must show your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree. You will need to enter the information from the report (including the reference number) in your Express Entry profile.

Many trade qualifications cannot be assessed by an ECA, which is proving a large hindrance to this program. Do note that you will only benefit from getting an ECA if your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian high school diploma or greater. As well as all of the above requirements, IRCC will check to make sure that you and your family are admissible to Canada, so medicals and criminal checks must be provided. You must also plan to live outside the province of Quebec.

For a full assessment of your eligibility, please click here.

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