Visa Categories

Skilled Workers

For people who want to settle and work in Canada

Skilled Workers

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)


Applications for the FSWP 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 FSWP and will also need to meet the threshold of Express Entry, in order to be given an Invitation to Apply (ITA).


The FSWP selects immigrants based on their ability to succeed economically in Canada. It used to be known as the ‘points system’ - this is because it measures applicants using a selection grid worth up to 100 points. The current pass mark for the FSWP remains at 67. As before, each applicant is awarded points for various factors - official language ability, age, education, work experience, employment already arranged in Canada, and adaptability (such as previous work experience or education acquired in Canada). These factors are part of a grid used to assess Federal Skilled Workers – so points are earned based on how well the applicant does in each of the six factors. Note that only skilled work counts in the FSWP. Low or semi-skilled work does not count. The first step is to see if you meet the minimum requirements.


Do note that the FSWP points pass mark is different to the Express Entry points threshold, which varies.

What are the minimum requirements?


Skilled Work Experience


You must have at least one year of continuous full-time (or an equal amount in part-time) skilled work experience within the last 10 years. “Skilled work” means that your work experience must be level O, A, B of the NOC.


The more work experience that you have, the more points you will get. You must show that you did the duties set out in the lead statement of the occupational description in the NOC, including all the essential duties and most of the main duties listed. If you cannot show that your work experience meets the description in the NOC, you are likely not eligible under this program.


Language Ability


Even if English (or French) is your native language you must still take a language test approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that shows you meet the level for speaking, listening, reading and writing. You will need to meet the minimum language level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 – the higher you get the more points you will score.


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.




Unless you have a Canadian education credential, 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.


Selection Factors


If you meet all the conditions set out in the minimum requirements, IRCC will assess your application based on the six selection factors in the Federal Skilled Worker points grid. The selection factors are:

  • Language skills in English and/or French (Canada’s two official languages)
  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Age
  • Valid job offer (Arranged Employment) – i.e. one that is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment
  • Adaptability e.g. previous work or study in Canada, a close family member who is Canadian and lives in Canada


Proof of Funds


Unless you are currently working in Canada with Arranged Employment, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada.


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.