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The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is one of the programs that is managed by the Express Entry system along with the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class. These are all based on the in-demand skilled occupations listed by the Canadian federal government but are not the only pathways for skilled workers to apply for permanent residence in Canada. There are also other ways to immigrate to Canada in an unskilled capacity but this will not be through a fast-track process like the ones under Express Entry. 

To qualify for an occupation that is considered a skilled trade according to the federal government, candidates need to first make certain they meet all the criteria for this pathway. Candidates can then apply through the Express Entry system, stating that this is their program of choice. Applicants will also need to have a valid job offer/certificate of qualification in order to be considered for this particular stream. Achieving a successful Invitation to Apply (ITA) from this application allows candidates to be considered for permanent residence in every province of Canada - apart from Québec, which uses its own guidelines and rules for the immigration of skilled workers. 


Federal Skilled Trade Program infographic | immigrate to Canada

In order to be eligible to apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program, you will need to meet certain criteria (some of which overlaps with the Express Entry system's CRS standards) in order to assess your suitability for the program before you can create your profile through Express Entry. These requirements are specific to this program and need to be in line with one of the specific skilled trades listed in the table below. 


  • Valid job offer from a Canadian employer for 1 year at least OR a certificate of qualification* from a provincial body
  • Language proficiency score of in French and English measured by the Canadian Language Benchmark (level 4 for writing + reading and 5 for listening + speaking)
  • At least 2 years of work experience before applying
  • Ability to demonstrate skills and experience in your trade

*This certificate must be obtained from a transference of qualifications exam written in Canada or your original qualification must be valid for practice in Canada.

Along with the above documents and achievements, the federal government requires you to show evidence of sufficient funds for you and your family to settle in Canada. You will also need experience or training from a Canadian employer and be assessed for your trade by a recognized body in Canada. To obtain this, you’ll need to visit the province or territory that you hope to settle in for the assessment. From here you’re ready to apply for the program through the Express Entry system by creating your online profile with the attached documents. 

Required Skilled Work Experience

Manufacturing qualifies under the Federal Skilled Trades Program in Canada.

There are certain in-demand occupations that are listed by the federal government that speaks to deficits in the workforce. These occupations are considered to be those that will continue to be on the rise during the next five years. We’ve listed the occupations/fields that qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades Program below. 

National Occupation Classification Categories
Major Group 72
  • Industrial
  • Electrical
  • Construction
Major Group 73
  • Maintenance
  • Equipment Operation
Major Group 82
  • Supervisors and Technicians in Natural Resources
  • Agriculture
Major Group 92
  • Processing and Manufacturing
  • Utility Supervisors
  • Central Control Operators
Minor Group 632
  • Chefs and Cooks
Minor Group 633
  • Butchers and Bakers

The Express Entry System

The Federal Skilled Trades Program falls under the Express Entry system.

Express Entry is a fast-track system created by the federal government in 2015 in order to speed up the process of immigration for workers with experience working in-demand skilled occupations in Canada. These applications are processed in as little as six months!

In order to apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (assuming you meet the criteria above), you’ll need to create an online profile that will ask you questions based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). This scores you based on criteria ranging from your age to your language proficiency, among others. Once you have an eligible score, you await the draw (which typically happens every two weeks) which takes the highest scoring candidates and issues them with an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

CRS Criteria Gives Points For:

  • Your age
  • Your level of education
  • Your work experience in and outside of Canada
  • Your ability to adapt to life in Canada
  • Whether or not you have a sibling in Canada
  • Language proficiency
  • Arranged employment
  • Whether or not you have a Provincial Nomination

You do not need to provide your education level to qualify for this pathway but it will help your Express Entry CRS score if you submit evidence of schooling in Canada or foreign credentials for attending high school or post-secondary institutions. Your CLB test score for language proficiency may meet the minimum requirements for the Trades Program but it helps to achieve as high a score as possible in order to achieve a better score through the CRS.

Improving Your CRS Score

Improve your CRS score before applying to the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

There are many ways of improving your CRS score, most of them starting with adding to your work experience or getting better qualified in your field of study. This is achievable while you are in the process of applying to the Express Entry system (as your profile is always open to alterations before the draw). However, it’s recommended that you make your profile as strong as possible and gather all the necessary documents before applying to stand the best chance of being successful in your application. 

Another way to improve your score is to achieve a Provincial Nomination (PN) through one of the Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs). If you are already inside the Express Entry system, this works by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the province of your choice within Canada or in some cases, waiting for them to send you a Notification of Interest (NOI). You need to meet the criteria for that province and be on their necessary skills list to be eligible.

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) works with its own profile that needs to be created separately from your Express Entry profile. If you are successful in meeting the criteria for that specific profile (which are sometimes less stringent than those of the Federal Skilled Trades Program), you are then issued with the PN. This nomination adds 600 additional points to your profile, almost guaranteeing (bar any outstanding requirements) your ITA. This is because the minimum score drawn from the pool has never exceeded 500 points.

Certain PNP Streams also work with Express Entry for skilled workers but can be applied directly through the province instead of first creating an Express Entry profile. This is an option for those with critical skills such as healthcare professionals where they may not score well through Express Entry but will stand a good chance when measured against the criteria for a specific province’s stream. 

How We Can Help

We can help you apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Our service makes use of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) who are experts on the different programs offered by the federal government as well as the ever-changing policies surrounding immigration. They are your helping hand when it comes to first creating your profile right up until you receive your ITA for permanent residence. They can also advise you further about which route to take and what you can improve on in your professional capacity. 

The Express Entry process happens very swiftly once you have met the criteria for your chosen program (for example, the FSTP) which means that there is little room for error when it comes to collecting the required documents and submitting them on time. Our consultants have all been through the process themselves (as they are all immigrants to Canada) and can ease all your fears when it comes to your application. Why not have experienced professionals on your side when you’re navigating the system? Sign up with our service today to get the ball rolling towards permanent residence.