Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.


Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

Updated: July 4th, 2023


Edited by Kirat Sekhon

You've made an important decision to pursue a new life in Canada, and the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is your gateway to this exciting opportunity. You can significantly contribute to Canada's economy and society as a skilled worker. But before you can start packing your bags, there's a process you must follow to ensure you're eligible and prepared for this journey. This guide is designed to help you navigate applying for the FSWP easily and confidently.

Canada values your skills and experience, and the FSWP is a program designed to bring in skilled workers like you from around the world. The application process can be complex, but understanding each step will help you approach it with the right mindset. By following this comprehensive guide, you can avoid common pitfalls and improve your chances of success.

What Exactly is Express Entry?

What Exactly is Express Entry?

The Federal Skilled Worker Program falls directly under the Express Entry system. Express Entry is an online points-driven system popular for yielding quick immigration results. The system comprises three immigration programs under one Express Entry umbrella. These programs are as follows:

Applicants apply by creating an Express Entry Profile on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website. Once an interested candidate submits an online profile, the federal government determines if the candidate is eligible for a program managed by Express Entry. Candidates eligible for one or more of the Express Entry programs and submitting their profile are ranked in the Express Entry pool using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

The CRS is a points-based system used to assess and score the profile and rank it in the Express Entry pool. Every two weeks, IRCC hosts an Express Entry draw where Candidates with the highest rankings are invited to apply for permanent residency. If you fill out a profile for Express Entry, your application will be ranked according to a points system. You will be invited to apply for permanent residence as a skilled immigrant if you are highly ranked. Once you have applied, your PR application will then be processed within the next six months.

What is the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is an immigration program implemented by the Canadian government to attract skilled workers worldwide. The primary objective of this program is to fill in the labor gaps in the country's economy and enhance the overall economic growth by attracting foreign nationals with specific skills and professional experience. The FSWP is a part of the Express Entry immigration system, which manages applications for permanent residence from skilled workers.

The FSWP meaning revolves around enabling skilled professionals to immigrate to Canada to address the labor shortages in various sectors of the economy. Applicants are assessed based on several factors, including their language proficiency, educational background, work experience, age, arranged employment in Canada, and adaptability.

One of the primary benefits of the FSWP is that it provides a pathway to permanent residency in Canada. This means successful applicants have the right to live and work anywhere in Canada, access most social benefits Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage, and apply for Canadian citizenship once they meet the eligibility requirements.

The FSWP plays a significant role in shaping Canada's diverse and multicultural society. Through this program, Canada has attracted skilled workers worldwide, significantly contributing to the country's economic development. The program's efficiency and effectiveness are evident in its success in attracting thousands of skilled workers each year, fulfilling its objective of addressing labor shortages in various sectors.

The FSWP is a crucial component of Canada's immigration system that aims at attracting skilled professionals globally. It is pivotal in filling labor gaps in Canada's economy and boosting economic growth. The FSWP meaning is not merely about immigration; it signifies Canada's commitment to building a diverse, multicultural society by welcoming skilled professionals from around the globe.

How to Qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program

How to Qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program

To immigrate to Canada via FSWP Canada, you must fulfil all eligibility requirements. Six factors are considered under the Federal Skilled Worker Program points grid. They are:

Selection Factor Maximum Points
Language ability 28
Education 25
Work experience 15
Age 12
Arranged employment 10
Adaptability 10

Note: The above factors form part of a 100-point grid, and individuals will increase their chances of success under this program if they score points in each of the six factors. The current pass mark is 67 points.

Work Experience

Before applying for the FSWP, knowing whether your occupation is on the Federal Skilled Worker Canada list of eligible occupations is crucial. This list includes various professions, from managerial and professional roles to technical and skilled trades jobs. Remember, the FSWP is not just about filling vacancies in the Canadian labor market. It's about bringing in skilled workers who can contribute to Canadian society and the economy in a meaningful way. So, if you're a skilled worker with an eligible occupation, you could be an excellent candidate for the FSWP.

To demonstrate the right work experience, you must:

  • You are still in the same type of job with the same NOC you were originally in when you made your immigration application (known as your primary occupation).
  • The work experience must be in the last ten years.
  • Work with wages or earned commission —volunteer work or unpaid internships don't count.
  • Have at least one year of continuous work or complete 30 hours per week— full-time or part-time.


While this stream doesn't necessarily require a Canadian job offer, having one will massively improve your chances of being accepted into this stream. Learn how to land a job in Canada.

Language Requirements

You must prove proficiency in English or French, as you will be tested in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. A minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of seven would be the best in all four abilities. Learn more about Canada's language tests.

Educational Requirements

If you attended school in Canada, you must have a certificate, diploma, or degree from a Canadian school - this can be obtained from a secondary institution, high school, or post-secondary institution.

For those who have foreign education, you must graduate with a credential and an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for immigration purposes from a designated organization. The ECA will show that your education equals a completed certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian secondary institution (high school) or a post-secondary institution. Learn more about how to verify your qualifications.

Proof of Funds

You must prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family settling in Canada. However, if you are legally working in Canada and have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada, then this may be sufficient.

Additionally, you must be admissible to Canada - you should be allowed to enter Canada. The decision will lie with the immigration officer.

Where You Plan to Live in Canada

Federal skilled workers applying under this program must live outside the province of Quebec, which selects its skilled workers. If you want to live in Quebec, you can apply to the Quebec Skilled Workers Program.

How to Apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

How to Apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The application process for the FSWP is not a mere formality; it's a critical step towards fulfilling your dreams of living and working in Canada. As the process for FSWP can be intricate, it's crucial to understand each step thoroughly. So, let’s embark on this journey and understand the key steps involved.

Step 1: Create an Express Entry Profile

Becoming a Federal Skilled Worker in Canada begins with creating an Express Entry profile. This is a crucial first step in the application process for the FSWP. If you fulfill the eligibility criteria mentioned above under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must create an Express Entry profile first. All Federal Skilled Workers must provide information about their age, work experience, skills, language ability, education, qualifications, and other personal information as needed.

Once your application is confirmed by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), you are placed in a pool of candidates. You are ranked according to the CRS to produce a CRS score.

Creating an Express Entry profile is not just about filling out a form; it's about presenting yourself in the best light possible. The information you provide here will be used to assess your eligibility and rank you against other potential candidates in the Express Entry pool. Therefore, it's essential to be thorough, accurate, and honest when creating your profile.

Your Express Entry profile is your first opportunity to make an impression on the Canadian immigration authorities. It's your chance to showcase your skills, experiences, and abilities and demonstrate why you would be a valuable addition to the Canadian workforce. Remember, the better your profile, the higher your chances of being selected for the FSWP.

Step 2: Improve Your Ranking Under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)

Once you've created your Express Entry profile, the next step is to improve your ranking under the CRS. The CRS is a points-based system that assesses and scores your profile based on various factors, including your skills, education, language proficiency, work experience, and other relevant factors.

Improving your CRS score is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Each individual's situation is unique, and different strategies may work better for different people. However, some common ways to improve your CRS score include improving your language skills, gaining additional work experience, obtaining higher education, and more.

Remember, the higher your CRS score, the better your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for the FSWP. It’s, therefore, worthwhile to invest time and effort in improving your CRS score to increase your chances of success.

One of the best places to start is to determine your CRS score using a CRS calculator.

Step 3: Get an Invitation to Apply (ITA)

After improving your CRS score, the next step is to wait for an ITA. The ITA is a formal invitation from the Canadian government to apply for permanent residency through the FSWP. Receiving an ITA is a significant milestone in your journey towards becoming a skilled worker in Canada.

Receiving an ITA is not guaranteed; it depends on various factors, including your CRS score, the number of ITAs issued in each draw, and the demand for specific skills and occupations in Canada. Therefore, while waiting for your ITA, it's crucial to maintain your eligibility and continue improving your CRS score.

You have 60 days to submit a complete and accurate application form and all the supporting documents as soon as you receive the invitation. The submission of a complete application is considered acceptance of the invitation sent by IRCC. Once all forms and documents are completed and uploaded, you will receive an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) issued by IRCC, which will further review your application and determine your eligibility for the program. This is an important step and requires careful attention to detail to ensure your application is complete and accurate.

Step 4: Medical Examination and Security Check

Once you've received your ITA and are ready to submit your application, the next step is to undergo a medical examination and security check. This is a critical phase in the application process for the FSWP, as it ensures that you are healthy and pose no security risk to Canada.

The medical examination must be conducted by a doctor approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The examination includes a general physical examination, blood tests, and X-rays. The results of your medical examination will be sent directly to IRCC and used to determine your eligibility for the FSWP.

In addition to the medical examination, you must undergo a security check. This involves providing a police clearance certificate from each country where you've lived for six months or more since turning 18. The security check is a vital part of the process to ensure the safety and security of Canadians. It's generally around this point you must pay your application fees. Learn more about Canadian immigration fees.

After You Apply

After you've submitted your application, completed your medical examination, and passed your security check, you might wonder what comes next. The waiting period can be an anxious time. Still, it's important to remember that this is a normal part of the process.

During this time, staying patient and updating your information is crucial. If anything changes in your situation – such as your marital status, childbirth, or a new job – you should update your Express Entry profile and inform IRCC as soon as possible. Learn more about IRCC processing times so you know what to prepare for.

Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and a permanent resident visa (if applicable). From there, you can start planning your move to Canada.


What's the Best Way to Maximize Your CRS Score?

A Provincial Nomination Program(PNP) is the greatest way to jump the race and improve your chances of obtaining permanent residency. Candidates who receive a nomination from a province or territory are awarded an additional 600 CRS points. If you know which territory to move to, applying for a PNP could improve your chances.

Can I Count Student Work Experience Toward the Express Entry Work Requirement?

Student work experience gained while you were studying in Canada or abroad counts towards the minimum requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program if the work:

  • was paid by wages or commissions;
  • was continuous (no gaps in employment), and;
  • meets all the other requirements of the program.

Please note that the above does include co-ops terms and apprenticeships.

Is There an Eligible Occupation for Federal Skilled Worker Canada List?

No, no separate eligible occupations for Federal Skilled Worker Canada list exists. As an applicant, you'll need at least one year of work experience in the past ten years. The occupation needs to fall under Canada's National Occupational Classification (NOC) as TEER level 0, 1, 2 or 3.

Want to learn more about Canada? Subscribe to our newsletter and get an e-book on Canadian immigration filled with mesmerizing sights of Canada!

Please enter a valid phone number. is a private recognized immigration agent and is not affiliated with the Canadian Government.
Privacy policy