The Federal Skilled Trades Program: Everything You Need to Know

If you are a skilled worker looking to immigrate to Canada, then the Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program is just the thing for you. The Federal Skilled Trades program is one of three major federal immigration programs managed by the Express Entry System. Just like all the other Express Entry systems this one too ranks candidates’ eligibility for qualification with the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). This helps the program runners decide who is eligible and who can be granted a permanent residency visa.

According to the Canadian Immigration Law Firm (CANADIM), every year, over half of all the immigrants who enter Canada, are skilled workers. They came in through economic programs such as the Federal Skilled Trades program. If you are a qualified tradesperson with a good level of experience and knowledge, then this program can be a huge boon. It can fast-track your application to move, get you a permanent residency visa, and let you live and work in Canada faster than most other programs.

Do You Qualify?

To qualify for the FST program, you need to have at least two years of industry work experience under your belt. That or an equivalent of that if you worked part-time. This experience will only be taken into consideration if it was obtained within the last five years of you applying to the FST program. Additionally, it will only be considered work experience if you got it after being granted certification, license or equivalent, to practice the trade in your country.

Federal Skilled Trades Program

“The beginning is the most important part of the work. – Plato, Athenian philosopher

Canada Employment Connection

Aside from work experience, you need to have a valid full-time offer of employment. This offer has to be for a position that is for a minimum of 12 months. Alternatively, you could have a certificate of qualification in your respective skilled trade. This should be issued by a Canadian provincial or territorial authority.

Language Benchmark

With Canada being a predominantly English and French-speaking country, you need a certain level of language proficiency to make it there. Therefore you need to reach a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 4 on an approved English or French language test.


If you are applying for the FST program, you need to make it clear that you intend to live outside of the province of Quebec.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. – Seneca, Roman philosopher

Federal Skilled Trades Program

Meeting Basic Admissibility Requirements

Given that you have met all the previously mentioned standards and passed, you would be eligible to submit an Express Entry profile for the Federal Skilled Trades program. However, it is still no guarantee that your application will be selected or even finalized. For that, you need to meet Canada’s basic admissibility requirement. This means that certain criminal offenses and/or medical conditions may make your application inadmissible to enter Canada this way.

What You Need to Know When Applying to the FST Program

As mentioned before, having the qualifications and the certification is no guarantee that you will get a permanent residency visa, and neither is having a submitted Express Entry application. Only after submitting it will you be assigned a CSR score, and only then will you be considered in future Express Entry draws for Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residence.

When you are applying, you need to provide lots of documentation and details. For one, you need to provide results from your language test, taken within the last two years. Then there is all the proof of identification documents. Ideally, you and all your accompanying dependents need to have a valid passport to travel.

Another thing you need to watch out for is educational documents. While this isn’t necessary for the Federal Skilled Trades program, it does help bring up your CRS score.


At the end of the day, there are no guarantees when it comes to the Express Entry system or the Federal Trades. But for those who do qualify, this is a great way to go about getting your career started in Canada as a skilled trades worker.

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