Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

Eligibility Requirements for the Federal Skilled Trades Program

The eligibility requirements for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) are designed to select candidates who are skilled in a particular trade and can contribute to Canada’s economy. To be eligible for this immigration program, applicants must meet specific criteria.

  • Skilled Work Experience: Candidates must have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equivalent part-time experience) in a skilled trade within the five years before they apply. The work experience should be in one of the eligible trades listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system, specifically in groups 72, 73, 82, 92, as well as 632 and 633.
  • Job Offer or Certificate of Qualification: Applicants must either have a valid job offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year or a certificate of qualification in their skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority.
  • Language Ability: To demonstrate proficiency in English or French, candidates must take a language test approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and achieve a minimum score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for speaking and listening, and CLB 4 for reading and writing.
  • Education: Although not mandatory, if applicants have an educational credential, such as a high school or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree from Canada or equivalent from abroad, they may gain more points under the FSTP.
    • If their education was obtained outside Canada, they need to have an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from an approved agency.
  • Admissibility: Applicants must be admissible to Canada, meaning they should not have any criminal or medical issues that would prevent them from entering the country.
  • Intend to live outside the Province of Quebec: The FSTP is available for any part of Canada except for Quebec, which has its own skilled worker program. Candidates need to plan to reside in a different province or territory.

Meeting these requirements doesn’t guarantee acceptance into the FSTP, but it does ensure that the candidate is considered eligible to apply. Subsequent selection is performed on the basis of a points-based system, where candidates are ranked in the Express Entry pool. The more points the candidates have, the more likely they are to be invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Application Process for FSTP Candidates

Once you have confirmed that you meet the eligibility requirements for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), the next step is to prepare and submit your application. The process involves several stages, each requiring careful attention to detail to increase the probability of a successful outcome.

The first phase includes the creation of an Express Entry profile. This online profile is your way of providing information about your skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other personal details. It is critical that all information is accurate and up-to-date, as Canadian immigration officials will use this data to assess your eligibility for the FSTP.

Here are the steps you should follow for the application process:

  • Take the language test(s) for English and/or French and obtain the results needed for your Express Entry profile.
  • If your education was outside Canada, get your ECA report.
  • Create an account on the Government of Canada’s website and submit your Express Entry profile.
  • Upon submission, you will receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on the details provided in your profile.
  • If you meet the CRS cut-off threshold for a round of invitations, you will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence.
  • After receiving an ITA, you have 60 days to submit a complete application for permanent residence. This should include all required documentation, such as proof of skilled work experience, language test results, ECA report (if applicable), police certificates, and medical exams.
  • You must also provide proof of funds to show that you can financially support yourself and your family upon arriving in Canada, unless you are currently able to legally work in Canada or have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.
  • Double-check your application for completeness and accuracy before submission. Missing or incorrect information could lead to processing delays or even a refusal.
  • Submit your application and pay the necessary fees, which include the application processing fee and the right of permanent residence fee.
  • After submission, you may be asked to provide additional information or attend an interview.
  • Once your application is approved, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and, if applicable, an entry visa.

Keep in mind that the processing time for FSTP applications can vary, so it’s best to submit your application as soon as possible after receiving an ITA. In addition, you should remain prepared to update your Express Entry profile if your circumstances change, and consistently check your account for any communication from immigration officials.

Given the complexities of the process and the high stakes of immigrating to Canada, some candidates choose to seek help from immigration lawyers or consultants. These professionals can provide guidance and assistance to ensure that your application is as strong as possible. However, remember that using a representative is optional and does not guarantee the success of your application.

Successfully navigating the application process requires organizational skills, attention to detail, and patience. Each step is integral to moving closer to your goal of living and working in Canada under the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Benefits and Considerations of the Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) offers a compelling path to permanent residence in Canada for skilled trade workers. As with any immigration option, there are certain benefits and considerations that prospective candidates should weigh before applying.

  • Easier Pathway for Tradespeople: The FSTP is tailored for individuals with experience in skilled trades, offering easier access to permanent residence compared to other economic immigration programs which often favor candidates with higher levels of formal education or white-collar job experience.
  • Language Requirements: The language proficiency requirements under the FSTP are relatively lower than those for other federal economic immigration programs. This can be a significant advantage for tradespeople whose first language is not English or French but have strong speaking and listening skills.
  • Employment Prospects: With a permanent job offer or a Canadian qualification in a trade, candidates demonstrate to immigration officials that they possess skills that are in demand in Canada’s labor market. This can lead to more secure and better paying job opportunities.
  • Access to All Provinces and Territories: Unlike Quebec’s separate immigration program for skilled workers, the FSTP allows candidates to settle in any other province or territory upon arrival, thus offering greater flexibility and choice of destination within the country.
  • No Education Requirement: There is no mandatory education requirement for the FSTP, which means that having trade certifications and experience can be enough to qualify, making it an accessible program for many skilled workers.

However, candidates should also be aware of the potential challenges and considerations.

  • Limited Occupations: Only specific trade occupations are eligible under the FSTP. Candidates should thoroughly verify that their trade falls within the eligible categories of the NOC before investing time and resources into the application process.
  • High Standards for Proof of Experience: Applicants must provide detailed proof of their work experience in a trade. It is important that they maintain thorough documentation of their employment history, certifications, and work performed, as this will be scrutinized during the application process.
  • Adaptation to Canadian Standards: Trade qualifications from other countries might not always be recognized in Canada. Applicants must be prepared to adapt to Canadian industry standards and may need to undergo additional assessments or certification processes.
  • Settlement Funds: Unless they are already working in Canada or have a valid job offer, candidates are required to show proof of funds to ensure they can support themselves and their family after arrival. This financial requirement can be a significant consideration for many applicants.
  • Competitive Express Entry Pool: While the FSTP addresses the needs of tradespeople, the Express Entry system is competitive, and higher CRS scores increase chances of receiving an ITA. Tradespeople should aim to maximize their scores by improving their language skills, gaining additional work experience, or acquiring Canadian work experience, if possible.

Understanding the benefits and considerations of the FSTP is crucial in making an informed decision about whether this is the right immigration pathway. In a country that values skilled trades and provides opportunities for growth, the FSTP can be a promising route for tradespeople seeking a new life in Canada.