Federal Skilled Worker Program
A skilled worker visa is an important document if you’re planning to live and work in Canada permanently.
The key factors of a successful application for a skilled worker visa to Canada are demonstrating that your skillset is beneficial to the country, by satisfying all the criteria, and completing each step of the application process correctly.
The Federal Skilled Worker Visa is one of the most sought-after Canadian visas for people who want to reside permanently in this country, but not everyone is eligible for it.
If you’re interested in applying for this Canadian Permanent Resident Visa, there are certain things you need to know about it before moving forward with your plans.
To register for your Canadian visa eligibility assessment
Table of Contents
What Is a Federal Skilled Worker Visa to Canada?
The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is a Canadian immigration program that offers permanent residency in Canada to eligible skilled foreign workers and their family members.
If you and your family are approved for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you can:
- live in Canada as permanent residents for an unlimited amount of time
- work in Canada legally
- study in Canada at world-class educational institutions
- receive free or subsidized public healthcare
- sponsor eligible family members for Canadian permanent residency
- experience equality and freedom in a country that embraces diversity
- travel to and from Canada
- buy a home or start your own business
- enjoy beautiful beaches, mountains, forests, lakes and other scenery
- dwell in one of the world’s most peaceful countries
- apply to become a Canadian citizen after living in Canada for 3 out of 5 years
What Are The Requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program?
The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is a point-based Canadian immigration program for skilled foreign workers and their families.
Skilled immigrants must receive at least 67 out of 100 points for six selection factors and satisfy other eligibility requirements.
The six selection factors for the Federal Skilled Worker Program are: age; English or French language skills; education; relevant work experience; qualifying offer of employment in Canada; and adaptability for Canadian immigration.
In addition to achieving the minimum point threshold, you need at least 1 year of full-time paid work experience during the past 10 years in an eligible occupation listed by the 2021 National Occupational Classification (NOC) as being at:
- TEER Category 0 (certain management occupations);
- TEER Category 1 (certain professions usually requiring a university degree);
- TEER Category 2 (certain occupations usually requiring a college diploma, or apprenticeship training of at least 2 years, or supervisory occupations); or
- TEER Category 3 (certain occupations usually requiring a college diploma, apprenticeship training lasting under 2 years, or over 6 months of on-the-job training).
If the skilled foreign worker received his or her education outside of Canada, he or she will need to get a passing Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from a designated organization which shows that the education obtained outside Canada is valid and equivalent to an education completed inside Canada.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program has a minimum score requirement equivalent to Canadian Benchmark Level (CLB) 7 that must be attained on each of the four measures (reading, writing, speaking and comprehension) on an approved English or French language evaluation exam, such as the IELTS General Training Exam for English or the TEF – Canada Exam for French.
Other eligibility requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program include:
- Good health (each family member must have a medical exam)
- No criminal record (police certificates may be required)
- Proof of funds (enough resources to take care of yourself and your family in Canada)
Canadian Visa Expert works with authorized immigration consultants who can evaluate your eligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker Program and guide you through the application process if you qualify!
How to Get a Federal Skilled Worker Visa to Canada
Once you know whether you satisfy the eligibility requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the next step is to file your online Express Entry profile on the Canadian immigration agency’s website.
The Express Entry profile will include details about you and your family; your education, English or French language abilities, work experience and other information.
It is a good idea to prepare for and take an approved language evaluation test for English (such as the IELTS General Training Exam) or French (such as the TEF – Canada) prior to filing your online Express Entry profile, since you will need to enter scores that are less than two years old in your profile.
Similarly, if your education was not obtained in Canada, you will need to get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from a designated organization that is relevant for your occupation, since you will need to enter information from the ECA in your Express Entry profile.
After you file your Express Entry profile, a Canadian immigration agency official will review your details and if you appear to qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, your profile will be placed in the Express Entry pool of candidates for up to 12 months.
You will also receive a score on the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) for various factors (1200 points are possible).
In order to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian Permanent Residency, you must have one of the highest CRS scores in the Express Entry pool, or receive a nomination for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), or get a qualifying offer of employment in Canada.
Once you get an ITA, you will have 60 days to file a complete Application for Canadian Permanent Residency along with paying the governmental fees and should receive a decision in six months or less.
If you are approved for Express Entry immigration to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you will receive a Certificate of Permanent Residence (COPR) and must move to Canada while it is still valid.
In the event that you need a visa to enter Canada (citizens of some countries simply need an Electronic Travel Authorization or eTA), you will also receive a Canadian Permanent Resident Visa on a page of your passport.
How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Accepted for the FSWP?
In order to increase your chances of being approved for the Federal Skilled Worker Program and Express Entry immigration to Canada, you may want to consider the following:
- Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for the FSWP before applying
- Be well-organized and complete the required tasks correctly and on time
- Prepare for the English or French language evaluation exam before you take it
- Start gathering the required documents early in the process
- If you do not have good English or French language skills, improve them
How Much Does It Cost To Apply for a Federal Skilled Worker Visa?
When you apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you will generally pay several thousand Canadian Dollars (CAD) in governmental fees and non-governmental expenses.
These costs will be paid at different points throughout the Canadian immigration process.
Your total costs to apply for Express Entry to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program will depend on the size of your family, where you are traveling from, where you will be living in Canada and other factors.
Governmental fees may include:
- Canadian Permanent Residency Application Fee (Main Applicant) = $850 CAD
- Canadian Permanent Residency Application Fee (Spouse/Partner) = $850 CAD
- Right of Permanent Residence Fee (Main Applicant) = $515 CAD
- Right of Permanent Residence Fee (Spouse/Partner) = $515 CAD
- Dependent Child Fee = $230 CAD per child
- Biometrics Fee = $85 CAD for 1 person or $170 CAD for a family or 2 or more people
- Canadian Permanent Resident Card Fee = $50 CAD per person
Please note that these amounts were effective as of December 2022 and are subject to change by the Canadian government at any time.
Non-governmental expenses may include costs for the:
- English or French language evaluation exam
- Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)
- Translations of required documents that were not written in English or French
- Medical exams
- Police certificates
- Transportation to Canada (for example, airfare to Canada)
- Living expenses in Canada after arrival (housing, food, clothing, transportation, etc.)
Pros and Cons of Applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Visa to Canada
Like many things in life, it is good to balance between the pros and cons (benefits and liabilities) of applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
The pros may include:
- The opportunity to become a Canadian Permanent Resident
- The Federal Skilled Worker Program qualifies for Express Entry
- The application process is relatively fast (about 8-12 months)
- If approved, you can live, work and study in Canada for an unlimited time
- Permanent Residents have the option to become a Canadian citizen
The cons may include:
- You need a relatively high score on an English or French language evaluation exam
- Applying for Canadian Permanent Residency usually takes longer than for a work visa
- It generally costs more to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency than for a work visa
Other Types of Visas for Moving to Canada and Finding Employment
Canada needs skilled foreign workers and there are several Canadian skilled worker visa programs available, so in the event that you do not qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, it is possible that you might qualify for another type of visa for moving to Canada.
Some of the other Canadian skilled worker visa programs include the:
- Provincial Nominee Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Canadian Experience Class Program
- Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program
- Atlantic Immigration Program
- Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot
- Agri-Food Pilot
- Caregiver Program
The Federal Skilled Worker Program is one of the most popular pathways for skilled foreign workers to immigrate to Canada with their families, however, there are also many other routes available as well.
Since 2012, Canadian Visa Expert has been working with authorized immigration consultants who can provide you with an Eligibility Evaluation of your best option for immigration to Canada and guide you through the application process if you qualify.