Immigrate to Canada with the Federal Skilled Worker Program

Posted July 7, 2022 8:00 a.m. EDT

Express Entry draws have resumed for all programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). These draws mean that applicants from outside Canada will now be invited to apply for permanent residence.

Express Entry draws had been suspended for approximately 18 months due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the height of the pandemic, travel between countries was restricted and government regulations changed frequently. On July 6, Canada held its first all-program draw since December 2020.

Going forward, with travel restrictions now lifted, Canada will gradually increase Express Entry admissions over the next few years. It has set a goal of welcoming more than 110,000 Express Entry immigrants per year by 2024.

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What is the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

The FSWP is the most popular route for skilled workers abroad who wish to become permanent residents of Canada.

The program targets skilled workers who will be able to leverage their work experience, education, language skills and other human capital factors to establish themselves economically in Canada.

When launched in 1967, it was the first immigration program in the world to assess applicants using a points system, an approach that has been adopted by other countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

Who is eligible for FSWP?

Each Express Entry program has unique eligibility criteria. Of the three Express Entry programs, the FSWP is the most common route for applicants who have not worked or studied in Canada before.

Applicants must first ensure that they meet the following FSWP criteria:

  • At least one year of qualified professional experience
  • A minimum Canadian language proficiency level of 7 on their English or French language test
  • At least a college degree
  • Show proof of funds (if applicable)
  • Obtain at least 67 points out of 100 on the FSWP scoring grid

Professional experience

A candidate must be able to demonstrate at least one year of skilled work experience that falls under skill codes 0, A or B of Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Canada’s NOC codes determine the level of skill and education needed for a profession or career within the same industry in Canada. For the FSWP and any Express Entry program, there are three eligible NOC categories:

  • NOC 0: Management positions
  • NOC A: Careers that generally require a university degree
  • NOC B: Skilled trades


Candidates eligible for the PFQF must have completed a minimum of high school education in Canada or abroad. If an applicant’s studies are completed overseas, they will need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). The assessment shows that their education abroad is equivalent to a Canadian diploma, degree or certification.


To be eligible for the FSWP, candidates must pass a standardized language test and obtain a minimum score of 7 on the Canadian Language Benchmark (NCLC) in reading, writing, listening and speaking in English or French.

proof of funds

PTQF applicants must also demonstrate that they have enough money saved to support themselves and dependents while they seek employment in Canada. The amount of settlement funds varies depending on the number of people who need to be supported.

Number of family members Funds required in CAD
1 $13,310
2 $16,570
3 $20,371
4 $24,733
5 $28,052
6 $31,638
seven $35,224
Each additional family member $3,586

FSWP Dot Grid

The FSWP points grid assesses criteria such as work experience and language, but also takes into account human capital. This means that applicants are also assessed on their age, any arranged employment and other adaptability factors such as having a sibling or other family already in Canada.

Each factor is assigned a point value and candidates can score up to 100 points. To be eligible for the FSWP, they must score at least 67. The FSWP is the only Express Entry program that uses this grid.

Factors Points
Education Up to 25
Language skills Up to 28
Professional experience Up to 15
Age Up to 12
Arranged employment Up to 10
Adaptability Up to 10

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an application management system that oversees three of IRCC’s economic immigration programs; the FSWP, the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

How it works?

Applicants must first self-assess whether they meet the basic eligibility criteria of the program they wish to apply to. If they meet the criteria, they can then upload a profile on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Once a profile has been completed, the candidate will receive a numerical score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). A CRS score is designed as an objective method of ranking candidates against each other. This helps IRCC select immigrants who are more likely to establish themselves economically while settling in Canada and bringing in-demand skills to the Canadian workforce.

Applicants with higher scores are more likely to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency. Once an ITA is received, applicants have 60 days to submit their application.

How long will it take?

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has announced that new applicants to Express Entry programs can expect their application to be processed within six months of receiving an ITA and submitting their final application for permanent residence.

Get a Free Express Entry Assessment

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