Express Entry

Federal Skilled Trades Class

Helping Trades Persons from Around the World Immigrate to Canada

Do you qualify?

Applicants applying under the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FST) must demonstrate:

  • At least 2 years of full-time (or part-time equivalent) work in a skilled trade in the last 5 years prior to your application date
  • A full-time job offer in Canada of at least one year in length or a Certificate of Qualification in your trade
  • Required language skills for each language category (see below)
  • Proof of Settlement Funds: applicants without an offer of employer must demonstrate sufficient finances to immigrate to Canada (see below)
  • Intend to live outside the province of Quebec

What is a Skilled Trade?

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) specifies 6 categories of skilled trade occupations for the Federal Skilled Trades Class:

  • industrial, electrical, and construction trades
  • maintenance and equipment operation trades
  • supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production
  • processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators
  • chefs and cooks
  • butchers and bakers

 As you can see, these categories are vague and cover a broad range of trade occupations. Given the broadness of the categories, it is vital that you have a clear description of your job duties to ensure you satisfy most duties listed in your chosen NOC description.

At VisaPath, we ensure applicants select the correct NOC for their specific occupation, ensuring they are credited with the experience they deserve.

Does my Work Experience Qualify?

You must have at least two years of paid work experience (1560 hours total, either full time for one year or part-time for 24 months) in the last five years prior to your application date.

Applicants must be qualified and certified to practice in their trade for the work experience to count.

What does not count as skilled trades work experience?

  • Unpaid work
  • Work during an apprenticeship or training
  • Part time combination of work and study
  • Work experience while not qualified or certified to practice in your chosen trade

Your work experience should be well documented with employment letters and contracts.If you were certified outside Canada, you should have evidence of when you first became qualified and how long you have been working as a qualified trades person.

NOTE:In many trades, such as plumbers and electricians, it is common to be self-employed. This means that many applicants cannot provide typical documentation one would receive from working as an employee. At VisaPath, our representatives can steer you to alternative ways of proving your work experience and job duties.

Proof of Settlement Funds

Applicants who do not have an offer of employment must demonstrate sufficient funds to support themselves and their family upon arrival in Canada. This monetary requirement is based on the applicant family size.

Your funds must be accessible and transferable. They cannot be in the form of assets or hindered by debts or other financial obligations.

TIP: if you have an accompanying spouse, you can co-mingle your funds to meet the financial requirement.


Language Skills

In order to qualify under the Federal Skilled Trades Class, applicants must meet the following minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) scores:

  • Speaking – CLB 5
  • Listening –  CLB 5
  • Reading – CLB 4
  • Writing – CLB 4
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Have a Question?

How We Can Help

At VisaPath, our representatives are highly experienced with the Express Entry system and the Canadian Experience Class program. We help guide our clients throughout each step of the process, ensuring they meet all requirements from the start to ensure a smooth process towards permanent residency.

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To get started, call and schedule a consolation with one of our representatives.


I am very pleased with the team and their work. The lawyers I worked with to get the permanent residency were all professionals and very quick to respond to my questions. It was a long process but not because of the firm: all the papers needed for the application took time to get issued and then to be processed by the immigration office. Overall, thanks to the team, I was relieved of any stress related to the application as I just needed to follow their guidance. I definitely recommend their service for anyone who is applying for permanent residency.

– Isabelle de Laigue

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Federal Skilled Worker program and federal skilled worker trades program?
The main difference between these two categories is mostly what is indicated in the titles of these programs. One route is for highly skilled workers, usually in health care, social services, IT professionals, etc.

The other category is specifically for highly skilled workers in the trading field. The trading field includes jobs in manufacturing, industrial sectors, food industries, etc.

Usually, the federal skilled workers program requires a high level of education for the consideration of the job position.

What educational requirements do I need in order to be eligible under this route?

There are no minimum educational requirements for Federal skilled trades program. There is anadvantage of having some sort of education level, whether it is foreign education or Canadian education, in order for the applicant to gain points. Their education level can be assessed by undergoing an Education Credential Assessment from an agency authorized by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada.

They will see if your educational certificate, diploma or degree, or any other types of foreign credentials can assist in obtaining enough points for this program.

What is the processing time?

Processing time is dependent on your situation. Since this category is under the express entry application, it is dependent on how fast you can gather your documentation for stage 1, which is creating the profile.

If you qualify under the federal skilled workers trade program and you receive an invitation you have 90 days to submit your supporting documentation.

If you have submitted a complete and strong package, then you can expect a decision within 6-12 months. If you have not completed the application correctly that will cause delays, a procedural fairness letter or it could result in refusal.