Express Entry

Federal Skilled Worker Program

What is the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) is an Express Entry stream that allows professionals and skilled workers to obtain Canadian permanent resident status for themselves and their families. The Canadian government is seeking people with skills and education to come to Canada, and the FSW is the ideal way to apply for permanent residency for many immigrants. However, you should be mindful that the requirements are more stringent than some other streams, and can be difficult to reach without long term planning.

At VisaPath, we will help you decided if this stream is right for your needs.


Do I Qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

The basic employment qualifications for the FSW are:

  1. Employed for a minimum of one year in the same occupation; and.
  2. Continuous employment; and.
  3. Paid full-time or (an equal amount of part time work) within the last 10 years.

The work must fall into one of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) job groups:

  • Managerial jobs (skill type 0),
  • Professional jobs (skill level A),
  • Technical jobs and skilled trades (skill level B).

Where can I find my NOC?

The Government of Canada has a database of all NOCs to help best suit your specific occupation. The goal is to match your job duties with the job duties listed in the NOC code.

TIP: You must examine your job duties and not your job title. Applicants can mistakenly match their job title with their associated NOC code. If your job duties do not accurately reflect the job duties listed in the NOC code, it could lead to a refusal.

Language Skills

Compared with other Express Entry streams, FSW applicants must provide strong evidence of English and/or French language competency.

Applicants must take an approved language test which measures your abilities in the following categories:

  • Reading
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Writing
Accredited Language Testing Centres


  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
  • CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program)


  • TEF (Test Devaluation de Francais)
  • TCF (Test de connaissance du francais)

Financial Support

Applicants must score a minimum of 7 (out of 10) in each category, according to the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) to be eligible for the FSW program.


To quality under FSW, applicants must have completed their secondary (high school) education or a foreign equivalent.

If you have obtained your education out side Canada, it must be assessed to determine the Canadian equivalent to be awarded points on your Express Entry profile. This is done by obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

Note: Certain professions, such as pharmacists and doctors, have their own body which assesses their education. Itis important to verify which Canadian body regulates your profession or skilled trade to obtain the correct ECA.

How Many Points Do I Need to Qualify?

Although you satisfy the minimum requirements of language, work experience, and education, your profile is still not yet guaranteed to be put in the Express Entry Pool.

To be eligible for the FSW program, you must score at least 67 / 100 points. Only those with 67 points or above will be put in the FSW Express Entry pool.

Note: This point system is not based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) used in ranking all Express Entry profiles.

How are FSW points calculated?

There are 6 categories in which you may be awarded points under the FSW point grid:

  1. Language Ability – 28 points max
  2. Education – 25 points max
  3. Work Experience – 15 points max 
  4. Age – 12 points maximum
  5. Arranged Employment – 10 points max
  6. Adaptability – 10 points max

Examples of adaptability includes any work or studying you or your spouse have completed in Canada, or any relatives in Canada who are already permanent residents or citizens.

Essentially, the more work experience, higher education, and language skills you demonstrate, the more points you will be awarded.

For example, having six years of skilled work experience will gain you an extra six points over having one year, while having a CLB score of 9 in all language skills will gain you an extra 8 points over the minimum, 2 for each skill.

These are scored to maximize the points of candidates who are younger, have a valid job offer, and have ‘adaptability’ (i.e. have an easier settlement process due to existing ties in Canada).

Even if you do not score 67 points, you may be eligible under another Express Entry stream, such as the Federal Skilled Trades and Canadian Experience Class. At VisaPath, we will advise you of all possible options at VisaPath to ensure your best chance of success.

Receiving an Invitation to Apply What happens next?

Applicants who receive an invitation to apply have qualified for permanent residency under the FSW program. Now, it is time to obtain all supporting documentation claimed in your Express Entry profile and your application for permanent residency.

Authorization to Return (ARC)

Proof of Medical Exam you must obtain a medical checkup from a qualified physician. The purpose is to demonstrate that applicants have no conditions which would endanger the health of Canadians, or put excessive demand on Canadian health and social services.

Police Criminal Clearance you must provide criminal background checks for any country you have stayed in for more than six months in the last ten years or since 18 years old. This does not include Canada if that is your current country of residence.

Proof of Settlement Funds If you do not have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer and cannot legally work in Canada yet, you must provide proof of settlement funds. This demonstrates that you will be able to financially support yourself, your spouse and any dependents accompanying you to Canada. The financial requirement depends on the size of your family.

Many of these requirements can take time to obtain. The 60-day deadline to provide all supporting documentation after receiving an invitation to apply approaches surprisingly quickly, thus applicants should start obtaining these documents as soon as they can.

popup-form-background maple leaf image

Have a Question?

How We Can Help

The FSW program requirements can be complex and confusing if you are new to this program. Express Entry applications have little more for error and thus is it important to ensure you not only meet the eligibility requirements but can provide strong and convincing documentation in support of your application.

At VisaPath, our representatives are highly experienced with Express Entry and understand the ins and out of the Express Entry system. We will guide through each step of the progress to give you the best chances of success. We understand that applicants rely on us to help them achieve their dream of becoming permanent residents of Canada. We take this very seriously. We want nothing more than to see our clients and their family successfully immigrate to Canada to enjoy all its privileges and opportunities.

VisaPath Immigraiton Law Firm logo Large

To get started, contact our office at

to schedule a consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Federal Skilled Workers Program work?

The Federal Skilled Workers program was designed to use work experience from skilled workers to assist them in permanently migrating to Canada. The Federal skilled workers program is under the express entry application, so the candidates looking to receive an invitation through this program must meet the minimum requirements.

These applications are evaluated by factors below:

  • Education level
  • Work experience
  • Age
  • Valid job offer
  • English or French Language Skills
  • Adaptability (settlement traits)

All these factors are assessed on a 100-point grid; this grid is used to determine candidates’ points for how well they score in different sections.

The current pass mark is 67 points.

What if I get refused even though my score is over the pass mark of 67?

There are possibilities in which a candidate may get refused on this program even though they pass the required mark for this program. Immigration Canada does evaluate applicant who are able to demonstrate they can be economically established in Canada. If the immigration officer does not believe you will become economically stable in Canada, they have the right to refuse your application based on what was submitted in the application.

What occupations fall under this category?

Immigration Canada will look at your work experience under the job group of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) Skill Type 0, Level A and Level B.

It is important to show that you are performing the job duties and responsibilities of your primary occupation. Your work experience must be within the last ten years, it has to be paid work, the duties have to match the NOC chosen in your application, and at least one year of continuous work.