Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The Canadian visa system has various programs which are designed for specific groups of individuals. The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is one such program specifically made for foreign professionals in the fields of healthcare, engineering, technical careers, and more. The FSWP uses a points system to help determine if a foreign worker qualifies. The professionals who apply are required to be skilled, with work experience in the qualifying occupation. The work experience should be at least one year in the past ten years, in a full-time paid job that is in the individual’s field of specialty. In addition to work experience, points are given for education, age, language skills in English or French, a valid job offer from a Canadian company and the adaptability of the individual. The minimum required score is 67 points out of 100 points possible.

With 67 points and above, the applicant can apply for Express Entry to Canada along with their family. Applicants approved for Canadian immigration through the FSWP are allowed to work, study and live in Canada, receive free health care as well as many other benefits.

General Requirements

To be able to apply and qualify to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry via the FSWP, the following requirements must be satisfied:

  • Work experience of at least one year in the past ten years in an occupation that is eligible
  • A minimum of 67/100 points based on six factors (age, adaptability, education, language skills in English or French, work experience and proof of arranged employment in Canada)
  • Supporting documents that demonstrate good moral character, good health, sufficient finances, etc.
  • Government fees paid (such as the Canadian Visa Application Fee)
  • Other fees paid (such as for the language evaluation exam and Education Credential Assessment)

To begin this process, interested professionals should complete the profile for Express Entry, which is done online.


Work Experience

To qualify for the FSWP, the candidate must be a skilled foreign professional with at least 1-year of full time paid experience during the last 10 years in an occupation categorized as Skill Level 0, Skill Level 1, Skill Level 2 or Skill Level 3 under the 2021 Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC).

The NOC classifies Canadian jobs into the following categories:

Management Jobs (Skill Level 0)

In the Canadian NOC, management jobs are classified as Skill Level 0. These include various types of management jobs, such as engineering managers, managers of construction, financial managers, managers in human resources, manufacturing managers, telecommunication managers, marketing managers, transportation managers, utilities managers as well as managerial jobs in many other careers.

Professional Jobs (Skill Level 1)

In Canada’s NOC, professional jobs are classified as Skill Level 1. These Canadian jobs usually require a degree from the university. Examples of professional jobs include: accountants, architects, aerospace engineers, audiologists, dentists, computer programmers, financial analysts, electrical engineers, mathematicians, geoscientists, mechanical engineers, oceanographers, occupational therapists, petroleum engineers, optometrists, pharmacists, psychologists, physicians, registered nurses, software engineers, veterinarians, secondary school teachers, university professors – among many others!

Technical Jobs and Skilled Trades (Skill Levels 2 and 3)

In the NOC, these Canadian jobs are classified as Skill Level 2 or Skill Level 3. Technical jobs and skilled trades in Canada usually require training beyond the standard secondary school education. The jobs in this category include various technical occupations and skilled trades. Examples of technical jobs and skilled trades include: mechanics of aircraft, bakers, carpenters, butchers, chefs, electricians, crane operators, glaziers, machinists, operators of heavy-duty equipment as well as mechanics of heavy-duty equipment, operators of logging machinery, technicians of medical laboratories, plumbers, gas and oil well drillers, operators of power systems, welders, and many other skilled trades and technical occupations.

Minimum Points

Foreign skilled workers who apply for the FSWP must obtain at least 67/100 points. The points can be received for six factors, with the following allocations:

  • French, English or both language skills – 28 points maximum
  • Educational attainment – 25 points maximum
  • Work Experience if at least 1 year in the past 10 years prior to application, in a full-time, paid job in an occupation that is eligible – 15 points maximum
  • Age of the applicant – 12 points maximum
  • A full-time job offer from a Canadian employer for a duration of one year minimum in a job categorized at Skill Type 0, Skill Level A or Skill Level B – 10 points maximum
  • Adaptability (may include language skills of the applicant, language skills of the applicant’s partner or spouse, previous visit to Canada for studies or work by the applicant or the applicant’s partner or spouse, family members with residence in Canada, etc.) – 10 points maximum

Supporting Documents

The applicant must have proper documentation as proof that they and their partner/spouse have met all the criteria required by the FSWP.

One example is the score from a language evaluation examination, which should not be more than two years old. Authorized language evaluation examinations include the IELTS and TEF exams. These tests appropriately demonstrate skills necessary for writing, reading, speaking and good comprehension of the English and/or the French language(s).

Skilled foreign workers who apply may be required to obtain an Education Credential Assessment to determine if their educational credentials received outside of Canada are similar to Canadian educational credentials.

There must be a certification of good health and good moral character, usually given by a licensed physician and the police, respectively. This is required for all the applicants as well as the family members who desire to accompany the applicants (family members under 18 years of age do not need police certifications).

Furthermore, skilled foreign workers will need to show proof of adequate funds. This demonstrates the ability to support oneself as well as the accompanying family immigrating to Canada with them.


There are different types of fees that all applying foreign skilled workers are required to pay at various stages of the FSWP Canadian immigration process.

To begin with, the application fee is paid after the applicant receives the Invitation to Apply, known as the ITA.
If Express Entry is approved, then the applicant is required to pay the Right of Permanent Residence Fee as well as the fee for the Permanent Residence Card.The Permanent Residence Card is an official form of identification and proof of permanent resident status in Canada.
Other fees may include payment for the IELTS (English language evaluation examination) or the TEF (French language evaluation examination), medical examination, police certification of good moral character, as well as the ECA.
The fees noted here are just summaries of the general fees required during the Canadian immigration process. They may be updated at any time, without prior announcements.

The Application Process

To apply for Canadian immigration via the FSWP, foreign skilled workers are required to begin by filing an Express Entry profile (this is done online).

Requirements for the Express Entry profile usually include satisfactory scores on the IELTS or TEF exam, and a favorable Education Credential Assessment.
Following the completion of the profile, it will be viewed by an official from the Canadian immigration agency. Applicants who have satisfied the FSWP requirements will be included in a pool of candidates. Applicants may be selected for Canadian visa application invitations if they:

  1. Have one of the highest scores in the Comprehensive Ranking System
  2. Receive a Canadian job offer that qualifies
  3. Are nominated for Canadian immigration via the Provincial Nominee Program.

After the issuance of the ITA, applicants have a 60-day window to file their Canadian Visa Application, pay the application fee, and provide the supporting documents to the Canadian immigration agency.
Most applicants receive an approval or a rejection within 6 months or less after the submission of the Canadian Visa Application.
Thereafter, a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) will be provided to the applicant and his or her family members, and the valid passports will be stamped with a Canadian visa for permanent residence. The applicant will be required to pay for a Permanent Residence Card, which serves as an immigrant’s identification in Canada.

The Benefits of Permanent Residency in Canada

The benefits available to permanent residents of Canada includes the following:

  • They can live in Canada for as long as they desire
  • They have legal rights to work in Canada
  • They can participate in educational programs in Canada
  • Access to public healthcare is free or subsidized
  • They can travel from and to Canada
  • They can open Canadian bank accounts
  • They can apply for a license to drive in Canada
  • They can establish Canadian businesses
  • They can purchase homes in Canada
  • They can sponsor family members for visas to Canada
  • Canada is extremely peaceful
  • Canada has world famous scenery
  • Canada is multicultural and the people love immigrants and welcome them open-heartedly
  • Canadian citizenship may be obtained after 3 years or residence (as well as meeting other criteria)

There are so many benefits that can be accrued by permanent residents of Canada.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not and should not be considered as expert or professional advice.

To learn if you and your family qualify for Canadian immigration