Federal Skilled Worker Program

October 16, 2023


  • Wesley Allan

If you are a skilled professional looking to immigrate to Canada permanently, you can immigrate through Canada's most popular immigration platform - the Express Entry System. Canada's Express Entry system is a hugely popular pathway since candidates can gain permanent residence in Canada in as little as six months.

Before we delve into the process for FSWP, let's first clarify the FSWP meaning. The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is an immigration program in Canada designed to attract skilled individuals in occupations that are in demand. The program seeks to meet the economic and labor needs of the country by bringing in qualified individuals from around the world.

What is the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

Federal Skilled Worker Program

The FSWP Canada is part of Canada's Express Entry immigration system, a point-based system that assesses applicants based on their skills, work experience, language proficiency, and other factors. The FSWP is one of the federal skilled worker program jobs that offer a pathway to permanent residency in Canada and open up a world of career advancement and personal growth opportunities.

The Express Entry system was designed in 2015 to allow skilled workers to immigrate to Canada with their families quickly. The system is designed to yield quick immigration results and to help stimulate the Canadian economy to fill the labor shortages.

In Canada, a skilled worker generally has to gain a recognized qualification in their specialized industry to work in their current position. Alternatively, the workers must have significant work experience in a skilled position. The Express Entry system classes skilled workers into three categories and provides specific Express Entry programs for each. They are as follows:

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

This program targets workers in professional jobs, requiring a university degree in that discipline. Examples of federal skilled workers, to name a few, are lawyers, doctors, and accountants.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

This is specifically for skilled trade workers with either substantial experience in their trade or a diploma or certification from a recognized organization like a college or specialized school. Examples of federal skilled traders are chefs, plumbers, and barbers. Learn more about the FSTP.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

This is specifically for skilled workers living and working in a skilled position in Canada for at least 12 months. Learn more about the Canadian Experience Class.

The Express Entry System works as follows:

Before applying for permanent residence via the FSWP, you must meet the eligibility criteria.

How to Apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

FSWP Canada

For many aspiring immigrants, the Federal Skilled Worker Program provides an attractive avenue to make Canada their new home. With its Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), the program provides a clear and transparent pathway to immigration. But what exactly entails the process for FSWP?

Step 1: Ensure Your Eligibility

The first step in applying for the federal skilled worker program is to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. This involves evaluating your qualifications against the Skilled Worker Canada list, which outlines the occupations in demand in the country.

Eligibility for the federal skilled worker class of the Express Entry system is based on six selection factors.


You must prove that your degree, certificate, or diploma is valid and can meet the standard required for your skilled occupation.

If you studied in Canada, you must provide a certified copy of your qualification, showing that it is from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. Look at this page to learn more about what constitutes a DLI and the best DLIs in Canada.

If your degree is from outside Canada, you must provide an Educational Credential Assessment proving your degree is valid and equal to the same qualification in Canada.

Skilled Work Experience

While you will not be blocked from the program if you do not have skilled work experience, work experience is a massive factor in improving your CRS score and, ultimately, getting you the chance to get your ITA.

Your skilled work experience must be within a job classified by the National Occupational Classification (NOC) as either:

  • Management jobs (TEER 0)
  • Professional Jobs (TEER 1)

Learn more about Canada's NOC system and how to determine where your occupation falls.

You have to work for at least one year full-time or two years part-time to score in this section. You gain more points based on how many years you have worked in your current occupation.

Language Abilities

It is crucial that you can communicate and understand instructions in one of Canada's two official languages. To ensure this, the government of Canada requires that all Express Entry applicants sit a language ability test. There are currently four recognized Canadian language tests which are:

  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
  • Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) 
  • Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF)

All four tests test your reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities in English or French. The score from your test is converted into points against the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) system.

The IELTS is the more popular testing system for English speakers, as it is recognized in countries outside of Canada and is often required for many highly skilled jobs and academic institutions. Look at this article for a full breakdown of how the IELTS works.

Valid Job Offer in Canada

A valid job offer in Canada significantly affects your CRS score and the chance of being accepted for the FSWP. While not having a job offer will not exclude you from the FSWP, securing a job offer will give you a massive advantage in the Express Entry draw.

A valid job offer must be:

  • For paid, continuous work with a minimum requirement of 30 hours per week.
    • This means it cannot be seasonal employment
    • The offer has to be for at least one year
  • The job offer must be for a job in either NOC skill type 0 or TEER Level 1 or 2

You might have to gain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from your Canadian employee. Find out more about an LMIA.


Adaptability for Canada is based on several factors. They are as follows:

  • You and your partner's language abilities.
  • If you or your partner have previously studied in Canada.
  • If you or your partner have previously worked in Canada.
  • If you have arranged employment in Canada.
  • If you have relatives in Canada.
    • currently in Canada;
    • over 18;
    • and be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Directly related to either you or your spouse. This refers specifically to:
    • parents
    • grandparents
    • children
    • grandchildren
    • siblings
    • aunts
    • uncles
    • niece
    • nephews


The Express Entry system, particularly the FSWP, prefers candidates within a specific age bracket. These are candidates old enough to work in a professional position but also young enough to have many good years of work ahead of them. Therefore, candidates between 18 and 35 get maximum points, and candidates over 47 earn no CRS points for their age.

Once you have met the criteria and done everything to ensure you are eligible for your program, you can apply for permanent residence on the Express Entry web portal. You follow the abovementioned process from there.

Step 2: Create an Express Entry Profile

The next step is to create an Express Entry profile. This is an online profile where you provide information about your skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other personal information. The information you provide in your Express Entry profile will be used to calculate your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.

Step 3: Improve Your Ranking Under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)

Your CRS score is a crucial determinant of your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. It is, therefore, in your best interest to improve your ranking under the CRS. You can do this in several ways, such as improving your language scores, gaining more work experience, or obtaining a higher level of education. Learn more about the Comprehensive Ranking System.

Step 4: Get an Invitation to Apply (ITA)

If your CRS score is among the highest in the pool of candidates, you will receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. The ITA does not guarantee permanent residence, but it is a significant step in the right direction. Once you receive an ITA, you will have 60 days to submit a complete application for permanent residence.

Step 5: Medical Examination and Security Check

After submitting your application, you must undergo a medical examination and a security check. The medical examination ensures that you do not threaten public health or safety, while the security check ensures that you do not pose a security risk to Canada.

After You Apply

Once you have completed the federal skilled worker program application process, you must wait for a decision on your application. During this time, it is important to keep all your information current.

Moving to Canada as a skilled worker can lead to many fantastic opportunities. Between Canada's job market, government systems, welcoming people, and vast natural beauty, it's no wonder why it is such a popular destination for immigration. 


Canada FSW

Do Provincial Nominations Have Any Effect on Your Eligibility for the FSWP?

Yes. Getting nominated by one of Canada's provinces will effectively guarantee your acceptance into your chosen Express Entry program. Look at this page to learn more about provincial nominations and how to apply for yours. Learn more about Canada's Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

Are the FSWP and the Canada FSW Programs the Same?

Yes. The Canadian FSW program is less used but has a correct naming convention for the FSWP. However, most documents, agencies, and articles will refer to the program as the FSWP rather than the Canadian FSW program.

Can I Count Student Work Experience Toward the Express Entry Work Requirement?

You can count work experience gained while studying if paid, continuous, and in a skilled occupation on the skilled worker Canada list. Learn more about student jobs in Canada.

Does the FSWP Have an Eligible Occupations List?

Yes, the FSWP has an eligible occupations list, which outlines the occupations in demand in Canada. You must have work experience in one of these occupations to be eligible for the program. Learn more about Canada's in-demand occupations.

Where Can I Live in Canada Under the FSWP?

You can live anywhere in Canada under the FSWP, except for Quebec, which has its skilled worker program.