The Canada Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

October 18, 2023


  • Wesley Allan

Charting your future can be as exciting as it is daunting, especially when it involves navigating the immigration process to a land of great opportunities - Canada. If you're a tradesperson who aims to access this terrain, you could be just the individual Canada needs. Prepare to leverage these diverse skills through an incredible program: The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). In this insightful journey, we will explore the FSTP as your ticket to broadening your career horizons and enjoying the high living standards of the Great White North. As pioneers in delivering engaging, intelligent, and professional advice, we will hold your hand every step to decipher eligibility requirements and application procedures and, ultimately, make your Canadian dream a reality. Buckle up for a detailed guide to map your future in this global powerhouse.

What is the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)?

What is the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)?

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is not a standalone program. It exists under the massive umbrella of Canada's most popular immigration program - the Express Entry system. Under all Express Entry programs, candidates must enter their details, such as age, education, work experience, marital status, language ability, and connections to Canada, into the Express Entry web portal. These details are evaluated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Once the evaluation is complete, the IRCC presents candidates with their CRS scores. Every candidate's CRS score is entered into an Express Entry pool. Every two weeks, the IRCC has an Express Entry draw. The IRCC releases a certain minimum score number in an Express Entry draw. Candidates with a higher CRS score than that number receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for permanent residence in Canada.

Candidates have sixty days to submit their final application, including documentation corroborating the details they submitted in their initial application. Once they submit these documents, they will receive their Canadian permanent residence in approximately six months. Learn more about the Express Entry system and how to get started.

However, you must qualify for your program to be eligible for Express Entry. The Express Entry system has three programs:

If you're a skilled worker who works in a trade occupation, living outside Canada, the best pathway for you will likely be the FSTP. This program helps skilled tradespeople and their families have the opportunity to gain permanent residence in Canada in six months via the Express Entry system.

The FSTP is a Canadian immigration program aimed at skilled tradespeople worldwide. The goal of the program is to fill the gap in the Canadian labor market by attracting individuals who possess technical skills that are in high demand. The FSTP is a practical solution to the shortage of skilled workers in various sectors, such as construction, natural resources, manufacturing, and many others.

The FSTP allows individuals with specific sets of skills to migrate to Canada, providing they meet certain criteria. This includes having at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade within the five years before they apply, meeting certain language requirements, having an offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year, or a certificate of qualification in their skilled trade issued by a Canadian province or territory.

The beauty of the Federal Skilled Trades Program, or FSTP Canada as it's often called, is that it opens up a world of opportunities. Not only do you get to live and work in one of the world's most dynamic economies, but you also get to grow your career in a country that values skilled trades. Whether you're a mechanic, electrician, chef, or plumber, trade jobs in Canada can be a stepping stone toward a brighter future.

How to Apply for FSTP Canada

How to Apply for FSTP Canada

Step 1: Ensure Your Eligibility

However, you must qualify for your program to be eligible for Express Entry. To apply for the FSTP, you must fulfill a particular set of requirements.

Basic Requirements for the FSTP

Before you apply for any Express Entry program, you must fulfill the requirements allowing you to be admissible to Canada. They are as follows:

  • You are considered a threat to Canada's national security
  • You have committed human or international rights violations
  • You have a criminal record
  • You are involved in an organized criminal organization
  • You have a medical condition that either
    • Endangers public health
    • Will cause excessive demand on Canada's healthcare system
  • You are unable to support yourself or your dependents while in Canada
  • You have misrepresented yourself during your application process
  • You have an inadmissible family member.

Once you have determined that you are admissible to Canada, you must ensure you fulfill the criteria specific to the FSTP. They are as follows.

  • Fulfill the language criteria required by the Canadian Language Benchmark System, showing you can function within a French or English working environment.
    • These requirements are outlined below.
  • Have gained at least two years of full-time paid work experience in a skilled trade in the last five years.
  • Fulfill your specific trade requirements outlined in the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC) system.
  • Have a valid Canadian job offer for a full-time position for at least one year or a Certificate of Qualification (COQ) in your specific trade from one of the Government of Canada's federal, territorial, or provincial authorities.

FSTP Language Requirements

All Express Entry programs have a minimum language requirement. This ensures you can function effectively in your highly skilled and often technical jobs in Canada.

  • You must have a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) proficiency score in English or French at Level 4 for writing and reading and Level 5 for listening and speaking.
    • These scores are determined based on your listening, speaking, reading, and writing abilities.
  • You can assess your ability in each of these areas via one of Canada's four approved language tests:
      • 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)

Learn more about the most recognized English test, the IELTS test, and how your test results determine your CLB score.


You must take your language test within the previous two years before you apply for permanent residence.

Required Settlement Funds

Please ensure you and your family have enough funds to settle in Canada. The funds required are as follows:

Number of
family members
Funds required
(in Canadian dollars)
1 13,757
2 17,127
3 21,055
4 25,564
5 28,994
6 32,700
7 36,407
>7 (per member) 3,706

Learn more about how much you must pay to move to Canada.

The only instances where you do not need the funds required by the Canadian government are if you are legally allowed to work in Canada or have a valid job offer from a designated Canadian employer.

Education Requirements

While there is no specific education requirement for the FSTP, educational qualifications significantly impact your CRS score. They can make the difference between receiving your ITA at the next draw. There are two ways to prove your qualifications are legitimate. They are as follows:

  1. If you have studied or attended school in Canada, you can present your Canadian qualifications, such as a diploma, degree, or certification.
  2. If you have studied overseas, you must get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from a designated organization, showing that your qualifications are equal to a Canadian qualification.

Work Experience Requirements

To be eligible for the FSTP, you must work in one of the trades specified by the Canadian government under the NOC. The NOC TEER level for these jobs is 2 or 3. The trades are as follows:

Profession Group NOC Group Number
Industrial, electrical, and construction trades 72
Maintenance and equipment operation trades 73
Supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture, and related production 82
Processing, manufacturing, and utility supervisors; and central control operators 92
Chefs and cooks 632
Butchers and bakers 633

Learn more about Canada's NOC system and how it operates. If you still need a job offer for a trade job in Canada, learn more about how to apply for TEER 2 and 3 jobs.

You must show that you have performed all the duties in your trade description in the NOC guidelines. You can find those on the Government of Canada's website.

Step 2: Create Your Express Entry Profile

Once you've determined your eligibility for the FSTP, the next step is to create your Express Entry profile. This is an online profile where you'll provide information about your skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other relevant details. It's important to take your time with this step and ensure all the information you provide is accurate and complete. Once your profile is complete, you'll be given a CRS score.

Step 3: Enter Into the Express Entry Pool

After creating your Express Entry profile, you'll be placed into the Express Entry pool. You'll be ranked alongside other candidates based on your CRS score. Every so often, the Canadian government conducts an Express Entry draw, inviting the top-ranking candidates in the pool to apply for permanent residence.

Step 4: Receive Your ITA

If you're among the highest-ranking candidates in the Express Entry pool during a draw, you'll receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. This is an exciting milestone, but it's also where things start to get real. You'll have 60 days to submit a complete application for permanent residence, so it's essential to have all your ducks in a row.

Step 5: Gather Your Documentation

After receiving your ITA, it's time to gather all the necessary documentation for your application. The documentation you need to gain permanent residency via the FSTP is as follows:

  • Passport or travel document
  • Language test results
  • Proof of Canadian education or ECA
  • Proof of funds
  • Written job offer from a Canadian employer (if applicable)
  • Provincial Nomination (if applicable)
  • Police certificates
  • Medical exam results
  • Birth certificate if you have children coming with you
  • Marriage certificate if you are married
  • Common-law union form if you are involved in a Common-law partnership
  • Divorce certificate if you are divorced
  • Adoption certificate if your child is adopted
  • Death certificate if you are widowed
Learn more about the documents you need to move to Canada.

Step 6: Pay Your Fees and Submit Your Application

The final step in the application process is to pay your fees and submit your application. The government fees for the FSTP application include a processing fee, a right of permanent residence fee, and a biometrics fee. Once you've paid your fees and double-checked all your information and documents, you can finally submit your application.

After You Apply

After you've submitted your application, all that's left to do is wait. The processing times for FSTP applications vary, but most are processed within six months. During this time, it's important to keep track of your application status and be prepared to provide additional information or documents if requested.

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is a fantastic opportunity for skilled tradespeople worldwide to make Canada their new home. Through a streamlined application process and a focus on skills that are in high demand, the FSTP is helping to build a stronger, more diverse Canadian workforce. If you think you have what it takes, why not take the first step towards a new life in Canada today?


Trade jobs in Canada

Can you Live Anywhere Under the FSTP?

No. You cannot live in Quebec. Quebec has its skilled workers' program. To move to Quebec, you must go directly to the province. Learn more about Quebec's immigration programs.

Would it Help if I Were to get a Provincial Nomination?

Yes. If you want to move to a specific province, getting a nomination from that province can add up to 600 points to your CRS score, effectively guaranteeing you an ITA at the next Express Entry Draw. Learn more about Canada's PNPs.