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Navigating the Federal Skilled Trades Program for Immigration to Canada

By August 25, 2023 October 2nd, 2023 No Comments

Not sure where to begin in your quest to move to Canada? Have you heard about the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)? This program is designed to help skilled tradespeople like you immigrate to Canada and kick-start a new career. With the FSTP, you can become a permanent resident of Canada and work in a highly demanded skilled trade. However, the application process can be complex and time-consuming. So, it’s essential to grasp the program’s requirements and rules before submitting your application. In this blog post, we’ll give you a detailed overview of the FSTP, covering eligibility criteria, application steps, and the perks of becoming a Canadian permanent resident. Plus, we’ll share practical tips to maximize your chances of success.

Federal Skilled Trades Program Overview

If you’re a skilled tradesperson aiming to secure permanent residence in Canada, the Federal Skilled Trades Program is an excellent option. It’s one of three economic immigration pathways under Canada’s Express Entry system. To qualify for the FSTP, you’ll need to demonstrate at least two years of experience in a skilled trade and a reasonable level of proficiency in either English or French.

The FSTP has a major advantage over other Canadian immigration routes: it boasts a faster processing time. The Express Entry system prioritizes FSTP applications, promptly letting successful candidates start their new Canadian lives. While the government hasn’t outlined specific goals for the FSTP under express entry, the substantial intake targets across the economic immigration categories signal a significant demand for skilled tradespeople. Meeting the FSTP eligibility criteria could offer you a promising chance to get the green light and excel in your chosen trade in Canada.

Eligibility Criteria Breakdown

Skilled Work Experience for FSTP

To meet the Federal Skilled Trades Program’s requirements, you’ll need a minimum of two years of full-time experience in an eligible skilled trade within the last five years. Any part-time work should match full-time hours during the same period. Your experience must be paid, not volunteer or unpaid internships. It’s crucial that your work aligns with the duties specified in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) description for your skilled occupation.

Language Proficiency for FSTP

Language test results play a vital role in FSTP eligibility. You must take an English, French, or both language tests. For English, the accepted tests are IELTS or CELPIP; for French, it’s TEF or TCF Canada. You’ll need at least a Comprehensive Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in speaking and listening and CLB 4 in reading and writing. Keep in mind that your language test results should be valid – less than two years old when you apply for permanent residence.

Job Offer or Qualification Certificate for FSTP

Applying for the FSTP requires meeting either the job offer or qualification certificate criterion. This means you should have a full-time job offer from a Canadian employer in your skilled trade or a qualification certificate from a federal, provincial, or territorial regulatory body. In many cases, if a non-resident gets a job offer from a Canadian employer, the employer needs a Labor Market Impact Assessment. Additionally, applicants often need to pass a certification exam and fulfill other requirements when seeking a qualification certificate.

Education Requirements for FSTP

The Federal Skilled Trades Program doesn’t have specific educational prerequisites. However, having educational qualifications can boost your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, increasing your odds of selection. If you have studied outside Canada, you’ll need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). This assessment confirms that your degree, diploma, or certificate holds the same weight as a Canadian equivalent.

The FSTP Application Process

Secure a Canadian Trades Job Offer or Qualification Certificate

Eligibility for the Federal Skilled Trades Program mandates having either a Canadian full-time job offer in your skilled trade or a qualification certificate from a federal, provincial, or territorial regulatory body. To find job offers, popular platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc. often list skilled trades positions. Qualification certificate requirements vary by trade and province/territory. Regulatory bodies such as Skilled Trades Ontario and Skilled Trades B.C. issue certifications. Research trade-specific and location-specific requirements to increase your chances.

Check Your Express Entry Eligibility

Determine your eligibility for Express Entry by using the government’s online questionnaire. It asks about your nationality, language skills, age, work history, education, and more. The tool informs you about Express Entry programs you qualify for and generates a personal reference number to pre-fill part of your Express Entry profile. This resource is essential for understanding your eligibility and taking the initial step toward Canadian immigration.

Set Up an IRCC Account and Create an Express Entry Profile

To apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program, create an account on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. After registration, build an Express Entry profile specifically for FSTP. The profile gathers info about your work experience, education, language test scores, and other relevant data. Ensure you have all necessary documents, such as your passport and National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes, and complete the profile accurately. This step launches your application journey toward Canadian immigration.

Submit Your Profile and Enter the Express Entry Pool

You’ll enter the candidate pool upon finishing your Express Entry profile for the Federal Skilled Trades Program. Your profile remains active for up to a year or until you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence, whichever comes first. Maintaining an accurate and up-to-date profile during this time enhances your chances of selection. The system automatically calculates your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, assigning a rank that influences your ITA eligibility. So, submitting your profile and staying updated heightens your odds of immigrating to Canada.

Await Your Invitation to Apply (ITA)

After submitting your Express Entry profile for the Federal Skilled Trades Program, anticipate receiving an Invitation to Apply. Canada’s government holds regular draws to set each program’s minimum Comprehensive Ranking System score cutoff. In March 2023, two Express Entry draws invited FSTP candidates with CRS scores of 490 and 484 and above to apply for permanent residence. Keep track of FSTP draw results on the government site. If your score matches the latest cutoff, you’ll receive an ITA in your IRCC profile, along with an email notification. Stay updated on this exciting news.

Complete Your Permanent Residence (PR) Application

Once you get an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence in Canada via the Federal Skilled Trades Program, you have 60 days to submit your PR application. Gather all necessary documents, including language test results, educational credential assessment, Canadian job offer or qualification certificate, and employment letters from past employers. Additional documents like proof of settlement funds and police certificates might be necessary. Don’t forget to pay the application fee, which covers processing, the right to permanent residence, and biometrics, before submitting your PR application.

Obtain Your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR)

After submitting your application for permanent residence through the Federal Skilled Trades Program, IRCC reviews your documents. They might request additional documents or a medical exam before approving your application. If all goes well, you’ll receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) with instructions for the next steps. Note that you might need to provide biometrics (unless done within the last decade) and a visa stamp in your passport, if necessary, for travel to Canada.

Settlement Funds Requirement

Most Federal Skilled Trades Program applicants need to prove settlement funds. However, proof of funds isn’t required if you have a full-time Canadian job offer for at least a year or a valid Canadian work permit. For 2023, individual applicants need at least $13,757, while two family members applying together should have $17,127. Additional family members require $3,500 – $4,000 each. Keep in mind that Canada’s cost of living varies by city and can be high. 

Reach Out to Immigrationway

Do you have questions or need help with your Federal Skilled Trades Program application? Immigrationway is here for you. Our team of immigration experts is ready to guide you through the process and make the most of this opportunity to immigrate to Canada. Get in touch for personalized support and advice. We’re excited to assist you on your journey to kick-start a new chapter in Canada!