Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

Work in Canada

Canada is looking for more educated people to call it their home. With the right experience of education, work experience, and knowledge of English or French, among other factors, you may be eligible to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program.

So, what is the Federal Skilled Worker program?

The FSW, the main economic immigration program of Canada apart from the PNP, allows you to stay and work in the country, as a permanent resident, without the need for a work permit.

You get all the benefits you would as a Canadian citizen, including free healthcare, and access to government programs. You just have to wait out on voting or holding high official government posts, till you become a citizen. 

You can apply for Federal Skilled Worker Program if you have the required:

  • Education
  • Skilled work experience
  • Language skills

You will have to meet the minimum requirements set by the government to be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker progrm. Once you do that, you can come to Canada with your family and work here, as a permanent resident. 

Federal Skilled Worker Visa is among the most popular Canadian immigration programs, recorded a growth of 396% in invitations in 2017. More than 40,000 people entered Canada with FSW in 2017, and the number keeps growing every year. 

Requirements of Federal Skilled Worker Visa

Job Skills

You must have work experience in one of the job groups listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC)-

  • Skill Type 0: Managerial jobs
  • Skill Level A: Professional jobs
  • Skill Level B: Skilled trades and technical jobs

Experience at specific jobs increases your chances of qualifying for FSW. Examples of applicable jobs include-

Experience at specific jobs increases your chances of qualifying for FSW. Examples of applicable jobs include-

  • Skill Type 0: Shore captains, restaurant managers, mine managers
  • Skill Level A: Doctors, dentists, architects 
  • Skill Level B: Electricians, plumbers, chefs
Work Experience

You need to fulfill some work experience criteria for FSW-

  • Experience of at least 1 year (30 hours per week, 1,560 hours in a year) in a full-time or part-time job
  • Experience must be in similar jobs mentioned in your application
  • The work should be paid
  • The work experience must be within the last 10 years

You don’t need to meet the above limits if you have a permanent job offer in Canada.  Interestingly, you can qualify even if you have self employed work experience, something you wouldn’t for many other Canadian Immigration programs, including the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).


The minimum educational qualifications are-

  • Secondary (high school) or post-secondary school diploma, degree or certificate from a Canadian institute
  • Completed credential (for foreign education)
  • An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from approved agencies ( to prove your qualifications are at par with the Canadian education system)

That being said, if you want to be eligible for FSW, you will need at least a bachelors degree or more, to get the required points. Most FSW applicants today either hold more than one degree, a professional degree, or a masters.

Language Skills

You have to get a minimum score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in reading, writing, listening and speaking test to qualify for FSW. You can take any approved language tests in English and French.

  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program
  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System
  • TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de Français
  • TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du Français

IELTS is what most candidates take while applying to FSW, simply because it is more accessible, with test centers from around the world. To get a CLB of 7, you need to score at least-

  • 6.0 in speaking
  • 6.0 – 7.0 in listening
  • 6.0 in reading, and
  • 6.0 in writing
Proof of Funds

You will also have to prove to the government that you have adequate money to support yourself and your family in Canada. You can bypass this requirement if-

  • You are eligible to work legally in Canada
  • You have a valid job offer

Here are some courses to help you prepare to tests and build up your skills & eligibility.

Is Self-Employed Experience considered in FSW?
Self-employed professionals and freelancers can apply under FSW if they have the required work experience and proof. You can use the following to prove your work experience as self-employed-
  • Evidence of business ownership  – article of incorporation and income tax returns work great
  • Evidence showing self-employment income
  • Documentation from third-parties showing services provided (with details of payment)
  • Reference letters from your clients talking about the work you did, your work responsibilities and how many hours you spent working for them.

Federal Skilled Worker Eligibility

Federal Skilled Worker eligibility starts with meeting all the above criteria we discussed until now. Then you have to create your profile under the Express Entry application. Based on the information you provide in your profile, you will get a Federal Skilled Worker points or, to be more precise – you’ll get a score under the Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

You will get a score out of 100 based on various factors like:

  FactorsTotal Points
EducationMaximum 25 points
Language abilitiesMaximum 28 points
Work ExperienceMaximum 15 points
AgeMaximum 12 points
EmploymentMaximum 10 points
AdaptabilityMaximum 10 points

The current cut-off points to be eligible for Federal Skilled Worker is 67. But that doesn’t automatically guarantee entry to Canada. You have to be among the top scorers to qualify. Then you will get an invitation to apply for permanent residency. 

You can also check your eligibility online :

How do You Find Skilled Worker Jobs in Canada 

You can search for skilled worker jobs in Canada in many ways-

  1. Search the Job Bank maintained by the Canadian government
  2. Search the Government of Canada jobs portal for federal jobs
  3. Get assistance from your nearest Service Canada Centre
  4. Check if Canada’s top 100 employers have any opening for you
  5. Check company websites or contact employers directly to ask if they have any openings
  6. Network and search jobs on the professional social platform LinkedIn
  7. Search job portals like Indeed.com for skilled worker openings
  8. Do a simple Google with your desired job as keyword and Canada/your province as location- e.g., “HR manager jobs in Ontario”
  9. Find out if your current employer can transfer you to Canada
  10. Try to use your network like friends or family in Canada and ask them for reference/job leads
  11. Take help of recruitment agencies, immigration services and staffing agencies that can market your resume to Canadian employers
job interview in Canada
courtesy of Tima Miroshnichenko

Federal Skilled Worker Application

Why Consider the FSW Application?

Federal Skilled Worker is one of the most popular ways to immigrate to Canada for skilled workers. The process is simple and you don’t even need to get a work permit. If you qualify, the government will invite you to come to Canada with your family. 

FSW is also a preferred way to get a Permanent Residency (PR). Plus, once you get the PR, you can study in Canada by paying domestic rates.

What Documents do You Need for FSW Application?

You don’t need to provide any documents while creating your online profile under Express Entry. Documents will only be needed once you get an invitation for PR. Nonetheless, you should keep the following documents handy-

Passport and Travel Documents

The process can take over a month, if you don’t have a passport already.

Language Test Results

Can take well over two to three months. The latest test dates can be a month away. Also, don’t forget that you have to study, and even retake to get the scores you want.

Educational Qualifications and ECR

First, you have to get a transcript from your college or University. The process can take over a month or two, depending on how efficient your institute is. Then, you need to send those transcripts to an approved evaluation agency.

The process again, depends on the agency you choose, and some can take as many as six months to give you the results.  Also, each evaluation agency have their own assessment system, so the result of one may not match with another. WES remains the more popular choice for many simply because they process it faster.

Job Offer from a Canadian Employer (if applicable).

Most people who apply for the FSW program do without one, though it can be done.

Proof of Funds

You need to give proof of your bank statements, for a period of six months. You cannot borrow any amount for the purpose.

Medical Examination Reports

You will get a medical test date, done by an approved institute. The entire process can take a week or two.

Police Certificates

You could get them done from your local police station, but chances are they wouldn’t know how to go about it, and it can take a while. Take the faster way out – go to a Passport Seva Kendra for police verification.

Do You have to Sit for an Interview for Federal Skilled Worker Program?

A Canadian visa immigration officer may call you for an interview before accepting your application. You may get an interview waiver only if the official decides so. You cannot specifically apply to waive your interview. Also, you may be called for an interview on a later date even if it’s waived during application. 

What is the Processing Time of Federal Skilled Worker Visa Application?

Your FSW application is likely to be processed by the IRCC within 6 months or less. You can ensure a speedy application process by-

  • Submitting a complete application with all the required information
  • Providing easy means to verify your details
  • Responding to clarifications and queries from IRCC quickly

How to Get Your Documents Done Faster?

You can use the following tips to get your documents done quickly-

  • Register for your language test early on
  • Use a job bank to search for job offers 
  • Arrange all your educational certificates

How Can You Increase CRS Score?

You can take the help of the following ways to increase your CRS score for a better chance of qualifying-

  • Sit for IELTS again if your score is low (you can take IELTS for as many times as you want)
  • Try to get at least 3 years of relevant work experience 
  • Go for post-secondary education (Masters, Ph.D., diplomas, and so on)
  • Look for exploiting spousal points (if you are coming to Canada with your spouse)
  • Get a job offer from an eligible Canadian employer (you can add up to 200 points)

How Can You Join Federal Skilled Worker Program if Your CRS is Below 67 Points?

You may be eligible for an FSW even if you don’t score 67 points. The Canadian immigration officer will review your application and may accept it if he thinks the points don’t reflect your ability accurately. The decision solely rests on the visa officer and may need confirmation from a second immigration official. 

This process is known as substituted evaluation. We strongly recommend consulting with an RCIC for the best advice.

Can You Bring Your Family to Canada on the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

You may include the following family members in your application :

  • Your principal spouse or common-law partner
  • Your or your spouse’s children up to 22 years of age
  • Dependent children of your or your spouse’s dependent children

You can also check your eligibility online :

Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker Draws Outlook

FSW is a popular way to enter Canada and get PR using an economic pathway. Since Express Entry was introduced, Canada received 598,507 applications till date. Out of the three programs under Express Entry, FSW seems to be the highest in demand. 

During the first year, only 13,214 invitations went out to FSW out of total 31,063 invitations. The number had grown each year considerably, reaching 47,523 invitations in 2018. The figure for 2018 is also the highest since the launch of the Express Entry program. 

source: canadim.co

Federal Skilled Worker Visas in 2020

The popularity of FSW is not going down anytime soon. The number of invitations is expected to increase each year as more people look to take advantage of the favorable work conditions in Canada. The program is also highly sought-after as it lays an easy road to get PR

FSW can get more flexible in nature in the future, as immigration authorities make changes to the CRS points. The changes will ensure that Canada gets only talented and qualified candidates who can work and contribute to the economy of the country. 

The future draws can see a decrease in the minimum cut-off score as the draw in August 2019 had a score of 457. More invitations are likely to be sent out under FSW as Canada plans to bring 1.3 million new permanent residents between 2018 and 2021.  However, FSW CRS scores are unlikely to drop as low as the ones we saw in 2017, when even applicants scoring 414 made the cut-off.

Permanent Residency in Canada – How do You Get Started?

There are different ways to get permanent residency for Canada. One of the more popular ways though remain the Federal Skilled Workers (FSW) Program. While you can apply for other programs like Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) too, here is what makes FSW remain the more popular option.

You can apply the more straightforward way

You know what the Canadian government is looking for, and can tailor your application accordingly. Most other programs like PNP or investor visas have more stringent requirements than those of the Federal Skilled Worker program. You either need to have a good money to invest or have specific skillsets. Each province in Canada, for instance, can have their own PNP program, and many of them require you to study or stay in the province for a while before you are eligible to apply.

You can apply from your home country!

When it comes to the FSW program, you do not need to look to stay in Canada first. You can apply right from your home country, and land in Canada as a permanent resident. It is the fastest way to get permanent residency, and one that’s well-rewarding.

No need to Study as an International Student!

After you get permanent residency, you can study in Canada as a domestic student. So, you don’t have to wait to study in Canada first as an international student, or hope to get a work visa and a job that makes you extend the work permit.

With the FSW program, once you enter Canada as a PR, you can apply for government loans and pay domestic rates. Getting the first great job in Canada isn’t going to cost you on your pocket!

As a skilled worker, you need to take advantage of FSW by expressing interest by creating an online profile under the Express Entry system. It all starts from creating an application on the site, getting the required documents and proofs, and ensuring you meet the eligibility criteria. 

Then, you can proceed with your application on the site, and wait for an immigration officer to look at your file. It can take a few months, but you know that the end of the tunnel is a bright one!

Going with a RCIC Agent to Improve Your Chances

Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) walk you through the nitty gritties of the Federal Skilled Worker program. Since these consultants are licensed, you know that they are up-to-date on regulations, and know Canada’s visa system thoroughly. More, with an RCIC on your side, you don’t have to worry about the lengthy visa procedures, like trying to contact the government or consulate. Your consultant can liaise it on your behalf, while creating a personalized immigration strategy for you.

With less paperwork to take care of and knowing you have your application on trusted hands, your journey to Canada can become a whole lot easier. Come, build a rewarding life and career in Canada, with us! 

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