How to immigrate to Canada using the Federal Skilled Worker Program

Posted May 27, 2022 9:00 a.m. EDT

Potential immigrants to Canada have over 100 different economic class immigration programs that they can use to obtain permanent resident status. The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) was established in 1967 and has proven to be one of the most popular options for skilled workers looking to live in Canada.

What is FSWP?

The FSWP is designed as a pathway for applicants with skilled work experience who wish to immigrate to Canada permanently. It was the first program of its kind in the world to feature a points system that assesses applicants objectively and inspired other countries like Australia and New Zealand to adopt the same approach.

Who is eligible for FSWP?

Coming to Canada through the FSWP is a multi-step process. To get started, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • At least one year of qualified professional experience
  • A minimum Canadian language proficiency level of 7 on their English or French language test
  • At least a college degree
  • Show proof of funds (if applicable)
  • Obtain at least 67 points out of 100 on the FSWP scoring grid

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Professional experience

To be eligible to apply for the PTQF, you will need at least one year of qualified work experience in an occupation listed in Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) system.

In short, the NOC is a system that Canada uses to determine the level of skill and education needed for a profession or career within the same industry in Canada. For the FSWP and any Express Entry program, there are three categories of eligible NOCs:

  • NOC 0: Management positions
  • NOC A: Careers that generally require a university degree
  • NOC B: Skilled trades


To meet the education requirement, you must have completed at least high school in Canada or abroad. If you completed abroad, you must obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) indicating that your education is equivalent to a Canadian diploma, degree or certification.


It is important to be able to demonstrate proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages ​​(English or French). FSWP applicants must achieve a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLCL) score of 7. You will be assessed on reading, writing, speaking and listening.

proof of funds

Applicants must also demonstrate that they have sufficient proof of funds to support themselves and their families if necessary. This does not apply if a candidate is already working in Canada or has a valid job offer. Minimum funds will vary depending on the number of people seeking to immigrate. Proof of funds can be demonstrated by a letter from the bank or financial institution where you keep your money. The letter should list all outstanding debts, account numbers, loans, and the average balance for the last six months.

Number of family members Funds required in CAD
1 $13,310
2 $16,570
3 $20,371
4 $24,733
5 $28,052
6 $31,638
seven $35,224
Each additional family member $3,586

FSWP Dot Grid

In addition to the above criteria, you must score at least 67 points out of 100 on the FSWP point grid. The grid assesses the following six factors.

Factors Points
Education Up to 25
Language skills Up to 28
Professional experience Up to 15
Age Up to 12
Arranged employment Up to 10
Adaptability Up to 10

I am eligible for the FSWP: What now?

The FSWP is one of three economic immigration pathways managed by Express Entry. The other programs are the Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

If you qualify for one of these three programs, you can create a profile on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. You will receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on human capital factors such as age, language skills, work experience, and education, among others. Candidates’ scores are ranked against others in the pool and the highest-scoring candidates receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency. ITAs are issued every two weeks. If you receive an ITA, you have 60 days to submit your application for permanent residence to IRCC.

FSWP invitations resume in early July 2022

Due to the pandemic, the FWSP was temporarily suspended in 2021 as the federal government sought to prioritize applications to Canada to meet its goal of obtaining more than 400,000 permanent residents in 2021.

IRCC recently announced that in early July this year, it will begin inviting new applicants under the three programs run by Express Entry, including the FSWP. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said IRCC would try to process all new Express Entry applications within six months. Express Entry will grow in importance over the next few years as Canada seeks to welcome more skilled workers to support its economy. By 2024, Canada will seek to welcome over 110,000 immigrants through Express Entry.

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Ryan H. Bowman