The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is one of the three programs contained within Canada’s Express Entry system for processing immigration applications. The FSW program allows candidates with foreign work experience and no connections to Canada to apply for permanent residency.
Who is eligible to apply under the FSW program?
In order to qualify for the FSWP, a candidate must meet certain minimum requirements regarding years of experience, level of education, age, and English or French language proficiency:
- Work Experience: At least 12-months of continuous, full-time, skilled work experience completed within the previous 10 years (or an equal amount in part-time experience). Skilled work experience refers to experience classified under NOC Skill Level 0, A, or B.
- Language Proficiency: Reach a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 7 on an approved English or French language test.
- Education: A minimum of a Canadian high school diploma or the equivalent in foreign education.
- Financial Support: Enough funds to support themselves and any spouse and/or children in their settlement in Canada.
- Residence in Canada: Must intend to live outside of the province of Quebec.
If a candidate meets the requirements listed above, they must also demonstrate that they score a minimum of 67 out of 100 points on the FSW eligibility points grid.
Provided a candidate meets these requirements, they will be eligible to submit an Express Entry profile for the Federal Skilled Worker program. However, candidates should note that they must meet Canada’s basic admissibility requirements. Certain criminal offences and medical conditions may make a person inadmissible to Canada.
How can I apply under the FSW program?
Interested candidates must submit an Express Entry profile to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Submitting an Express Entry profile does not guarantee a candidate will receive Canadian permanent residence. Only after submitting an Express Entry profile will a candidate be assigned a CRS score and be considered in future Express Entry draws for Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residence.
When submitting your Express Entry profile, an FSW candidate will need to provide the following documents:
- Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA)
In order to claim points for education, an FSW candidate must provide a valid ECA report attesting to the value of foreign education by Canadian standards. There are five organizations in Canada authorized to issue ECA reports. This is not required for educational credentials obtained from a Canadian educational institution.
- Language Proficiency Test Results
All candidates under the Express Entry programs must provide results from an approved language test taken within the previous two years. Accepted tests for English include the IELTS exam, and the CELPIP exam (only available in Canada). Accepted tests for French include the Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) and the Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada).
- Identification Documents
Candidates will be required to provide information from identification documents. Ideally, a candidate and all accompanying family members should possess passports valid for travel.
If a candidate is successful in receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence, they will move onto the second stage of the application process. In this second stage, the applicant will have 60 days to prepare and submit an electronic Application for Permanent Residence (eAPR). This application requires further documentation.
Since the Express Entry system launched in 2015, the lowest ranking FSW candidate to receive an ITA held a CRS score of 413 points. If an applicant’s CRS score is below this score, they should actively pursue options for improving their score.
How long does it take to process an FSW application?
A Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Express Entry profile will remain valid in the pool of candidates for a period of 12 months.
If, while in the pool of candidates, you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), you will have 60 days to submit a full application and documentation to the Government of Canada.
The standard processing time for Express Entry applications is six months from the time the application is received by the Canadian authorities to the issuance of a permanent residence visa.
Additional factors may affect your processing time, including:
- The complexity and/or completeness of your application
- The ease with which the officer can confirm the information provided in your application
- Adding an additional family member to your application
Federal Skilled Workers are required to demonstrate that they can provide for themselves and their families once they settle in Canada.
The funds required for settlement depend on the number of family members included in your application. Please refer to the below table for the amount required for your family size.
Number of Family Members
For each additional family member
What are the processing fees to apply under the FSW program?
The government processing fees must be remitted when submitting an application for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker program. These fees are separate from a candidate’s settlement funds, which must be demonstrated as part of the Federal Skilled Worker eligibility requirements.
The processing fees to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker program are as follows:
Processing fee in $ CAD
Principal applicant (Processing fee and right of permanent residence fee)
Spouse, common-law or conjugal partner (with right of permanent residence fee)
A dependent child under the age of 22 who is not a spouse or common-law/conjugal partner, or a dependent over the age of 22 who is unable to support themselves financially due to a physical or mental condition
Add $230 each per dependent
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