Much is known about Canada’s demand for skilled workers. Also well-known is Canada’s shortage of workers to fill the manpower deficits. These deficits in skilled labour are brought about by an ageing population and low birth rates.
For years, the Canadian government has taken several steps to address this. These steps were designed to attract, retain, and assist foreign skilled workers to immigrate to Canada. Many commitments towards the effort to bring in skilled immigrants have been put in place. One is the Federal Express Entry selection system.
The Express Entry selection system manages visa applications for permanent residency. It is through this system that hundreds upon thousands of permanent resident applications are processed and eventually approved. In fact, in 2019 alone, the Express Entry system brought it as many as 110,000 skilled immigrants. Through their skills and education, these immigrants qualified themselves to live and work in Canada.
There are three immigration programs under the Federal Express Entry system. One of the programs specifically designed to attract skilled foreign nationals is the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). This program aims to process the permanent residency applications of applicants overseas, who meet the eligibility requirements to be permanent residents in Canada.
This article will be about the Federal Skilled Trades Program. As well, this article will contain what you need to do to be eligible for this program.
The Federal Skilled Trades Program Vs. The Federal Skilled Worker Program
Of the three immigration programs under the Express Entry system, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Federal Skilled Worker program both aim to bring in immigrants from overseas. As well, both target immigrants with the right education, skills, work experience, and language ability. After all, both programs are ways for skilled workers to quickly enter Canada and be permanent residents.
The fact that they are separate programs means that there is a difference between the two. The differences lie in the following:
The Type Of Occupation In One’s Work Experience
An applicant of the Federal Express Entry system becomes eligible to apply through his or her occupation. There are requirements for the type of occupation an applicant includes in his application. According to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, occupations need to be classified by Canada’s National Occupational Classification or NOC for short.
The NOC classifies different professions in Canada. Foreign occupations are also compared against the list of occupations in the NOC. Each occupation is assigned a certain NOC skill type. Skill types are:
- NOC 0 (managerial jobs)
- NOC A (professional and regulated occupations)
- NOC B (technical jobs)
- NOC C (semi-skilled work)
- NOC D (unskilled work)
Applicants of the Federal Skilled Worker Program can be eligible for belonging to skilled occupations. Skilled occupations are NOC 0, A, and B.
In the case of the Federal Skilled Trades Program, an applicant may only be eligible if their work experience was in a NOC B profession.
Valid Full-Time Job Offer
A valid full-time job offer is not an absolute requirement. At the very least, it is not a must for most of the Express Entry system’s immigration programs. If you are applying for the Federal Skilled Workers Program or The Canadian Experience Class, you do not need a valid full-time job offer.
On the other hand, in the absence of a certificate of qualification, a valid job offer is a requirement for the Federal Skilled Trades Program. This job offer needs to be valid for one year. It can only be issued by an employer following a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment or LMIA.
Proof Of Settlement Funds
As a general rule of thumb, all applicants for residency in Canada (temporary or permanent) need to prove that they have enough money to support themselves for a certain period of time.
Later in an applicant’s Express Entry application, he or she has to provide proof of settlement funds. These documents could be bank statements or other documents issued by one’s bank. This is a must for the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class.
Proof of funds is also a requirement of the Federal Skilled Trades program. However, an applicant with a valid job offer is exempted from this requirement. In other words, an applicant who has a job offer does not need to show proof of settlement funds. This is because a job offer proves that the applicant can work once in Canada.
Minimum Eligibility Requirements
To apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program, you need to meet the minimum requirements for the following:
- Skilled work experience
- Language proficiency
- Job offer
Skilled Work Experience
Deficits in the Canadian labour force occur in certain occupations. For this reason, the Canadian government has listed certain occupations and professions as in-demand occupations. To qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades Program, your work experience needs to be at least two years.
This must be within five years before your application. For example, if you decided to create your Express Entry profile on December 4, 2020, your skilled work experience should be between December 4, 2015, until the day of your application.
Work experience needs to be full-time and in one of the in-demand professions listed by the IRCC. These are the professions in which your work experience needs to be:
- Major Group 72: industrial, electrical and construction trades
- Major Group 73: maintenance and equipment operation trades
- Major Group 82: supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production
- Major Group 92: processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators
- Minor Group 632: chefs and cooks
- Minor Group 633: butchers and bakers
These occupations are otherwise known to some as skilled trade occupations. All of the occupations listed fall under the “skilled” NOC skill type “B”.
If you want to check the NOC group and code of your full-time work experience, you could check it on the main site of Economic and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
For both the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class, the minimum language proficiency requirement is Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7. In contrast, the language proficiency requirement for the Federal Skilled Trade Program is lower.
For speaking and listening, the requirement is CLB 5. The requirement for writing and reading is CLB 4.
To date, four language tests are acceptable. These are the following:
- The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- Test d’Évaluation de Français pour le Canada (TEF Canada)
- Test de Connaissance Du Français pour le Canada (TCF Canada)
Once you create your Express Entry profile, be sure that your language test results are valid. For most language proficiency tests, two years is the period of validity.
There is no minimum requirement for education. Be that as it may, having post-secondary credentials will increase your rank in the Comprehensive Ranking System of the Express Entry system.
Having post-secondary credentials outside Canada, you need to get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to determine the level of your educational attainment by Canadian Standards.
Needless to say, you automatically get points for your post-secondary education if you earned these credentials in Canada. If this is the case, you do not need an ECA.
Valid Job Offer
A valid job requirement is a must for the Federal Skilled Trades Program.
A job offer is valid if it follows certain standards.
- It should be full-time and valid for no less than a year (i.e. at least 30 hours of continuous work a week).
- The job offer should mention the applicant’s job designation and starting date (of work).
- Up to two employers should make the offer of employment.
- The job designation must be in a skilled trade (these were listed earlier).
- The job offer must have a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (this is accomplished by the employer and ESDC).
Certain occupations do not need a positive LMIA. To see which occupations are exempted from this requirement, you can visit the Canadian government’s site.
Alternative To A Job Offer: A Certificate Of Qualification
Instead of a job offer, it is also possible to have a certificate of qualification in one’s skilled trade. This document is proof that you took and passed a certification exam for your desired skilled profession. As well, it shows that you have the capabilities to work in your desired profession in Canada.
This document is issued by the province or territory in which you are seeking permanent residence.
You can learn more about how to get a qualification certificate here.
How To Apply
Since the Federal Skilled Trades Program is under the Express Entry selection system, you need to create an Express Entry profile first. The steps are as follows:
The First Step: Creating An Express Entry Profile
To create an Express Entry profile, you need to visit the site of the government of Canada. You will be redirected to an online application form that will ask you a series of questions about:
- Your age
- Most recent language test scores
- Civil status
- Educational attainment
- Length and nature of work experience
- Your desired province
You must disclose your information honestly and accurately. Even though you do not need to attach any documents at this stage, you will later on. Your documents will confirm what you placed in your Express Entry profile.
To maintain the privacy of the Express Entry database, IRCC has created two ways for Express Entry applicants to register:
- Through GC Key
- Through a financial institution in Canada (sign-in partner)
The Next Step: Waiting For And Receiving Your Invitation To Apply (ITA)
Once you have created your Express Entry profile, you will be notified right away if your eligible for any Express Entry program or not.
If you are eligible, you just need to wait for your invitation to apply or ITA. This document is an automatically-generated correspondence of the Express Entry system. It will arrive in your profile and give you the following information:
- The number of days you have to complete the rest of your application
- Your CRS points
- The program for which you are eligible to apply
There are different programs under the Federal Express Entry system. Hence, there is more than one way to efficiently immigrate to Canada.
As a skilled worker, you can immigrate to Canada by having the right skills in the right profession. This is also possible if you don’t want to sweat the tough language tests and proof of funds.
Through the Federal Skilled Trades Program, you can immigrate to Canada and work as soon as you arrive.