How to immigrate to Canada using the Federal Skilled Worker Program

Since its launch in 1967, the FSWP has been a leading immigration pathway for skilled workers.

Potential immigrants to Canada have over 100 different economic class immigration programs that they can use to get status as a permanent resident. 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 call Canada their home.

What is the FSWP? 

The FSWP is designed as a pathway for candidates with skilled work experience who want to immigrate to Canada permanently. It was the first such program in the world to feature a points system that evaluates candidates objectively and has inspired other countries such as Australia and New Zealand to adopt the same approach.

Who is eligible for the FSWP? 

Coming to Canada through the FSWP is a multistep process. To get started, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • At least one year of skilled work experience
  • A minimum Canadian Language Benchmark of 7 on their English or French language test
  • At least one educational credential
  • Demonstrate proof of funds (if applicable)
  • Get at least 67 out of 100 points on the FSWP scoring grid

Work experience 

To be eligible to apply for the FSWP, you will require at least one year of skilled worked experience in an occupation listed in Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC) system.

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

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


To satisfy the education requirement, you need to have completed at least secondary school education either inside Canada or overseas. If completed overseas, you must get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) showing that your education is equal to a Canadian diploma, degree, or certification.


It is important to be able to show proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages (English or French). FSWP candidates need a minimum score of 7 on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB). You will be graded on reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Proof of funds 

Candidates must also demonstrate they have enough 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. The 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 must show any outstanding debts, account numbers, loans and the average balance for the past six months.

Number of family membersFunds required in CAD
Each additional family member$3,586

FSWP points grid 

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

EducationUp to 25
Language SkillsUp to 28
Work ExperienceUp to 15
AgeUp to 12
Arranged employmentUp to 10
AdaptabilityUp to 10

I am eligible for the FSWP: Now what? 

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

If you are eligible for any of these three programs, you can create a profile on the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 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 permanent residence application to IRCC.

FSWP invitations resume in early July 2022 

Due to the pandemic, the FWSP was temporarily put on hold in 2021 as the federal government sought to prioritize in-Canada applications to achieve its goal of landing over 400,000 permanent residents in 2021.

IRCC has recently announced that in early July of this year it will begin inviting new candidates under all three Express Entry-managed programs, including the FSWP. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has said that IRCC will try to process all new Express Entry applications within six months. Express Entry will grow in prominence over the coming years as Canada seeks to welcome more skilled workers to support its economy. By 2024, Canada will look to welcome over 110,000 immigrants through Express Entry.

Add Your Comment