The Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) is a Canadian permanent residence pathway for foreign nationals with experience in a skilled trade.
Foreign nationals looking to immigrate to Canada under the Federal Skilled Trades Program must first make an expression of interest through the federal Express Entry selection system.
The FSTC allows individuals with a valid job offer or a certificate of qualification to obtain permanent residence in any Canadian province or territory other than Quebec.
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Find out the federal government's admission targets for the FSTC on Canada's Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan 2018 to 2021.
Eligibility Criteria for the Federal Skilled Trades Class
In order to qualify for a Canada Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa, Federal Skilled Trades applicants must:
- have valid job offers of continuous, paid, full-time employment (at least 30 hours a week) from up to two employers in Canada for at least one year OR a certificate of qualification* from a provincial or territorial body;
- provide proof of basic language proficiency from a designated language testing organization, demonstrating that the applicant meets the minimum threshold set by the Minister — Canadian Level Benchmark (CLB) 5 for speaking and listening, CLB 4 for reading and writing;
- have obtained 2 years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work) in the skilled trade in the five years before applying; and
- be able to demonstrate the skills and experience and that they have performed the essential duties of the occupation.
*A certificate of qualification proves that a foreign national is qualified to work in a skilled trade occupation in Canada. With a certificate of qualification, applicants prove they have passed a certification exam or met all the requirements to practice their trade in a specific province or territory.
Skilled work experience eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Class falls under the following categories of the National Occupational Classification (NOC):
- 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, and
- Minor Group 633: butchers and bakers.
FSTC candidates must plan to reside outside the province of Quebec. The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers through a unique immigration system. If you plan on immigrating to Quebec, please visit the Quebec Skilled Worker Program page for more information.
Federal Skilled Trades Class and Express Entry
The FSTC is one of three federal economic programs managed by the Government of Canada's Express Entry system. This means that in order to begin the process of immigrating to Canada as a tradesperson, you must first create an online Express Entry profile and obtain a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. The CRS determines your ranking in the Express Entry pool based on factors like skills, work experience, language ability, education and others.
FSTC candidates may have lower CRS scores than other candidates in the Express Entry pool because they are not required to prove their level of education.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), however, has held program-specific draws where FSTC candidates with CRS scores as low as 199 were prioritized. See a complete overview of Express Entry draws that have taken place so far.