What is a Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)?

How Can We Help?

The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is for people who are selected to immigrate to Canada because of their work experience and skills. As of January 1st, 2015, candidates for the Federal Skilled Worker Program will be selected to apply through the Express Entry System. If you applied before January 1st, 2015, your application will be reviewed according to the former system.

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Have a job offer; or
  • Be able to prove that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependants after you arrive in Canada;
  • Be eligible to work in Canada; or
    • Have at least 1 year of full-time (or equivalent) skilled work experience;
    • Meet minimum language levels in English or French;
    • Have a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree;
    • Plan to live outside the province of Quebec.

The Basics

Your work experience must be either Skill Type 0, Skill Level A or Skill Level B on the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC). Your work experience must be paid, full-time or the equivalent hours in part-time. Full-time means at least 30 hours per week. You must have had that work experience during the last 10 years.

These limits do not apply if you have a permanent job offer.

You need to have at least 67 points to be eligible to apply as a FSW. You get different points based on your:

  • education;
  • abilities in English and/or French (Canada’s 2 official languages);
  • work experience;
  • age;
  • employment arrangements (if applicable) in Canada; and
  • adaptability.

Please note that the FSW point system is different from Express Entry points.

If you are eligible to apply under the FSW category, you may submit your profile to Express Entry. Express Entry is a new online application system for economic immigration categories, such as the FSW.

Help and Resources

Visit the following links for more information:

  • Federal Skilled Workers – Information on selection criteria and how to apply. 
  • Come to Canada – A tool that can help you figure out what your options are if you want to come to Canada as an immigrant, student, worker or visitor. 
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) – The federal department responsible for Canadian immigration and citizenship. Its website has information on immigration policy, programs and services, application kits, and more.
  • CIC Help Centre – A tool that helps answer frequently asked questions on immigration matters. It offers several ways of searching through the information available, including search by keyword.

CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.

Thanks to Suman for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.

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