Federal Skilled Trades Program
The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is a Canadian immigration program for skilled foreign tradespeople with at least two years of full-time paid work experience within the last five years in a qualifying trade. Applicants who meet the FSTP requirements for English/French language skills, health, character and other criteria may be able to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents through the Express Entry system.
Strong Demand for Tradespeople
As Canada’s economy continues to grow, there is also an increasing demand for skilled tradespeople across the country. Thousands of new jobs in Canada are being created, including in skilled trades and technical fields, but there are not enough skilled workers available to fill all of these Canadian job openings. Therefore, the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) was established in order to offer Canadian permanent residency to skilled foreign tradespeople who have the required English and/or French languages abilities, post-secondary education or training, work experience and other traits that employers in Canada are looking for.
Foreign skilled tradespeople who want to apply for Express Entry immigration to Canada through the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) will need to satisfy several eligibility requirements, which are summarized below.
At least two years of full-time paid work experience during the past five years in an eligible trade is required in order to apply for the FSTP. The skilled trades that qualify for the FSTP are categorized by Canada’s 2016 National Occupation Classification (NOC) into six groups, all of which are considered Skill Level B occupations, with various skilled trades listed under each major group. These specific Skill Level B occupations require at least two years of post-secondary education (for example, at a community college, vocational school, or technology institute), completion of the relevant apprenticeship or other relevant training.
The six NOC Skill Level B groups that qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) are:
- Major Group 72 (construction, electrical, and industrial trades)
- Major Group 73 (equipment operation and maintenance trades)
- Major Group 82 (supervisors and technical jobs in agriculture, natural resources and related production)
- Major Group 92 (central control operators, manufacturing, processing, and utilities supervisors)
- Minor Group 632, chefs and cooks
- Minor Group 633, bakers and butchers
Examples of the some of the NOC Skill Level B occupations that qualify for the FSTP include: aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors; automotive service technicians and mechanics; bakers; butchers; cabinetmakers; carpenters; chefs; crane operators; electrical power line and cable workers; electricians; elevator constructors and mechanics; gas fitters; glaziers; heating, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics; heavy-duty equipment mechanics; ironworkers; logging machinery operators; machinists; oil and gas well drillers; plumbers; power engineers and power systems operators; railway and yard locomotive engineers; sheet metal workers; steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers; supervisors for forest products processing; supervisors for mining and quarrying; supervisors for petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities; tool and die makers; water and waste treatment plant operators; welders; and many other high-demand skilled trades!
In addition to having the necessary work experience in an eligible occupation, applicants for the FSTP must meet the relevant English or French language standards and satisfy the requirements for health, character, proof of funds, and other criteria. To demonstrate adequate language skills, foreign workers will need to provide satisfactory scores that are less than two years old from an authorized language assessment test (such as the IELTS for English or the TEF for French). Furthermore, skilled tradespeople may need to be evaluated by the province or territory where they want to live and work in Canada. Receiving an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) may also be helpful for some skilled tradespeople. Additionally, medical exams and police certificates may be requested to show good health and good character. Various fees must also be paid during the process (for example, the Canadian Visa Application Fee must be paid after the ITA is issued; there are costs for language evaluation tests, medical exams, etc.).
It should be noted that this is an overview and the qualifying jobs in Canada or other eligibility requirements may be updated at any time by the Canadian immigration authorities. To learn if you are likely to qualify for the FSTP, click here!
Foreign skilled tradespeople who want to apply for immigration to Canada through the FSTP must complete an online Express Entry profile. Applicants who appear to qualify for the FSTP will be placed in the Express Entry pool of candidates. In order to leave the Express Entry pool and receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), the candidate must have one of the highest scores on the Comprehensive Ranking System; or be nominated for a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP); or receive a qualifying Canadian job offer. Once the ITA is issued, the skilled tradesperson will have up to 90 days to submit a complete Canadian visa application with the fee and required documents to the immigration agency in Canada. The decision about whether to approve the applicant(s) for Express Entry immigration to Canada is usually made less than six months after the complete Canadian visa application was submitted. The Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) will be sent to applicants who are approved for Canadian immigration. They will also have their valid passport(s) stamped with the Canadian visa(s) for permanent residency. These documents will be shown to the Canadian immigration authorities at the port of entry when the new immigrants initially arrive in Canada.
Benefits of Permanent Residency
Foreign tradespeople and their family members who are approved for Express Entry immigration to Canada through the FSTP can receive several benefits, such as: being allowed to live, study and work in Canada for an unlimited amount of time; having free public healthcare; the option to buy a home or other property in Canada; sponsoring eligible family members for a Canadian visa; getting a driver’s license in the province or territory of residence; opening a bank account in Canada; the opportunity to start a Canadian business; traveling to and from Canada; the option to become a Canadian citizen after living in Canada at least 3 years and satisfying other criteria; and being able to live in an immigrant-friendly country that is known for its peacefulness, prosperity, scenery, and overall high standard of living.
To learn more about Express Entry immigration to Canada through the FSTP, click here!