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Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades

The Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSW) selects immigrants based on their ability to succeed economically in Canada and is now accessible only through Express Entry.

Minimum Language Threshold

All prospective FSW applicants must first determine whether they meet the new minimum language threshold: Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) 7 in all four skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). To prove language proficiency, a prospective applicant must take a third-party language test from an organization designated by the Minister and submit their test report along with their application to CIC.

Language test results will be accepted by IRCC for two years from the date that they were issued by the designated organization.

IRCC-designated language testing organizations include: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and Test d’évaluation de français (TEF).

Third-party language tests are scored differently by each of the three organizations. Here are the scores on each of the tests that correspond to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) 7 or higher:


Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

An FSW applicant must score at least Level 7 on each of the four skills of the CELPIP-General test to meet the minimum language threshold of CLB 7.

A score of 8 corresponds to CLB 8, and a score of 9 or higher corresponds to CLB 9 or higher.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

An FSW applicant must score at least 6.0 on the IELTS General Training test in each of the four skills to meet the minimum language threshold of CLB 7.


Test d’évaluation de français (TEF)

An FSW applicant must score at least 206 in reading, 248 in listening, and 309 in both speaking and writing on the TEF to meet the minimum language threshold of NCLC 7.

Arranged Employment

An approved offer of employment (i.e., an Labour Market Impact Assessment – LMIA) adds 600 points to an applicant’s Express Entry score and virtually guarantees an ITA.

Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

Everyone who wishes to enter the Express Entry pool as an FSW must have an ECA to determine if the foreign educational credential is authentic and equivalent to a completed credential in Canada.

Four organizations have been designated by the Minister to provide ECA reports for purposes of immigrating to Canada under the FSWP. Additional organizations may be designated by IRCC in the future. The designated organizations are:

  • Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies;
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada;
  • World Education Services; and,
  • Medical Council of Canada.

The Medical Council of Canada has been designated only for those principal applicants who intend to apply with specialist physician (2011 National Occupation Classification [NOC] code 3111) or general practitioner/family physician (2011 NOC code 3112) as their primary occupation in their FSWP application. Neither NOC code 3111 nor 3112 is on the eligible occupations list that takes effect on May 4, so this will only affect those applying under the PhD stream or with a qualifying job offer based on those NOC codes.


Federal Skilled Trades Class

The Federal Skilled Trades Class (FST)  is now accessible only through Express Entry.

To be eligible, you must:

  • plan to live outside the province of Quebec,
  • meet the required levels in English or French for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing and listening),
  • have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in a skilled trade* and meet the job requirements (except for needing a certificate of qualification) in one of the NOC major groups and minor groups below, within the five years before you apply:
  • *Major Group 72, industrial, electrical and construction trades;
  • *Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades;
  • *Major Group 82, supervisors and technical occupations 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.


  • have an offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year or a Certificate of Qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial or territorial authority.

Immigration opportunities for independent skilled workers and professionals continue to be available through the various Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), which are employer driven.

Let PCIC’s team of experienced consultants help you find out whether you qualify to apply for FSW or FST, or whether a Provincial Nominee Program might be a better fit for you. Contact us