Federal Skilled Trades Program
Alessandra is a Peruvian citizen. She is 27 years old. Alessandra is a carpenter supervisor. She learned carpentry when she was 20 years old. She then started working as a professional carpenter at the age of 21. Alessandra gradually climbed the ladder and became a supervisor at the age of 24. She knows English language well. She took the IELTS General test last month and her score was 6.0 under all the abilities. Alessandra has recently received a job offer from a large carpentry firm in Nova Scotia, Canada. They have already received a positive LMIA to hire Alessandra. She wonders if she could immigrate to Canada and become a permanent resident of Canada.
The most popular method of immigration to Canada is the Express Entry system. You may like to know, this system covers the following three major options.
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
The last option is the focus of this article. If your job falls under any acceptable FSTP categories, you’d probably need to consider this option for your immigration to Canada. To learn more about acceptable job categories, read the following article.
Minimum Work Experience for FSTP
You need to show that within the last five years you have had at least two years of work experience under any of the acceptable skilled trade jobs. The work experience needs to be either full-time or equivalent to full-time. You also need to show your job duties matches the job duties an immigration officer expects under the job category you apply.
Minimum Language Requirements for FSTP
You need to take at least one of the following tests.
- CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (Only CELPIP General is acceptable. Don’t take General-LS)
- IELTS: International English Language Testing System (Only IELTS General is acceptable. Don’t take IELTS Academic)
- TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français
- TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français
You only need to take one of the tests per language. If you present multiple test results under the same language, the officer considers the latest test results. They won’t combine the results with each other. While taking the second language test is not mandatory, it could enhance your Express Entry CRS score significantly.
The following table shows the minimum scores under each ability of the test for the FSTP applicants.
The figures above are the minimums. You need to meet the minimum under each ability (i.e. speaking, listening, reading, and writing). Even if your score falls under the minimum for one of the abilities you may not apply. Since you will eventually compete with other Express Entry applicants, you need to get much better scores than these minimums.
Job Offer or Certificate of Qualifications
You may only apply under the FSTP if you have either of these:
- A valid job offer under any of the FSTP job categories from a Canadian employer, or
- A certificate of qualification issued by Canadian federal, provincial, or territorial authority
The job offer could be from one or two employers. There are many other conditions attached to a valid job offer. Read the following article for more information.
There are certain government bodies that issue a certificate of qualification for the skilled trade jobs. Visit the following links for each province. Quebec is missing from this list as Express Entry immigration is for everywhere in Canada but the province of Quebec.
Provinces (from west to east):
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Newfoundland and Labrador
Territories (from west to east):
Some jobs are not regulated by the Canadian provinces or territories. You may visit the following website to see your potential alternative options in these situations.
Although there no other minimum requirements for FSTP (Federal Skilled Trades Program), the following factors affect your Express Entry CRS score:
- Work experience outside Canada
- Spouse or common-law partner’s education and knowledge of official languages
- Sisters or brothers who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents and live in Canada
Majority of FSTP applicants do not receive enough CRS score to compete with the CEC and FSWP applicants. That’s why the government of Canada usually runs special rounds of invitation (ITA) for the FSTP applicants twice a year. So if your points are not good enough, don’t get disappointed. You could have a chance within the next six months or so.
Exemption from Settlement Funds
When you apply under FSTP (Federal Skilled Trades Program), you need to show settlement funds (i.e. a minimum amount of money in your bank account). Read the following article for more information about how much you need.
If you have a valid work permit along with a valid job offer, you are exempt from showing settlement funds. Despite that, I highly recommend following the LICO guidelines to avoid any potential issues with the immigration authorities.
Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) & Express Entry
FSTP is managed under the Express Entry system since January 2015. For more information, read the following article.
If you wish to visit or move to Canada or if you have encountered any issues with the immigration authorities, you may fill out our free assessment form or book a consultation session to assess your potential opportunities or offer you immigration, visa, or citizenship advice.
Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not give legal advice nor should you rely on it as legal advice. If you have specific legal questions, you should consult a lawyer. If you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment. All the characters in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Any resemblance in names, dates, and places (whether individuals, organizations, regions, or countries) is coincidental.
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