The Minimum Requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP or FSW) is one of Canada’s immigration options under the Express Entry system. FSWP targets people who may economically establish themselves in Canada because of their job experience, knowledge of English or French languages, age, education, and adaptability to Canada. To apply under this program, you need to meet the minimum requirements and receive at least 67 points of the existing 100 points allocated to this program.

The following table shows the minimum requirements to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program. If you do not meet these requirements, you will be refused immediately.

Qualification Minimum Requirement
Work Experience
  • You need to mention an occupation as your primary job.
  • You need to show that in the past ten years, from the time you submit your application, you had at least one year of continuous full-time experience in that occupation. If you worked part-time, you need to show that your experience was equal to at least one year of full-time experience. A full-time job means at least 30 hours of work per week. If you worked 15 hours per week, you need to show two years of continuous job experience. If you worked 30 hours or more per week, you need to show at least one year of experience.
  • Your main occupation needs to be a Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B under the Canadian National Occupational Classifications (NOC). Skill Type 0 are management jobs. Skill Level A or B jobs are those that usually require a university degree or a post-secondary diploma (college education)
Language Skills
  • Canada has two official languages: French and English. You need to know at least one of them. If you are familiar with both, then one of them becomes your first official language and the second official language. You pick the one that you know better.
  •  You must take an official language test. They will refuse your application immediately if you don’t take any tests.
  • For the French language, you need to take the TEF test.
  • For the English language, you have three options: CELPIP General, IELTS General and PTE Core.
  • Not taking a test for a second language does not result in your application’s refusal, but you won’t receive any points.
  •  If French is your first language, you need to take TEF and receive these minimum points to be able to apply:   speaking (expression orale) – 310, listening (compréhension de l’orale) – 249, reading (compréhension de l’écrit) – 207, writing (expression écrite) – 310
  • If English is your first language and you are taking the CELPIP General test, then you need to receive a score of 7 or more in every ability (i.e. speaking, listening, reading, and writing)
  • If English is your first language and you are taking the IELTS General test, then you need to receive a score of 6.0 or more in every ability (i.e. speaking, listening, reading, and writing)
  • If you are taking PTE Core, you must receive at least 60 in reading, 69 in writing, 60 in listening, and 68 in speaking.
  • Other tests, such as IELTS Academic, CELPIP General-LS, TOEFL, DLF, etc., are unacceptable.

Important: Changes may apply due to the latest version of NOC, NOC 2021, which replaces the old skill levels with TEER categories.

Subsection 75(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) outlines these requirements. Do not apply if you do not meet the minimum requirements, as the immigration officer will refuse your application immediately under subsection 75(3) of IRPR. Make sure to receive your ECA and take a language test before opening an Express Entry account. Also, contact your employer(s) and get reference letters, employment contracts, etc., to make sure you meet the work experience requirements. Do not forget that you need to receive at least 67 out of 100 points to be eligible under the Federal Skilled Worker Program on top of the minimum requirements. Depending on whether you have a valid job offer to Canada or not, you may also need to show that you have access to some funds.

You may also read the following article for more information.

Federal Skilled Worker Program & Express Entry

The Federal Skilled Worker Program is managed under the Express Entry system since January 2015. For more information, read the following articles.

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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.