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Foreign Skilled Trade

The Federal Skilled Trade (FST) program is one of the three programs within Canada’s Express Entry system for processing permanent residency applications. All programs within Express Entry are competitive and use the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to rank candidates. Based on their credentials, applicants are awarded CRS points.

The processing time for the FSW stream is 6 months.

To be eligible to apply, you must meet the program requirements:

  • 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),
    • CLB 5 for speaking and listening, CLB 4 for reading and writing.
  • have at least two years of full-time work experience** (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in a skilled trade within the five years before you apply,

  • meet all job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), and

  • have an offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year

    • accompanied by an LMIA

  • or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a provincial or territorial body.

Full-time work** means at least 30 hours of work over a period of one week, or an equal amount in part-time, paid work experience. For example:

  • if you worked 15 hours per week in one job over four years, or

  • if you worked a total of 30 combined hours per week in more than one job over two years.

Once you receive the Invitation to Apply, applicants and the accompanying dependants must also undergo medical examinations and obtain security clearances as part of application process.

Eligible Occupations

In Canada, only provinces and territories can issue certificates of qualification in the skilled trades. To get this certificate, the provincial or territorial trades authority must assess your training, trade experience and skills to decide if you are eligible to write an exam to be certified.

Further, in order to qualify, your occupation must be on the most recent list of eligible occupations:


  • 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
  • 7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
  • 7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
  • 7271 Carpenters
  • 7301 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
  • 7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
  • 8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry
  • 8221 Supervisors, mining and quarrying
  • 8222 Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
  • 8241 Logging machinery operators
  • 8252 Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • 9211 Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
  • 9212 Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
  • 9214 Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
  • 9231 Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
  • 9241 Power engineers and power systems operators
  • 9243 Water and waste treatment plant operators
  • 7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
  • 7233 Sheet metal workers
  • 7235 Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
  • 7236 Ironworkers
  • 7237 Welders and related machine operators
  • 7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
  • 7242 Industrial electricians
  • 7243 Power system electricians
  • 7244 Electrical power line and cable workers
  • 7245 Telecommunications line and cable workers
  • 7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers
  • 7251 Plumbers
  • 7252 Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
  • 7253 Gas fitters
  • 7311 Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
  • 7312 Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
  • 7313 Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
  • 7314 Railway carmen/women
  • 7315 Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
  • 7318 Elevator constructors and mechanics
  • 7371 Crane operators
  • 7372 Drillers and blasters – surface, mining, quarrying and construction
  • 7373 Water well drillers
  • 8231 Underground production and development miners
  • 8232 Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
  • 9232 Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators

In an attempt to avoid backlogs and ensure fast processing timesCIC will accept no more than 3,000 complete federal skilled trade applications for processing each year.

Within the 3,000 cap, no more than 100 new applications for certain jobs will be considered for processing each year. There is no sub-cap for other skilled trades.

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