Federal Skilled Trades Program

Canadian businesses are seeking experienced tradespeople, such as carpenters, crane operators, electricians, mechanics, plumbers and welders. Since there are not enough tradespeople to fill all of the available jobs in Canada, the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) was created to bring them to the country from overseas. If you meet the qualifications for the FSTP, you and your eligible family members could move to Canada relatively quickly through the new Express Entry Canadian immigration system and also have the option to later apply for Canadian citizenship.


FSTP Eligibility Requirements

In order to move to Canada through the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), there are certain eligibility requirements that you must meet.


For example, you must have at least two years of full-time paid work experience in the past five years in one of dozens of jobs in Canada listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) as qualifying for the FSTP, such as the following examples:


  • Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
  • Appliance servicers and repairers
  • Bricklayers
  • Cabinetmakers
  • Cable television service and maintenance technicians
  • Carpenters
  • Chefs
  • Concrete finishers
  • Cooks
  • Crane Operators
  • Drillers and blasters – surface mining, quarrying and construction
  • Electrical power line and cable workers
  • Electricians
  • Elevator constructors and mechanics
  • Fishermen/women
  • Fishing masters and officers
  • Floor covering installers
  • Gas fitters
  • Glaziers
  • Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
  • Insulators
  • Ironworkers
  • Logging machinery operators
  • Machine fitters
  • Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
  • Motor vehicle body repairers
  • Motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle and other related mechanics
  • Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
  • Oil and solid fuel heating mechanics
  • Other small engine and small equipment repairers
  • Painters and decorators (except interior decorators)
  • Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators
  • Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers and lathers
  • Plumbers
  • Power engineers and power systems operators
  • Power system electricians
  • Printing press operators
  • Pulping, papermaking and coating control operators
  • Railway and yard locomotive engineers
  • Railway carmen/women
  • Railway conductors and brakemen/women
  • Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
  • Roofers and shinglers
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
  • Structural metal and platework fabricators and fitters
  • Supervisors, electrical products manufacturing
  • Supervisors, electronics manufacturing
  • Supervisors, food, beverage and associated products processing
  • Supervisors, forest products processing
  • Supervisors, furniture and fixtures manufacturing
  • Supervisors, logging and forestry
  • Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
  • Supervisors, mining and quarrying
  • Supervisors, motor transport and other ground transit operators
  • Supervisors, motor vehicle assembling
  • Supervisors, other mechanical and metal products manufacturing
  • Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
  • Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
  • Supervisors, railway transport operations
  • Supervisors, textile, fabric, fur and leather products processing and manufacturing
  • Telecommunications installation and repair workers
  • Telecommunications line and cable workers
  • Tilesetters
  • Tool and die makers
  • Underground production and development miners
  • Water and waste treatment plant operators
  • Water well drillers
  • Welders and related machine operators


Please note that in addition to the above list of jobs in Canada that are eligible for the FSTP, there are many other skilled trades that also qualify for this Canadian immigration program.


Another key eligibility requirement for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is to possess adequate English or French language skills for one’s skilled trade as measured by authorized language evaluation exams such as the IELTS or TEF.


Although a favorable Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is not required for the FSTP, Canada’s government recommends obtaining an ECA from one of the authorized agencies in Canada, since more points can be earned on the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).


Furthermore, a foreign tradesperson must meet the NOC requirements for their skilled trade.


A qualifying pre-arranged Canada job offer for full-time employment lasting at least one year OR a Certificate of Qualification in an eligible skilled trade issued by a Canadian province or territory will also be necessary to apply for the FSTP.


As with all Canadian immigration programs, someone applying for the FSTP must meet the health and character requirements, plus there may be other criteria.


How to Apply for the FSTP

If a skilled foreign tradesperson meets the eligibility requirements for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), they may apply for Canadian immigration by filing an online Express Entry profile containing their relevant details. A Canadian immigration official will then review the information in their Express Entry profile and if they assess that the applicant meets the criteria for the FSTP, they may move the foreign tradesperson into the Express Entry pool of candidates for up to 12 months. Canadian immigration candidates in the Express Entry pool who have a qualifying Canada job offer or who are nominated for the Provincial Nominees Program (PNP) by a Canadian province or territory will receive an automatic Invitation to Apply (ITA) for a PR Visa to Canada. An ITA may also be issued to candidates in the pool who have the highest scores on the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Once the ITA has been issued, the skilled foreign tradesperson will have 90 days to correctly submit their complete application for a PR Visa to Canada, along with the necessary documents, plus pay any required fee(s). They can then expect to receive a decision regarding their application for a PR Visa to Canada within six months of submitting their complete visa application.


Benefits of a PR Visa to Canada

A skilled foreign tradesperson who is approved for a Permanent Resident (PR) Visa to Canada through the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) will be authorized to live and work in Canada long-term, along with their eligible family members. They will also be able to receive free basic healthcare as a Canadian permanent resident (after a short waiting period) and have access to educational programs in Canada. In addition to enjoying the high standard of living and spectacular scenery that Canada is known for, permanent residents of Canada can also apply for Canadian citizenship after living in Canada as permanent residents at least four years during a six year period and meeting other criteria.