This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to understanding the FSW Program and its application process.
What is Federal Skilled Worker Program?
The Federal Skilled Worker Program is an initiative under the Express Entry system, created for skilled professionals seeking permanent residency in Canada. It’s one of three Express Entry programs, along with the Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class.
For skilled workers interested in Quebec, be aware that the province has a distinct selection process called the Quebec-selected skilled workers program.
To qualify for the FSW program, there are several important eligibility factors you need to consider:
Skilled work experience means that you have worked in one of the following job categories:
- TEER 0
- TEER 1
- TEER 2
- TEER 3
To prove your skilled work experience, you need to show that while working in your main job, you performed the duties described in the job description of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) for that occupation. This includes all the important duties and most of the other duties mentioned.
Here are the requirements for your skilled work experience:
- The job you have experience in must be the same type of job (have the same NOC) as the job you want to use for your immigration application (known as your primary occupation).
- Your work experience must be within the last 10 years.
- It should be paid work, meaning you received wages or earned commission. Volunteer work or unpaid internships do not count.
- You need to have worked continuously for at least one year or a total of 1,560 hours (equivalent to 30 hours per week). There are different ways to meet this requirement:
- Working full-time at one job: 30 hours per week for 12 months, totaling 1,560 hours.
- Accumulating an equal amount of part-time work: for example, working 15 hours per week for 24 months, which also adds up to 1,560 hours.
- You can have multiple part-time jobs to meet this requirement.
- Working full-time at more than one job: 30 hours per week for 12 months at multiple jobs, totaling 1,560 hours.
Experience from Part-Time Work
To count towards your skilled work experience, your part-time work must have been paid, either through wages or commission. Unpaid roles, such as volunteer work or unpaid internships, don’t count.
With part-time work, you can work either more or less than 15 hours per week, as long as your total work hours reach 1,560. If necessary, you can work more than one part-time job to meet this total.
However, remember that we only count work hours up to 30 hours per week.
Experience from Student Work
The work you did while you were studying can be included in your minimum requirements, as long as:
- You were paid for your work, either through wages or commissions.
- Your work was continuous, meaning you didn’t have any gaps in your employment.
- And, your work meets all the other requirements of the Program.
- Language Tests: You must take an approved language test that measures your abilities in English or French across four areas – writing, reading, listening, and speaking.
- Minimum Score: The test score should not be less than Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for all four language abilities. Scores are evaluated per ability, not overall.
- Validity of Test Results: The results from your language test will be considered valid for two years from the date of the test.
Your educational qualifications play a crucial role in your application:
- Canadian Education: If you’ve studied in Canada, you need to provide a certificate, diploma, or degree from a Canadian secondary or post-secondary institution.
- Foreign Education: If your educational qualifications are from outside Canada, you’ll have to provide a completed credential and an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report. This report, issued by an approved agency, will show that your foreign education is valid and equivalent to a completed Canadian secondary or post-secondary educational credential.
To determine if you qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, certain factors are considered. If you meet the minimum requirements, your eligibility will be assessed based on:
- Work experience
- Valid job offer (optional)
- English or French language skills
- Adaptability (likelihood of successful settlement)
Your performance in each factor contributes to an overall score out of 100. The current pass mark is 67 points.
Calculation of Selection Factor Points for Federal Skilled Workers
Please note that the points assigned to these factors differ from the points used to rank your profile in the Express Entry pool.
Using Selection Factor Points
Selection factor points are used to determine your eligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Once you are in the Express Entry pool, a different system is used to rank your profile. The candidates with the highest ranking in the pool are invited to apply for permanent residence.
Unless you fall under one of the following categories, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family in Canada:
- You are currently authorized to work in Canada.
- You have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.
You must meet the requirements for being eligible to enter Canada.
If you plan to live in Canada, please note that you must settle outside the province of Quebec. Quebec has its own process for selecting skilled workers. If you intend to reside in Quebec, refer to the information on Quebec-selected skilled workers for further guidance.
When filling out your profile, we will ask you about your intended place of residence in Canada. However, you are not obligated to settle in that particular province or territory.
The FSW Program uses a point-based system to assess applicants based on selection factors:
- Age: Maximum points (12) are awarded to applicants aged 18 to 35.
- Language Skills: Maximum points (28) for proficiency in English and/or French, based on CLB levels.
- Education: Maximum points (25) for a Canadian secondary or post-secondary program or equivalent foreign credential.
- Work Experience: Maximum points (15) for six or more years of experience.
- Arranged Employment in Canada: Valid job offer from a Canadian employer can earn up to 10 additional points.
- Admissibility: Candidates must meet the admissibility requirements set by the Canadian government.
- Adaptability: Various factors, such as past studies in Canada, past work experience in Canada, relatives in Canada, or a spouse’s language skills, can earn up to 10 points.
Ready to start your application? Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Gather Necessary Documents: These include identification documents, language proficiency test results, educational credentials, and proof of work experience.
- Create an Express Entry Profile: Log on to the official Government of Canada website and create your profile.
- Submit Your Profile: After reviewing for accuracy, submit your profile.
- Wait for an Invitation to Apply (ITA): If your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score meets the requirement, you’ll receive an ITA from the Government of Canada.
How much time does it take to process a Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) application?
Another question many applicants often have is about the processing time for their application. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how long it typically takes:
- Profile Validity in Pool: Once you submit your Express Entry profile for the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, it remains valid in the pool of candidates for 12 months. It’s important to remember that being in the pool doesn’t guarantee you’ll receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA).
- Post-ITA Submission: If you’re fortunate enough to receive an ITA while in the pool, you’ll have 60 days to prepare and submit a full application and all required documentation to the Government of Canada.
- Standard Processing Time: From the moment your complete application is received by the Canadian authorities, the typical processing time is six months. This period includes all the steps, from application verification to the issuance of a permanent residence visa.
- Factors That May Affect Processing Time: It’s worth noting that these timelines are estimates. The actual processing time can vary depending on various factors such as:
- Application Complexity/Completeness: If your application is complex or missing certain information, it might take longer to process.
- Verification Process: If the immigration officer finds it difficult to confirm the information provided in your application, it could delay the process.
- Addition of Family Members: Including additional family members in your application can also extend the processing time, as each family member must be checked and processed individually.
Federal Skilled Worker Program and Express Entry
The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is part of the Express Entry system. Express Entry is not an immigration program in itself. Instead, it serves as a management system for applications across three primary economic immigration programs, one of which is the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
Becoming a federal skilled worker in Canada offers excellent opportunities for skilled individuals to achieve permanent residency. By understanding the program requirements, preparing the necessary documents, and calculating your points based on selection factors, you can enhance your chances of success in the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Start your journey towards a rewarding future in Canada!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Do I need to provide proof of settlement funds for my FSW application?
Yes, you do. The Canadian government requires Federal Skilled Workers to show they have enough funds to support themselves and their family after settling in Canada. The required funds depend on your family size.
As of May 2023, the required amounts are as follows:
1 family member: $13,757
2 family members: $17,127
3 family members: $21,055
4 family members: $25,564
5 family members: $28,994
6 family members: $32,700
7 family members: $36,407
Each additional family member: $3,706
Q2: What if I don’t have sufficient settlement funds? Can I still apply for FSW?
Yes, you can. If you’re unable to show sufficient settlement funds, you can still apply under the FSW program if you have a job offer from a Canadian employer.
Q3: Is it possible to include my parents in my Federal Skilled Worker application?
Q4: Can I include my spouse and children in my Federal Skilled Worker application?
Absolutely! When applying under the Federal Skilled Worker program, you can include your spouse and children in your application for permanent residence.
However, bear in mind that including your spouse may influence your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. It’s important to understand how this might impact your application.
Q5: Do I need a job offer to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program?
However, having a valid job offer can boost your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score by 50 to 200 points. Keep in mind, to qualify for these additional points, the job offer typically needs a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).