Who is a skilled worker? The phrase is often equated with white-collar workers in middle and upper management positions doing executive and management tasks. However, Canada’s focus on attracting skilled workers from across the world goes extends to blue-collar workers specializing in ‘skilled trades’.
This is why the Express Entry application system for skilled workers covers a federal program designed specifically for skilled trade workers—the Federal Skilled Trades Program.
About the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
Unlike the FSWP and CEC that is open to applicants across virtually all NOC codes, the FSTP is open to workers of specific NOC codes.
To qualify under the FSTP, you must be a skilled worker in one of the following groups.
- Major group 72 covering Industrial, Electrical and Construction trades
- Major group 73 covering Maintenance and Equipment Operation trades
- Major group 82 covering Supervisors and Technical Jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production
- Major group 92 covering Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities supervisors and Central Control Operators
- Minor group 632 covering chefs and cooks, and
- Minor group 633 covering butchers and bakers.
When assessing your eligibility, it’s important to look beyond your designation or office title and focus on whether you have performed all essential duties and most of the main duties detailed for each NOC code.
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Simply being appointed as a chef without doing all the essential duties as defined in the NOC code will not make you eligible for Canadian permanent residence through the FSTP. Similarly, don’t conclude you cannot qualify as a baker just because your job title was something different.
Only an experienced immigration professional can help you assess your duties and responsibilities and guide you towards choosing the right NOC code that will maximize your chances of qualify for an Invitation to Apply.
To understand the importance of skilled trade workers for any business or commercial enterprise, just visualize a manufacturing unit without industrial workers or utilities supervisors or a hotel without chefs, butchers, and bakers or a service-sector business without maintenance workers.
Skilled trade workers are essential for the Canadian economy, which is why there is a federal program along with various PNP streams setup by different provinces for attracting skilled trade workers in in-demand trade occupations.
Other Eligibility Requirements
To qualify under the FSTP, you must have at least two years of full time work experience in the past five years before the date of your application.
Further, only work experience obtained after you became qualified to independently practice the skilled trade counts. So, experience as an electrician does not count if it was before your formal training and certification to work as an electrician.
You will need a certificate of qualification in your skilled trade issued by a federal, provincial or territorial authority. This means your foreign qualification alone won’t be enough for you to work as a skilled trader in Canada.
If you are applying from abroad, then you must obtain certification from a federal authority. Provincial and territorial authorities are permitted to issue certificates only to those already in Canada.
Having a job offer in hand is not mandatory to qualify under any Express Entry program and this is true for the FSTP as well. A valid job offer is one offering full-time employment for at least one year.
If you don’t have a job offer, then you must submit proof of funds equal to or higher than the LICO (Low Income Cut Off) requirements applicable for the year.
FSTP’s minimum language proficiency requirements are CLB 5 for speaking and listening and CLB 4 for reading and writing. You need to be proficient in one of the two languages—English or French.
There are no minimum education requirements for the FSTP. You will be eligible to apply as long as you are qualified to perform the skilled trade. So, not completing secondary or post-secondary education won’t disqualify you.
However, your educational qualification will impact your CRS score. A FSTP worker with a post-secondary degree will get more points under the CRS scoring grid as compared to an applicant who has just completed high school.
To qualify for the additional points, you must either submit proof of your Canadian education or submit an Educational Credential Assessment identifying the Canadian equivalent of your foreign education.
They may share the application system with white-collar workers but skilled trades workers need to consider many unique factors then planning their immigration strategy. So, choose an immigration professional who has the requisite knowledge and experience to help you achieve your Canadian dream.