Federal Skilled Trades Class

Citizenship and Immigration Canada established the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FST) in order to promptly respond to labour shortages in parts of Canada that are experiencing explosive economic growth. The program will allow skilled workers in certain trades to obtain Canadian permanent residency. This program is particularly applicable to prospective applicants with training and work experience in certain in-demand trades, such as welders, crane operators, cooks and chefs, and electricians.


The popular FST program currently has an imposed application cap, limiting the number of individuals able to apply under the program.  As of May 1, 2014, a total of 8,000 applications to the FST will be accepted.  Additional sub-caps of 100 applications per occupation for each of the 90 qualifying applications also apply.  Applicants should ensure their applications are completed in a timely manner as this is the last application cycle for the current program before Express Entry is introduced in January of 2015.  These caps apply to all applications, regardless of whether the person is applying with a full time employment offer or with a qualification certificate.

In order to meet the criteria for the Federal Skilled Trades Class, an applicant must:

  1. Plan to settle outside of Quebec.  Applicants who plan to live in Quebec do not qualify for the FST, as Quebec regulates its own immigration.  If you plan to live in Quebec, consider applying to the Quebec Skilled Worker Program as an alternative.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in English or French.  Proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages can only be confirmed through a language test from an agency approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  Applicants must meet specific Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) levels to indicate their proficiency in French or English.  To qualify, an applicant must have a minimum score of CLB 5 in the speaking and listening categories and a minimum score of CLB 4 for reading and writing.
  3. Have at least two years of full time work experience in a skilled trade, or an equal amount of part time work experience.  The two years of work experience in a skilled trade must have been completed in the five years prior to the application date.  Holding two part time jobs with separate employers that together add up to 30 hours of work a week will also count as full time work experience.
  4. Meet the requirements for a particular skilled trade that is eligible for the program.  The complete list of the 90 eligible occupations can be found on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website.  The eligible occupations generally fall into one of the following six categories: industrial, electical and construction trades; maintenance and equipment operation trades; supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production; processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators; cooks and chefs; and bakers and butchers.
  5. Hold either an offer of employment or a qualification certificate.  
        • For applicants holding a valid offer of employment, the offer must be for at least one year of continuous full time work, which constitutes a minimum of 30 hours per week.  If you have two offer of part-time employment from different employers that together add up to at least 30 hours of work per week, you are also eligible.
        • For applicants who hold a qualification certificate for a skilled trade that is an eligible occupation under the program, a valid job offer is not required.  To obtain a qualification certificate, applicants will need to contact the regulatory body or the apprenticeship authority for their trade in the province or territory they plan to reside to have their qualifications assessed for equivalence.  In order to be assessed and to receive a qualification certificate it is likely that the applicant will need to travel to the province or territory where they plan to reside.

Applications to the Federal Skilled Trade Program can be made from both outside of Canada or inside Canada for applicants who already have a Canadian work permit as a temporary foreign worker. For workers already in Canada, only individuals on a valid work permit qualify for the FST.  The job offer must be from your current employer who is named on your work permit, and the offer must be for at least one year of full time employment.  The work permit must have a positive LMO or have been LMO exempt.  For workers applying from outside of Canada, the offer of employment must also include a positive LMO.

For more information about the Federal Skilled Trades Class and to find out how FWCanada can help you with your application, fill out our assessment form.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on FacebookTwitter, and Linkedin.