About the Federal Skilled Trades Category

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), launched in January 2013, is designed for people who have practical training and work experience rather than formal education to immigrate to Canada. To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Have EITHER:
    • a 1-year qualifying job offer OR
    • a Provincial/Territorial certificate of qualification in a qualifying skilled trade (see below);
  • Meet minimum language proficiency thresholds in either English or French;
  • Have at least 2 years of work experience (within the last 5 years) in a skilled trade within the 5 years before you apply;
  • Satisfy the employment requirements;
  • Plan to live outside the province of Quebec.


Language for FST:

You must meet the minimum Canadian Language level of:

• CLB 5 (English) or NCLC (TEF) 5 (French) for speaking and listening, and
• CLB 4 (English) or NCLC (TEF) 4 (French) for reading and writing.

The equivalent test scores for IELTS and CELPIP are:

CLB LevelIELTS ReadingIELTS WritingIELTS ListeningIELTS Speaking
108.0-9.07.5 - 9.08.5 - 9.07.5 - 9.0
CLB LevelCELPIP ReadingCELPIP WritingCELPIP ListeningCELPIP Speaking
9 and above9+9+9+ 9+

Your test results must be less than 2 years old when our application is submitted to immigration. You should upload your test results to your online profile at Express Entry.


Work Experience for FST:

The Skilled Trades are those under NOC Skill level B. Skill levels C and D do NOT qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades stream. You must demonstrate that in your job, you performed the main duties and had the responsibilities of one of the following occupations listed under the National Occupation Classification NOC 2016:

Major Group 72, industrial, electrical and construction trades,
Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades,
Major Group 82, supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production,
Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators,
Minor Group 632, chefs and cooks, and
Minor Group 633, butchers and bakers.

You must prove that the skilled trade for which you are applying list the same duties that you performed in the work you list as your job experience. For example, if you apply as an electrician there are several possible matches depending on the nature of your particular job as an electrician.

If you are a supervisor, then the NOC lists the following duties under NOC code 7202 where you are either a contractor, a foreman, or a supervisor:

  • Supervise, co-ordinate and schedule the activities of workers who install, repair and maintain electrical wiring, fixtures and control devices, power systems, telecommunication systems and cablevision systems
  • Establish methods to meet work schedules and co-ordinate work activities with other departments or subcontractors
  • Requisition materials and supplies
  • Resolve work problems and recommend work measures to improve productivity
  • Train or arrange for training of workers
  • Recommend personnel actions such as hiring’s and promotions
  • Ensure standards for safe working conditions are observed
  • Prepare work progress reports
  • May manage the operations of their own companies
  • May also supervise, co-ordinate and schedule the activities of related apprentices, helpers and labourers.

However, if you are just an electrician (excluding industrial electricians and power systems electricians) then your NOC code is 7241 and your duties are listed as:

  • Read and interpret drawings, circuit diagrams and electrical code specifications to determine wiring layouts for new or existing installations
  • Pull wire through conduits and through holes in walls and floors
  • Install brackets and hangers to support electrical equipment
  • Install, replace and repair lighting fixtures and electrical control and distribution equipment, such as switches, relays and circuit breaker panels
  • Splice, join and connect wire to fixtures and components to form circuits
  • Test continuity of circuits using test equipment to ensure compatibility and safety of system, following installation, replacement or repair
  • Troubleshoot and isolate faults in electrical and electronic systems and remove and replace faulty components
  • Connect electrical power to audio and visual communication equipment, signaling devices and heating and cooling systems
  • Conduct preventive maintenance programs and keep maintenance records.

In other words, there is an enormous difference in the duties between an electrician and a supervisor, foreman, or contractor. Do not confuse what type of electrician – or any other skilled trade – you are applying as under the Federal Skilled Trades stream. Make sure you get your NOC code and job duties right.

You must also prove that you were qualified to work independently in the country where you last worked in your chosen skilled trade. You must prove that you were certified in that country if such a requirement exists in that country for your trade. For example, if you were a plumber in Germany and also worked in Poland you must prove you were certified to be a plumber in both countries.


Education for Federal Skilled Trades:

There is no specific educational requirements for the Federal Skilled Trades stream but those with better educational backgrounds will be awarded more points on their Express Entry profiles and have a better chance of being successfully accepted. To earn additional points at Express Entry for education, you must either have:

  • a Canadian secondary (high school), OR
  • a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree, OR
  • an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from an agency approved by CIC to show your foreign education is equal to Canadian education standards for a secondary or post-secondary diploma, degree, or certificate.
  • These are the designated organizations that you can use to obtain an ECA for your foreign academic credentials:
  • Comparative Education Service
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
  • World Education Services
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service
  • International Credential Evaluation Service


Certificate of Qualification:

Finally, you will be assessed by provincial or territorial bodies that govern your skilled trade. Go to the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials ( for information on possible credential assessments you may be required to undergo. Note that you should state what province you wish to live and work in so that the immigration authorities can ensure that you undergo the credentials certification process for your trade, if one exists. The process depends on the specific province, so you will have to visit the website and contact the board governing your trade in the province you choose.


For assistance, contact Maxcan Immigration in Markham. Mary Zhang has years of experience handling permanent residence applications. Maxcan serves the Greater Toronto Area.