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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

Federal Skilled Worker Eligibility

Federal Skilled Worker Eligibility

Applying as Federal Skilled Worker through Express Entry

Are you looking to apply for Express Entry? This new method of applying to enter Canada has three programs. If you are a skilled foreign national, you would be able to apply to the program that applies to you. This may include the Federal Skilled Worker Program, which has specific criteria you must meet.

How can I find out if I qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

To find out if you qualify, you may want to visit the Government website for Citizenship and Immigration Canada ( This website contains a useful online tool that is able to analyze your current situation and see if you are eligible for the specific program you would like to apply to. This includes all of the Express Entry categories: Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This tool is called Come to Canada, and will prompt you to fill out an online assessment form answering questions regarding factors such as your age, family members, possible job offers, work experience, language abilities, and more. In total, it should take around 10 to 15 minutes to fill out the form, after which you would be able to find out if your current situation is suitable for the FSWP program in Express Entry.

Other than using the online tool, there are specific qualifications you must have in order to have a successful application to the Federal Skilled Worker Program. This includes minimum requirements in factors such as your work experience, language abilities, available funds, and more.

Do I need to have Work Experience to be able to Apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

When applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, it is expected that you are a foreign national with a set of skills useful to Canada. This also means that you would have adequate work experience needed to gain and practice those skills. The Federal Skilled Worker Program has a set of minimum work experience required in order to apply. If you do not meet the minimum work experience criteria, you would not be able to apply and receive a positive response back.

The minimum requirement for this program is one year of paid work in a continuous job. This paid work means that unpaid internships, school placements that aren’t paid or volunteering will not be accepted. This one continuous year of work must have been completed within the 10 years immediately preceding your date of application. Note that it could have been either full-time work or part-time work; however, you must have an equivalent of each other – that is, 1560 hours in total. For example, if you worked full time, this should mean you worked 30 hours per week for 12 months. If you worked part time, you would have worked either 15 hours per week for 24 months at the same job, or 30 hours per week for 12 months at different jobs (could have been juggling two or three jobs at once). If not, you must have been working at the same job in order to meet the work qualifications.

Furthermore, the job you worked at must meet the skill level of A or B, or the skill type of O as defined by the National Occupational Classification (NOC). NOC codes are updated, so for this program your work must meet the levels set out in the 2011 version of the NOC codes.

These Skill Levels typically include:

Skill Type O: These are jobs that involve management, such as restaurant managers.

Skill Level A: These are professional jobs that would generally require a university degree to obtain. Examples of these can include doctors, lawyers, etc.

Skill Level B: These are jobs considered technical jobs and skilled trades. Obtaining a position in one of these careers would involve a college diploma or apprenticeship. Examples include plumbers and electricians.

If you think you meet one of the skill levels, refer to the NOC codes on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website to find the appropriate code for your particular job. You must be able to demonstrate that your job duties that you performed during your work experience match the duties and requirements of the NOC code you select. If not, you will not be considered eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

What Education Requirements must I meet in order to be Eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

The minimum requirement for eligibility to the Federal Skilled Worker Program is a secondary school diploma. This must be a recognized Canadian high school. If not, a Canadian post-secondary institution degree or diploma is also accepted. If you completed your education in a different country, you must be able to demonstrate that your degree or diploma is equal to that obtained in Canada. This means obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from an agency that is formally recognized to be able to assess foreign credentials. It must be an agency that is approved by CIC, a list of which is available on Note that if you have a foreign credential, you must provide both the actual foreign credential as well as the ECA Report.

Furthermore, you must meet particular language requirements. The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) is the recognized way of evaluating language ability. In order to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must obtain a level of 7 in the CLB. If your main language is French rather than English, you must obtain a level of 7 in the NCLC. In these tests, you will be analyzed on your ability to listen, write, read, and speak in the selected language. You may also get points if you have a second language – for this language, you must meet the level of at least CLB 5 in all of the language criteria (reading, writing, listening, speaking).

Is there a Point System for the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

In addition to other criteria, there is also a ranking system in which you are assessed based on six selection factors. This includes your education, language skills, work experience, age, job offers, and your adaptability to Canada. There are separate points allocated for each factor. For example, the maximum number of points you may receive for language skills is 28 while the maximum points you can receive for education is 25. Each factor is also decided based on various sub factors. For example, for language requirements, the higher your CLB the more points you score (if lower than 7, you will not be able to apply). It is not very concerning if you score lower in certain categories as others, as long as you can make up for those points in other categories. In total, you must have at least 67 points in order to qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. If you score less than 67, you are not qualified to apply under this program. For a full list of the points available for each selection factor, refer to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website,

What other Qualifications must I have to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

In order to apply, you must also be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover your stay in Canada. These funds must be able to support both you and your family right after you arrive in Canada. If you cannot demonstrate that you allocated such funds, you must be able to show that you are either currently able to work in a legally recognized profession in Canada, or that you currently have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer. Furthermore, you must be admissible to Canada; if you have an inadmissibility issue, it must be resolved before applying through the Federal Skilled Worker Program. You must also plan to reside outside of Quebec. The province of Quebec has its own separate regulations regarding immigration, so if you intend to reside there, ensure that you consult those regulations first.

Contact Akrami and Associates

If you are currently looking into applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, consider calling Akrami and Associates. Our experience and dedicated team has vast experience dealing with FSWP applications and will be happy to assess your situation and help you move forward with your application.

With Akrami and Associates, there is always a way!

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