The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) was the principal immigration channel for skilled people to enter to Canada between 1967 to the onset of the pandemic. Express Entry invitation rounds for FSWP candidates are slated to resume in July after a temporary hiatus that began in December 2020.
The FSWP is a popular immigration route since it allows applicants to apply even if they have no prior Canadian experience or a job offer.
People who are eligible for the FSWP receive a score on the Comprehensive Ranking System, which is maintained by the Express Entry system (CRS). Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) holds Express Entry lotteries every two weeks, asking the top scorers to apply for Canadian immigration.
The following is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for Canadian immigration via the FSWP:
Step 1: Meet the FSWP’s eligibility requirements
To be qualified to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, prospective candidates must meet the minimum standards for job experience, language proficiency, and education. You must also earn at least 67 points on the program’s 100-point grid.
The minimum prerequisites are:
One year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in a skilled occupation designated as National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level 0, A, or B; or
Standardized language ability equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French across all skill sets (reading, writing, listening, and speaking); and,
Canadian educational qualifications (certificate, diploma, or degree) or foreign credential and Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report.
FSWP applicants must get at least 67 points on the IRCC’s six immigration selection factors.
Step 2: Complete out your Express Entry profile and upload it to the IRCC website.
Create an IRCC secure account and follow the instructions on the government website. The online tool will ask you to create an Express Entry profile, enter your personal reference code, and then enter your personal information.
Once you’ve completed your profile, you can submit it and IRCC will determine which Express Entry program you qualify for.
If you are good enough to qualify for the FSWP, IRCC will position you in the Express Entry pool alongside other qualified applicants. You will be assigned a score based on factors such as work experience, education, age, and proficiency in an official language.
Step 3: Look for an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency
Completing an online Express Entry profile does not ensure that you will be asked to apply for permanent residence. You need a score that is high enough to fulfill the basic requirement in a given Express Entry draw.
Get ready for IRCC to give you an ITA while you’re in the pool. If you get one, you have 60 days to send in a complete application. About every two weeks, IRCC holds draws for Express Entry.
Step 4: Apply for immigration if you receive an ITA.
You will be informed about the program and the next steps if you acquire an ITA. The system automatically invites applicants to apply for PNP, CEC, FSWP, and finally Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).
IRCC will demand proof of your Express Entry profile information. Officers will compare your application to your profile. They may reject your application, find you inadmissible, or bar you from reapplying for five years if they detect fraudulent or missing facts.
By declining an invitation, you return to the Express Entry candidate pool and may be invited again if you are still eligible. There is no guarantee that you will be invited to reapply, but you can increase your chances by improving your Express Entry profile or your CRS score.
Other ways to immigrate
PNP is a major immigration initiative. The Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024 plans to admit around 80,000 PNP candidates annually. Also, IRCC continues to hold biweekly Express Entry draws for PNP candidates.
You may be encouraged to submit for a provincial nomination if you are already in the Express Entry pool. To apply for immigration as a PNP candidate, you must first be nominated.