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Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program

Skilled Workers are selected based on their ability to become economically established in Canada. They are processed based on their education, work experience, knowledge of English and/or French, and other criteria that have been shown to help them become economically established.

In order to be eligible, applicants are required to take and submit the results of a language proficiency tests, have a valid offer of arranged employed and/OR have one year of full-time continuous work experience in the following:

  • Skill Type 0 (managerial occupations) or Skill Level A (professional occupations) or B (technical occupations and skilled trades) on the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC) list, AND
  • within the last 10 years.

Once the above requirements are met, applications are processed using a point system with six selection factors:

  • your education
  • your abilities in English and/or French, Canada’s two official languages
  • your work experience
  • your age
  • whether you have arranged employment in Canada, and
  • your adaptability.


Effective July 1, 2011, the government further limited the number of new applications to be considered for processing (for applicants who do not have offers of employment) to 10,000 a year as of July 1st. A new sub-cap of 500 per each current occupation was to be considered.

On June 26, 2010, the Ministry of Immigration published in the Canada Gazette important changes to various immigration programs, changes that come into effect on the day of the publication:

Federal Skilled Workers – Updated Ministerial Instructions

The 3rd category from the old Ministerial Instructions has been taken out.  There will be only two categories under the Federal Skilled Worker program:

1.    Applications submitted with an Arranged Employment Offer (AEO) that meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) section  82(2).

2.    Applications submitted based on the work experience in the previous 10 years under one or more of the following National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes.  Some of the old occupations on the list have been taken out and new occupations were introduced to the list:

0631 Restaurant and Food Service Managers
0811 Primary Production Managers (Except Agriculture)
1122 Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management
1233 Insurance Adjusters and Claims Examiners
2121 Biologists and Related Scientists
2151 Architects
3111 Specialist Physicians
3112 General Practitioners and Family Physicians
3113 Dentists
3131 Pharmacists
3142 Physiotherapists
3152 Registered Nurses
3215 Medical Radiation Technologists
3222 Dental Hygienists & Dental Therapists
3233 Licensed Practical Nurses
4151 Psychologists
4152 Social Workers
6241 Chefs
6242 Cooks
7215 Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades
7216 Contractors and Supervisors, Mechanic Trades
7241 Electricians (Except Industrial & Power System)
7242 Industrial Electricians
7251 Plumbers
7265 Welders & Related Machine Operators
7312 Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics
7371 Crane Operators
7372 Drillers & Blasters ­ Surface Mining, Quarrying & Construction
8222 Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service

There are also other conditions and/or restrictions that have been introduced to this class:

1. A cap of maximum of 20 000 Federal Skilled Worker applications will be processed each year;

2. Within the 20 000 cap per year, a cap of maximum of 1 000 Federal Skilled Worker applications per National Occupation Classification (NOC) code will be considered for processing;

3. All applications will be mailed to CIO Sydney and after reaching the cap for the year, the applications will be returned, with a refund of the processing fees;

4. The first year to be considered commences on June 26, 2010 and ends on June 30, 2011. Then, the year will be calculated from July 1 to June 30.

5. The Federal Skilled Workers applications must be submitted with all the supporting documents as per visa office specifics of each country. The “simplified application” is no longer current and the full application must be submitted from the beginning

6. The work experience must be one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in at least one of the listed NOCs and not combined partial year experience in multiple NOCs;

7. Everybody must submit test results from a third-party language testing agency designated by the Minister of Citizenship as per CIC website. This include applicants whose first language is English, like those born in UK or USA.

8. All the applications received after June 26, 2010 will be evaluated according to the new criteria as above mentioned. Those that do not meet the criteria will be returned and the processing fees refunded.

9. Humanitarian and Compassionate requests for applications from outside Canada that accompany a federal skilled worker application will be assessed taking into consideration the Ministerial Instructions as stated above.

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