Federal Skilled Trades Program
Federal Skilled Trades Program
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Your Guide to Applying for Canada's Federal Skilled Trades Program (Express Entry)

Are you a skilled tradesperson interested in immigrating to Canada? The Federal Skilled Trades Program may be the ideal pathway for you. This program, managed through the Express Entry system, offers a fast-track route for qualified tradespeople to gain permanent residence in Canada. 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about the Federal Skilled Trades Program - from eligibility requirements to processing times and costs. You'll learn how to maximize your profile score, improve your chances of getting an Invitation to Apply, and successfully navigate the application process.

Whether you work as a carpenter, welder, industrial mechanic, or another designated trade, this program could help you leverage your skills and experience to start a new life in Canada. Read on to determine if it's the right immigration path for you.

Overview of the Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades Program targets workers with experience in eligible skilled trades occupations to help fill labor market needs in Canada. It is one of three federal economic immigration programs managed through Express Entry, along with the Federal Skilled Worker Program and Canadian Experience Class.

To immigrate through this program, you must meet the eligibility criteria and enter the Express Entry pool. The highest-ranking candidates will receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. With Express Entry processing times as fast as 6 months, this program offers a quick pathway to Canadian immigration compared to other routes.

Let's explore the key requirements and process to apply to the Federal Skilled Trades Program:

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades Program, you must:

  • Have work experience in a skilled trade occupation within the last 5 years: At least 2 years of full-time work experience (or equivalent part-time) is required. Your trade must be listed as an eligible occupation.
  • Meet minimum language levels: You'll need CLB level 5 in English or French in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
  • Have an offer of employment (optional): While not required, having a valid job offer from a Canadian employer can significantly improve your ranking and chances of being invited. 
  • Obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) showing your foreign credentials are valid in Canada (if applicable).
  • Pass criminality and health checks.

This federal skilled trades program has a few key advantages over other Canadian immigration programs:

  • No job offer required: You can qualify based on skilled trade work experience alone. 
  • Higher points for a job offer: A verified offer of employment boosts your score compared to other Express Entry categories.
  • Priority ranking: Candidates with job offers may be prioritized for invitations in future draws.

By meeting the eligibility criteria, you can submit an Express Entry profile and enter the pool of candidates for skilled immigration to Canada. Those with the highest scores will get an Invitation to Apply in regular invitation rounds.

Express Entry Ranking: How Your Score is Calculated 

Under Express Entry, candidates are ranked based on a points-based Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Your core factors like age, education, work experience, and language ability are used to calculate a score out of 100.

Those with the most points will get invited from the pool. Here's how the CRS works:

  • Core factors: Worth up to 600 points based on factors like age, education, language, and skilled work experience.
  • Spouse points: You can earn additional points if your spouse/partner meets criteria.
  • Skill transferability: Up to 100 points may be awarded if your skills likely transfer well to Canada's job market.
  • Additional points: Having a sibling in Canada, previous study in Canada, a provincial nomination, or a valid job offer can each add more points.

The Federal Skilled Trades cut-off threshold tends to be around 75 points currently. That means you'll generally need a score of at least 75 to have a chance of being invited from the pool.

Maximizing your CRS score is crucial. Factors like pursuing stronger English language proficiency, getting assessed by a provincial program, or obtaining a qualified Canadian job offer can all help improve your ranking.

With a high enough score, you'll be selected from the pool during the next Express Entry invitation round and can then submit a complete application for Canadian permanent residence.

Application Process Overview

If invited, you'll have 90 days to submit your electronic application for permanent residence in Canada. Here are the main steps:

1. Gather your documents: Have items like passports, proof of work experience, police certificates, and medical exams ready in advance.

2. Start application: Use your personal reference code to access the online portal and complete all sections.

3. Submit all documentation: Upload scanned copies of all required documents to support your application. 

4. Await processing: The IRCC will review your file, conduct background checks, and make a final decision (approval/refusal). 

5. Enter Canada: Once approved, you'll be issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence allowing you to move and work in Canada.

To avoid refusal, closely follow IRCC instructions and submit a complete and accurate application. Providing fraudulent information can lead to serious consequences. Hiring an authorized immigration consultant can also help you prepare a strong application.

Processing Timelines

Due to the streamlined Express Entry process, the Federal Skilled Trades Program offers relatively fast processing compared to other Canadian immigration programs. 

Current processing times are:

  • 80% of complete applications processed within 6 months
  • 95% of complete applications processed within 12 months

So you could get approved for permanent residence within 6 months of your invitation in many cases. However, your individual timeline depends on factors like:

  • Application completeness: Incomplete applications take longer.
  • Requested documents: If the IRCC requests more information, it adds time.
  • Medical/security checks: Delays can happen if the IRCC awaits third-party documents.
  • Application errors: Mistakes can lead to longer processing or even refusal. 

Overall, most routine applications for this federal skilled trades program are processed well within a year. You'll receive updates on your application status throughout the process.

Costs and Fees 

What are the costs involved in applying through the Federal Skilled Trades Program? Here are the main expenses to budget for:

  • Express Entry fee: $550 CAD to enter and maintain profile in pool 
  • Right of permanent residence fee: $1,325 CAD if invited to apply
  • Medical exam: Around $200-$300 CAD per person 
  • Police certificates: Varies based on country fees 
  • Translations: If documents aren't in English/French
  • Credential evaluation: Around $150+ for ECA report
  • Travel costs: Airline tickets, shipping household goods, etc.
  • Immigration assistance: Lawyer/consultant fees if hiring one 

In total, costs for a family of 3 could amount to around $5,000 - $7,500+ CAD. Some expenses like medical exams and credential assessments are crucial for meeting eligibility requirements.

The Federal Skilled Trades Program offers an excellent opportunity for qualified tradespeople to achieve their Canadian dreams. This Express Entry-linked pathway recognizes the strong demand across Canada for skilled trade talent in sectors like construction, mechanics, industrial manufacturing, and natural resources. 

If you have the required recent work experience as a welder, electrician, machinist, cook, automotive service technician, or other designated skilled trade, consider applying to this federal skilled trades program. With fast processing times, you could transition from temporary worker to permanent resident within months.

Read these FAQs

What are the eligible skilled trades under this program?

Eligible occupations include industrial, electrical, and construction trades such as welders, heavy-duty mechanics, pipefitters, carpenters, and industrial electricians. The full NOC Skill Type B list can be checked on IRCC

Can I apply without a job offer from an employer?

Yes, a valid job offer is not mandatory under this program. However, having one improves ranking.

What language tests can I provide for proof of proficiency?

Accepted language tests are IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF Canada. Test results can

What are the education requirements?

There are no mandatory education requirements. But you must get an ECA report for any trades training/credentials completed outside Canada.

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