Who Qualifies for Canada Immigration Through The Federal Skilled Worker Program?

The Federal Skilled Worker Program, which comes under the Express Entry system, allows qualified foreign nationals from all over the world to immigrate to Canada.

The program seeks to select candidates with the highest probability of successfully settling in Canada.

It is one of two main federal programs for skilled workers under Express Entry, alongside the Canadian Experience Class.

Under Express Entry, candidates across 370 eligible occupations who meet minimum entry criteria can submit a profile to the Express Entry Pool.

The profiles of candidates in the pool are ranked under a Comprehensive Ranking System. The highest-ranked candidates receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

Candidates receiving an invitation must submit a full application within 60 days.

Candidates who qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program meet education, work experience, age and official language requirements.

To qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, applicants must meet the following conditions:

  1. Possess one-year of continuous full-time paid work experience or the equivalent in part-time continuous employment within the previous 10 years in one of 370 eligible occupations listed under the applicable National Occupational Classification system; AND
  2. The work experience must be classified within TEER categories 0 (management occupations), 1 (occupations that usually require a university degree), 2 (occupations that require a college diploma, apprenticeship training of 2 or more years, or are supervisory) or 3 (occupations that require a college diploma, apprenticeship training of less than 2 years, or more than 6 months of on-the-job training) of the National Occupational Classification; AND
  3. Score sufficient points under the skilled worker point grid comprising six selection factors;
  4. Undergo language testing from a recognized third party and demonstrate intermediate level language skills in English or French corresponding to the Canadian Language Benchmark of 7)
  5. Possess suitable settlement funding;
  6. Undergo a successful security background and medical examination.

Qualified applicants are evaluated against six factors to determine their eligibility for immigration to Canada. Applicants must obtain a total of 67 points out of a possible 100 in order to qualify. The selection factors are:

  • Education;
  • Language;
  • Employment experience;
  • Age;
  • Arranged employment;
  • Adaptability.

Selection Factors

To be selected under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, applicants with sufficient work experience and language proficiency must score a minimum of 67 points on the skilled worker selection grid.

Points are allocated for education, language, employment experience, age, arranged Canadian employment and adaptability.

Education – Maximum of 25 points

The maximum number of points awarded for education is 25, with maximum points awarded to applicants with doctoral degrees. Foreign credentials will be evaluated by a designated third party to determine their Canadian equivalent.

Language – Minimum threshold of 16 points, Maximum of 28 points

Only applicants capable of demonstrating an intermediate to high level proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages, English or French, will be considered. Applicants who meet the minimum threshold must score at least 16 points under this selection factor. Higher language proficiency can lead to a score of up to 24 points.

A further 4 points are available for a second official language.

Employment Experience – Minimum of 9 points, Maximum of 15 points

The program requires a minimum of one year of work experience in an eligible occupation to qualify and the maximum consideration is six years.

Age – Maximum of 12 points

Up to 12 points will be allotted to candidates between the ages of 18 and 35 years. Each year above the age of 35 will reduce the allocation by one, with no points being awarded as of age 47.

Arranged Employment – 0 or 10 points

Points are allotted to individuals with a validated offer of employment in Canada. Candidates require a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment for their job offer to qualify.

A candidate’s proposed employer must demonstrate that the hiring of a foreign worker will have a neutral or positive effect on the local labour market.

Candidates with a validated employment offer will gain 10 points under this factor, and an additional 5 points in the Adaptability selection factor for a total of 15 points.

Adaptability – Maximum of 10 points

Applicants who have at least one year of full time Canadian work experience in a managerial, professional, technical or skilled trade occupation will be awarded maximum points. As mentioned above, a validated offer of employment will provide five adaptability points. Other considerations awarding points under this selection factor include: A close adult relative living in Canada; Applicant or spouse has studied in Canada; Spouse has previous Canadian work experience; Spouse has knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages.

Skilled Worker Selection Grid

Factor Score Final
(Canadian equivalence established by a designated third party)
Doctorate 25
Master’s or professional degree 23
Two or more post-secondary degrees, of which one is three years or longer 22
A three year or longer post-secondary degree 21
A two-year post-secondary diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship 19
A one-year post-secondary diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship 15
Secondary School Educational Credential 5
LANGUAGE (Abilities: Speak, Read, Write, Listen) Max. 28
1st Lang Very high proficiency (per ability) (CLB 9) 6
High proficiency (per ability) (CLB 8) 5
Intermediate proficiency (per ability) (CLB 7)*
*Minimum threshold required to apply
Basic or no proficiency 0
Possible maximum (all four abilities) 24
2nd Lang Basic proficiency or higher (per ability) 1
No proficiency 0
Possible maximum (all four abilities) 4
EXPERIENCE (NOC TEER Level 0, 1, 2 or 3) Max. 15
One year*
*Minimum threshold required to apply
Two to three years 11
Four to five years 13
Six years or more 15
AGE Max. 12
18 to 35 years 12
36 years 11
Less one point per year until 47 years
LMIA-confirmed permanent offer of employment 10
Applicants from within Canada holding a temporary work permit that is:
  • Validated by ESDC, including sectoral confirmations
  • Exempt from ESDC validation under international agreements (eg CUSMA)
Applicant has a minimum of one year skilled Work experience in Canada 10
Applicant has previously studied in Canada 5
Spouse has previously studied in Canada 5
Spouse has previously worked in Canada 5
Family relation over the age of 18 in Canada 5
Arranged employment 5
Spouse is proficient in an official language 5
Total 100