Federal Skilled Workers


 The FSW category is prescribed as a class of persons who are skilled workers, who may become permanent residents on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada, and who intend to reside in a province other than Quebec.

  • Minimum Requirements
  • Language Ability
  • Education
  • Six selection factors
  • Proof of funds
  • Principal applicant
  • Other requirements
  • Family Members of Skilled Workers
  • Refusal of Application

Minimum Requirements

Skilled work experience

Your work experience must be:

  • at least one year (1,560 hours total / 30 hours per week), continuous full-time or an equal amount in part-time,
  • paid work (volunteer work, unpaid internships do not count),
  • in the same NOC skill type (0, A or B) ,
  • within the last 10 years, and
  • at skill type 0, or skill levels A or B of the 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Full Time

30 hours/week for 12 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)

Part time

15 hours/week for 24 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)
30 hours/week for 12 months at more than one job = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)

Language Ability

You must take a language test approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that shows you meet the level for speaking, listening, reading and writing.

You must meet the minimum level of

  • CLB 7 (English) or NCLC 7 (French) for your first official language in all four language abilities. 

To get points for your second official language, you must meet the minimum level of CLB 5 in all four language abilities.


You must have:

  • a Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree,


  • a completed foreign credential, and
  • an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from an agency approved by CIC. [The report must show your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree.]

Six selection factors

 If you meet all the conditions set out in the minimum requirements, we will assess your application based on the selection factors in the federal skilled worker points grid.

The selection factors are:

  • your skills in English and/or French (Canada’s two official languages),
  • your education,
  • your work experience,
  • your age,
  • whether you have a valid job offer, and
  • your adaptability (how well you are likely to settle here).

Proof of funds

You must show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada, unless you:

  • are currently able to legally work in Canada, and
  • have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada.

Principal applicant

If you are married or live with a common-law foreign national partner in Canada, and that person also meets the above conditions, you can decide which one of you will apply under Express Entry as a principal applicant.

A common-law partner is a person who has lived with you in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. Common-law partner refers to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

Look at each selection factor and see which one of you is most likely to meet the eligibility requirements and earn the most points. That person should apply as the principal applicant.

 Other requirements

  1. You must be admissible to Canada. 
  2. You must plan to live outside the province of Quebec.

Family Members of Skilled Workers

The definition of Family Members in this category is the spouse or common-law partner of the principal applicant and his/her dependent child/children.

Note: The age of accompanying dependent children is locked in on the date of application, but dependence is not. If a child is under the age of 19 on the date of application but 19 years of age or older when the visa is issued, they may still be included as part of the parent’s application as an accompanying dependent, if they are still not married or not in a common-law relationship or, if they are dependent pursuant to R2(b)(ii).

A child who is 19 years of age or older and who is considered a dependant child on the date of application, i.e. financially dependent due to full-time study or physical or mental condition, must still meet the requirements of these provisions at the time of visa issuance in order to be included in the parent’s application.

All family members, accompanying or not, are required to be examined unless a properly delegated officer decides otherwise. Normally, any inadmissible family member would render the principal applicant inadmissible as well. There are, however, two exceptions to this rule. The first is the separated spouse of the applicant. The second is when the applicant or an accompanying family member does not have legal custody of their dependent child or when they are not empowered to act on behalf of that child, by virtue of a court order or written agreement or by operation of law. If an applicant‘s separated spouse or the applicant‘s children who are in the custody of someone else are inadmissible, their inadmissibility would not render the applicant inadmissible. Because separated spouses can reconcile and custody arrangements for children can change, examination is required in order to safeguard the future right to sponsor them in the family class. If these family members are not examined, they cannot be sponsored in the Family Class in the future under R117(9)(d). Family members can be added to the application at any time during the process, including after the visa is issued but prior to obtaining permanent resident status. Applicants should be counselled to inform the visa office immediately if their family composition has changed.

To include adopted children, spouses, or common-law partners as accompanying family members, R4 requires that the relationship must be genuine or not one entered into primarily for immigration purposes. If family members are added to the application during processing, they must be screened for inadmissibility before any permanent resident visa is issued.

Lock-in age of dependent children

The lock-in of age for dependent children is the day CPC-M receives a completed application

and correct processing fees. Dependent children must be less than 19 years of age when the sponsorship application is received. 

Under 19 years means up to and including the last day before the dependent child’s 19th birthday. 

Offices must date-stamp application forms as soon as they are received.

Refusal of Application

If the application has been refused, the applicant can file a Judicial Review in Canada for re-consideration. See Refused Application.

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