The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) was established to offer a Permanent Resident (PR) Visa to Canada to qualified skilled foreign tradespeople in dozens of high-demand occupations (such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers and welders). Many of these skilled trades are related to jobs in such occupation categories as:
Skilled foreign tradespeople and their eligible family members who are granted a PR Visa to Canada through the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) are authorized to live and work in Canada long-term, receive free basic healthcare (after a brief waiting period), get access to educational programs, and have the opportunity to enjoy the high standard of living that Canada is famous for. Another great benefit of being issued a PR Visa to Canada through the FSTP is the option to apply for Canadian citizenship after living in Canada as a permanent resident at least four years and meeting other criteria!
Who Can Apply for the FSTP?
In order to qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), an applicant must have a minimum of two years of full-time paid work experience during the past five years in a trade that is eligible for the FSTP. Dozens of jobs in Canada qualify for the FSTP, particularly in the construction industry, oil & gas sector, trades related to heavy machinery, and various technical fields, among many others. Currently, all of the skilled trades eligible for the FSTP will be listed under the NOC Skill Level B category in the following groups (groups 72, 73, 82 and 92 each have several specific occupations listed as eligible for the FSTP):
Skilled foreign workers will also need to meet the requirements for employment in their FSTP-eligible trade as defined by the NOC system.
Examples of some of the dozens of occupations that qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) include the following (effective January 1, 2015):
Please note that in addition to the above trades, there are many other occupations that also qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).
Furthermore, be aware that certain occupations related to trades (such as particular management occupations) may not qualify for the FSTP, but may be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) if they are classified at NOC Skill Type 0, Skill Level A or Skill Level B. For example, Construction Managers (NOC 0711) are classified as NOC Skill Type 0 (Managers) and not eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), but they do qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).
An applicant for the FSTP must be able to prove that they have acceptable English or French language abilities necessary for their particular trade (as measured by such language evaluation exams as the IELTS or TEF).
Additionally, applicants for the FSTP long-term work visa to Canada must have a qualifying Canadian job offer OR a “certificate of qualification” from one of the provinces or territories where they want to live and work in Canada.
Although an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is not a requirement for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), there is potential to receive more points toward Canadian immigration on the new "Express Entry" Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Therefore, obtaining an ECA is recommended by the Canadian government for FSTP applicants. The optional ECA is an assessment of an applicant's educational credentials (e.g., vocational training, college or university degree, etc.) to determine to what extent they compare to the education or other training received in Canada for the same or a related field or occupation.
As with each type of work visa to Canada, applicants for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) must meet health and character requirements and provide “proof of funds,” among other criteria.
Keep in mind that skilled foreign workers who want to live and work in the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec should apply for a unique Quebec immigration program known as the Quebec-Selected Skilled Workers Program.
NOTE: On January 1, 2015, Canada's government launched its new "Express Entry" system for skilled foreign workers who want to apply for a Permanent Resident (PR) Visa to Canada through the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and certain other "economic immigration" programs. A key goal of the new "Express Entry" Canadian immigration system is to speed up the approval of skilled foreign workers for a PR Visa to Canada so they can help meet the needs of Canadian businesses.