Determine your eligibility – Skilled trades

You can apply to this program through Express Entry.

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is for people who want to become permanent residents, based on being qualified in a skilled trade.

Minimum requirements

To be eligible, you must

  • Plan to live outside the province of Quebec (Note: The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers. If you plan on living in Quebec, see Quebec-selected skilled workers for more information)
  • Meet the required levels in English or French for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing and listening)
  • Have at least 2 years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience)Footnote * in a skilled trade within the 5 years before you apply
  • Meet the job requirements for that skilled trade, as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) of your primary occupation, except for needing a certificate of qualification
  • Have an offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least 1 yearFootnote ** or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority.Footnote ***

Skilled work experience

Skilled trades that are currently eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Program are organized under these major and minor groups of the NOC:

  • major group 72: industrial, electrical and construction workers
  • major group 73: maintenance and equipment operation workers
  • major group 82: supervisors and technical workers in natural resources, agriculture and related production
  • major group 92: processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators
  • minor group 632: chefs and cooks
  • minor group 633: butchers and bakers

These major NOC groups are subdivided into different occupations (all are NOC skill type B).

You must show that you did the duties set out in the lead statement of the occupational description of the NOC, including all the listed essential duties and most of the main duties.

If you do not show that your experience meets the description of the NOC, we will not accept your application. Find out the NOC code, title and skill type or level of your job.

Federal Skilled Trades Program applications must be based on the 2016 version of the NOC. However, if an application includes a Labour Market Impact Assessment (previously Labour Market Opinion or LMO) from Employment and Social Development Canada, based on the 2011 version of the NOC, we will accept, it as long as your occupation corresponds to a 2016 NOC code that is eligible for the program.

What counts as work experience

Work experience in a trade can only count if you are qualified to independently practise that trade in the region where you got your work experience.

If you are qualified in 1 country, you might work in another country that has different rules for practising your trade. In that case, the work experience from the second country will only count toward the 2‑year work experience requirement if you also met the requirements to practise independently in that second country.

For example, if you are a plumber from Germany, and you worked for 1 year in Poland, you need to prove that you were certified to be a plumber in Germany and that you were qualified at the time to work in Poland, according to Polish regulations, for this work experience to count.

Education

There is no education requirement for the Federal Skilled Trades Program. But, if you want to earn points for your education under Express Entry, you need either

Note: The report must show your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree. You will only benefit from getting an ECA if your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian high school diploma or greater.

Language ability

You must

  • Meet the minimum language level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for speaking and listening and CLB 4 for reading and writing
  • Take a language test approved by Immgration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that shows you meet the level for speaking, listening, reading and writing

You must show that you meet the language requirements in English or French by including your test results when you complete your Express Entry profile. Your test results must not be more than 2 years old on the day you apply for permanent residence.

Principal applicant

If you are married or live with a common-law partner who also meets the above conditions, you can decide which of you will apply under Express Entry, as the principal (main) applicant.

A common-law partner is a person who has lived with you in a conjugal relationship for at least 1 year. Common-law partner refers to both different-gender and same-gender couples.

Check to see which of you is most likely to be found eligible. That person should apply as the principal applicant.

Other requirements

You must be admissible to Canada. Find out more about inadmissibility.

You must plan to live outside the province of Quebec.

Be assessed by a province or territory

You will likely have to go to a specific province or territory to be assessed. You may also need an employer in Canada to give you experience and training.

You should go to the website of the body that governs trades for the province or territory where you would like to live and work. The process is different, depending on where you want to go.

Each website has more details about whether or not you need a certificate of qualification to work in that province or territory in a specific skilled trade and what you have to do to get a certificate.

If your trade is not regulated by a province or territory (for example, airplane mechanic), it may be federally regulated. The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials provides information on credential assessment for all regulated trades in Canada.

If you work in a skilled trade and want to live in Canada permanently, use our Come to Canada tool to see if you are eligible for the Express Entry pool.

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