Determine your eligibility — Skilled trades

As of January 2015, we have a new system for people to apply to this program. It is called 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 two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience)Footnote * in a skilled trade within the five years before you apply,
  • meet the job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), except for needing a certificate of qualification, and
  • have an offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one yearFootnote ** or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial or territorial authority.Footnote ***

Skilled work experience

Skilled Trades 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 trades,
  • Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades,
  • Major Group 82, supervisors and technical jobs 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, and
  • 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 in the NOC, including all the essential duties and most of the main duties listed.

If you do not show that your experience meets the description in the NOC, we will not accept your application.

Find out the NOC code, title and skill type or level for your job.

Federal Skilled Trades Program applications must be made based on the 2011 version of the NOC. However, if the application includes a Labour Market Impact Assessment (previously Labour Market Opinion or LMO) from Employment and Social Development Canada based on the 2006 version of the NOC, it will be accepted by CIC as long as the applicant’s occupation corresponds to a 2011 NOC code that is eligible for the program.

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 either need:

Note: 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 Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 for reading and writing, and
  • 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 show that you meet the requirements in English or French by including the test results when you complete your Express Entry profile. Your test results must not be more than two 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 one 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 one year. Common-law partner refers to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

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

Other requirements

You will likely have to go to the 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/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 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 one.

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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