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The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program

The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is an extremely popular Canadian immigration program. The FSW program DOES NOT require a Canadian job offer or a relative in Canada and results in Canadian Permanent Residency.

The FSW program uses a points-based system to determine eligibility. Points are given in categories such as age, work experience, language proficiency, education and adaptability. Applicants need 67 points to be eligible.

Recent History of the Federal Skilled Worker Program

In 2010 and 2011, there was an eligible occupation list. Only candidates who met the point requirement (67) and had one year of experience in a listed occupation were eligible. There was also a quota/cap of total applications accepted. In 2010, several occupations reached their cap. In 2011, applicants had learned to begin preparing in advance and the most popular occupation, NOC 1122- professional occupations in business services to management, reached its limit in a matter of days.

By May 2012, the 2011 FSW program had reached its global cap/limit for the year (10,000 applications received). Applicants were optimistic that the program would re-open again in July. Many applicants began preparing documents and taking language tests in advance. In late June, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that there would be freeze on the acceptance of Federal Skilled Worker applications. People around the world waited for the new program to be announced.

New Federal Skilled Worker Program

August 18, 2012; The government announced the new scoring system for the Federal Skilled Worker Class in the Canada Gazette. The details are available at : http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2012/2012-08-18/html/reg2-eng.html . The new program was designed with emphasis on characteristics that would allow applicants to adapt to Canadian life and work. Language proficiency, in English or French, was given more points.

Revised (2013) Federal Skilled Worker Program (View full Point Calculation breakdown)

Category Points on OLD FSW (2012) Points on New FSW (2013)
Education Maximum 25 points Maximum 25 points
Language Proficiency (English or French) Maximum 24 points Maximum 28 points
Work Experience Maximum 21 points Maximum 15 points
Age Maximum 10 points Maximum 12 points
Arranged Employment Maximum 10 points Maximum 10 points
Adaptability Maximum 10 points Maximum 10 points
Total Maximum 100 points Maximum 100 points
Pass Mark 67 points 67 points

View full Point Calculation breakdown

Minimum Requirements
Along with making a pass mark of 67 points, applicants need to meet minimum language, work and monetary requirements.

  1. Language- Requirement that applicants show an intermediate language proficiency in either English or French. Applicants need to take a language test (IELTS or CELPIP for English, or TEF for French) and show that they have a Canadian Language Benchmark of 7. Click here for Language test scores and corresponding CLB results.
  2. Work Experience- While work experience counts for fewer points under the new FSW program, and there has been no announcement of a limited list of eligible occupations, applicants still need one year of full-time skilled work experience in the last ten years. Skilled work experience includes management, professional, trade or technical occupations (0, a or b on the National Occupation Classification Database available at: http://www5.hrsdc.gc.ca/noc/english/noc/2011/Welcome.aspx. )
  3. Settlement Funds- Applicants need to show that they have enough money to support themselves and their dependants in Canada. Settlement fund requirements for the FSW program are available at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/funds.asp
  4. Mandatory Foreign Education Assessment- Applicants will be given points based on what their degree is equivalent to in Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will announce which credential evaluation organizations will be authorized to assess different foreign credentials against Canadian Education Standards early in 2013.

Federal Skilled Worker Selection System to Take Effect May 4, 2013

On December 19, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced that the much anticipated Federal Skilled Worker Program will begin accepting applications on May 4, 2013 under the new selection system. The government also announced that only a fixed or limited number of applications would be reviewed and that this will allow applications to be processed in a few months.

The announcement can be viewed at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2012/2012-12-19.asp

Taking Steps Now to Succeed in May

This program will have a quota and that quota may be reached quickly. To increase the likelihood of successfully applying to the FSW program, applicants can begin collecting documents and taking language tests in advance.