What is Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker Programme?

Are you considering a move to Canada but aren’t sure about how their “points system” works, or whether you would be illegible for the program? This article outlines the process of applying and how applications are scored.

Canada was the first country to implement an objective points system as a way to welcome skilled immigrants to their land. This system was established in 1967 and has since been adopted by other countries, like Australia and New Zealand. Prior to this, immigration decisions were made on subjective factors such as country of origin. Canada did away with this system and launched the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), which looks at objective factors to determine if an immigrant will be well-placed to succeed in the Canadian job market. Some object factors taken into account are; age, education levels, language skills and work experience. Government research shows that FSWP immigrants tend to be highly successful in their careers in Canada, which is proof that the program is working well.

Canada’s 2021 – 2023 Immigration Levels Plan aims to welcome over 400 000 new immigrants per year. 110 000 of these immigrants will arrive through Express Entry each year. Express Entry is the application management system for the FSWP and has been in place since 2015.

FSWP Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for this program you need to meet the minimum criteria for work experience, language ability and education. You must also score a minimum of 67 out of 100 points.

Work Experience

Within the previous ten years, you need to have had at least one year of continuous, full-time, paid work experience (or part time equivalent hours). This work experience has to be skilled and fall under the National Occupation Classification (NOC) skill level 0,A or B.

NOC 0 – Managerial
NOC A – typically requires university education
NOC B – Skilled trades

Language Test

You will need to pass a English/and or French language test that is designated by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)


You will need to obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), which proves that your foreign education is equivalent to Canadian Standards.

FSWP Points grid

You will need to score a minimum of 67 points out of a possible 100 on the FSWP grid. The FSWP points are allocated as below;

Education – Potential score of up to 25 points
Language Skills – Potential score of up to 28 points
Work Experience – Potential score of up to 15 points
Age – Potential score of up to 12 points
Arranged Employment – Potential score of up to 10 points
Adaptability – Potential score of up to 10 points

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