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Visa Categories Federal Skilled Trades

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) began accepting applications under the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) on January 2nd 2013.

This new category is geared at attracting more skilled tradespeople to Canada. It is not a points system but rather is a “pass/fail” system. Only certain skilled tradespeople will be able to apply (see list below). CIC will accept up to a maximum of 3,000 applications in the first year of the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

The program criteria are built around four requirements that ensure applicants will have the right skills and experience needed to succeed in Canada. In order to qualify, applicants will need to:

  1. Have the required level of language proficiency in English or French
    • Original language test results will need to be provided.
    • A Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5 will be required for Speaking and Listening and a CLB of 4 is required for Reading and Writing.
    • If an applicant takes the IELTS then they must get 5.0 in both Speaking and Listening and 3.5 in Reading and 4.0 in Writing.
    • If an applicant takes the CELPIP exam (only available in Canada) then they must get 3L in both Speaking and Listening and 2H in both Reading and Writing.
  2. Have at least two years of full-time paid work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work, in a skilled trade occupation within the last five years, after becoming qualified to independently practice that occupation
  3. Meet the relevant employment requirements for their skilled trade occupation as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), except for the requirement to obtain a certificate of qualification issued by a competent provincial authority
  4. Have an offer of employment (from up to 2 employers) for continuous full-time work for a total period of at least one year in that skilled trade occupation OR hold a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade from a Canadian provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority.
    • A qualifying offer of employment usually means that an employer will have to have been issued with a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). If an applicant is already in Canada with a valid work permit and they have an offer of continuous full-time employment from their employer then this should also qualify them.
    • To get a Certificate of Qualification an applicant must first be assessed by an Apprenticeship Authority and then write an exam in Canada. Requirements can vary from province to province so this can be quite challenging.

Eligible Occupations

There are 43 occupations eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Program. 17 occupations (Group A) will be subject to sub-limits of 100 applications each but there will be no limit on the other 26 in-demand occupations (Group B). Applications are expected to be processed within 12 months.

Group A includes 17 jobs with a moderate labour market need. Group B includes 26 in-demand jobs. In total, 43 jobs will be eligible to apply under the Federal Skilled Trades program in the first year of the program.

The caps apply whether or not people have a qualifying offer of employment or a certificate of qualification from a provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority.

Group A – Jobs with sub-caps of 100 applications each:
  • Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
  • Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
  • Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
  • Carpenters
  • Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
  • Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
  • Supervisors, logging and forestry
  • Supervisors, mining and quarrying
  • Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
  • Logging machinery operators
  • Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
  • Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
  • Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
  • Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
  • Power engineers and power systems operators
  • Water and waste treatment plant operators
Group B – no sub-caps:
  • Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
  • Ironworkers
  • Welders and related machine operators
  • Electricians (except industrial and power system)
  • Industrial electricians
  • Power system electricians
  • Electrical power line and cable workers
  • Telecommunications line and cable workers
  • Telecommunications installation and repair workers
  • Plumbers
  • Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
  • Gas fitters
  • Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
  • Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
  • Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
  • Railway carmen/women
  • Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
  • Elevator constructors and mechanics
  • Crane operators
  • Drillers and blasters - surface, mining, quarrying and construction
  • Water well drillers
  • Underground production and development miners
  • Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
  • Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators

Contact Canadian Visa Specialists at to see if you qualify to submit an application under the new Federal Skilled Trades Class.

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