Federal Skilled Worker Minimum Eligibility via Express Entry

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Federal Skilled Worker is one of the three programs managed through Express Entry, Canada’s online application system for skilled workers. The other two are the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class.

Skilled workers who are non-Canadian citizens have the opportunity to become Canadian permanent residents based on their educational background, skills, and work experience as well as knowledge of languages such as either or both English and French. Such factors enable immigrants to succeed in Canada.

Express Entry was introduced in 2015 and is the first step in immigrating to Canada permanently as a skilled worker. Applicants who have received an invitation from Canadian authorities will then be able to continue with the second and subsequent steps in their immigration to Canada.

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Table of Contents

Minimum Requirements

The Federal Skilled Worker program has minimum requirements for:

  • Skilled work experience: your proven experience with your skill in past and current workplace
  • Language ability: your level of language proficiency as measured by authorized testing procedures
  • Education: your educational attainment.
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You must meet all the minimum requirements above to be eligible to move forward with your application.

Selection Factors

If you meet all the minimum requirements, the Canadian government will then assess your application based on your:

  • Age (generally more favorable if you are below 40 years old)
  • Education (having studied in Canada or has a degree recognized by the Canadian education system is advantageous)
  • Work experience (having work experience related to the National Occupational Classification is beneficial)
  • Whether you have a valid job offer (if an employer has offered you a position in Canada)
  • English and French language skills (if you passed necessary English language skills)
  • Adaptability (how well you’re likely to settle in Canada)

These factors are part of a 100-point grid used to assess eligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. You earn points for how well you do in each of the six factors. The current pass mark is 67 points.

Related: Calculate your points from the six selection factors.

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The selection factor points are used to assess your eligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Once your application is received and processed by Express Entry, your profile will then be in the Express Entry pool. A different system will then be used to rank your profile. The highest-ranking candidates from the pool will be selected and invited to apply for permanent residence. Unless an invitation has been sent out to an applicant, he or she cannot proceed to the next step.

Minimum requirements for Federal Skilled Worker applicants

1. Skilled work experience

Skilled work experience means you’ve worked in 1 of these National Occupational Classification (NOC) job groups:

  • Managerial jobs (skill type 0)
  • Professional careers (skill level A)
  • Technical jobs and skilled trades (skill level B)

It is essential that an applicant needs to show that while working in his or her primary occupation, he or she has performed the duties set out in the first statement of the occupational description in the NOC. This includes all the essential duties and most of the primary functions listed.

Your skilled work experience must be:

  • in the same type of job (have the same NOC) as the job you want to use for your immigration application (called your primary occupation)
  • within the last ten years
  • paid work (This means you must have been paid wages or earned commission. Volunteer work or unpaid internships don’t count.)
  • At least one year of continuous work or 1,560 hours total (30 hours per week). You can meet this in a few different ways:
    • full-time at 1 job: 30 hours/week for 12 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)
      equal amount in part-time: 15 hours/week for 24 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)
    • full-time at more than one job: 30 hours/week for 12 months at more than one job = one-year full time (1,560 hours)
    • For part-time work, you can work more or less than 15 hours/week as long as it adds up to 1,560 hours.

Any hours you work above 30 hours/week is not counted.

2. Language ability

An applicant must:

  • take approved language tests in English or French for:
    • writing
    • reading
    • listening
    • speaking
  • get a minimum score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in all four abilities
  • enter the test results in your Express Entry profile

Language test results are valid for two years after the date of the test result. They must be valid on the day applicants submit their application for permanent residence.

3. Education

If an applicant went to school in Canada, he or she must furnish a certificate, diploma, or degree from a Canadian:

  • secondary (high school) or
  • post-secondary school

If the applicant has acquired a foreign education, the applicant must have:

  • a completed credential, and
  • an Educational Credential Assessment report from an approved agency showing that your knowledge is equal to a completed certificate, diploma, or degree from a Canadian:
    • secondary (high school) or
    • post-secondary school

Proof of funds

Applicant must be able to demonstrate holding enough money for them and their family to settle in Canada unless they:

  • are currently able to work in Canada legally
  • have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada


Applicants must be relevant to Canada. This means they are not a security risk, not convicted of a crime or under certain medical conditions.

Where applicants can live in Canada

Applicants must plan to live outside the province of Quebec as it selects its skilled workers. If planning to settle in Quebec, see Quebec-selected skilled workers for more information.

Next steps

  • Prepare the required documents
  • Submit Express Entry application online
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