Canadian Federal Skilled Trades Program

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The Federal Skilled Trades Program is an immigration program in Canada that applicants with certain trade skills to apply through the Express Entry system. The other federal programs that are managed through Express Entry are the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class.


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Canada needs immigrants with qualified trade skills in various industries such as construction, agriculture, and mining. Such skills are crucial in contributing to Canada’s economy.

Trade skill worker. Photo credit: mkarach0/Pixabay

Minimum qualifications and requirements:

Applicants who wish to immigrate to Canada through Federal Skilled Trades Program must be able to meet the following requirements:

  • Work experience: at least 2 years of full-time (or equivalent amount of part-time) in a qualified skilled trade within the five years before the application
  • Qualification: meet the basic requirements for the skilled trade as defined under the National Occupational Classification
  • Valid job offer: The applicant must have received a full-time job offer for a total period of not less than one year. If not, the applicant must have a certificate of qualification issued by a Canadian federal or provincial authority.
  • Language: The applicant must be able to meet minimum language levels for writing, reading, listening and speaking.

Skilled work experience

Eligible skills for this Program are organized in the following categories under the National Occupational Classification (all in Type B skill type).

Applicants must be able to show proof that he or she has performed such duties set out in the lead statement of the occupational description in the NOC. This includes all the essential duties and most of the main duties listed. If the applicant fails to do so, his or her application will not be accepted.

Major Group 72 – Industrial, electrical and construction trades

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Minor Group 720 – Contractors and supervisors, industrial, electrical and construction trades and related workers

  • 7201 Contractors and supervisors, machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades and related occupations
  • 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
  • 7203 Contractors and supervisors, pipefitting trades
  • 7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
  • 7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers

Minor Group 723 – Machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades

  • 7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
  • 7232 Tool and die makers
  • 7233 Sheet metal workers
  • 7234 Boilermakers
  • 7235 Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
  • 7236 Ironworkers
  • 7237 Welders and related machine operators

Minor Group 724 – Electrical trades and electrical power line and telecommunications workers

  • 7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
  • 7242 Industrial electricians
  • 7243 Power system electricians
  • 7244 Electrical power line and cable workers
  • 7245 Telecommunications line and cable workers
  • 7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers
  • 7247 Cable television service and maintenance technicians

Minor Group 725 – Plumbers, pipefitters and gas fitters

  • 7251 Plumbers
  • 7252 Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
  • 7253 Gasfitters
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Minor Group 727 – Carpenters and cabinetmakers

  • 7271 Carpenters
  • 7272 Cabinetmakers

Minor Group 728 – Masonry and plastering trades

  • 7281 Bricklayers
  • 7282 Concrete finishers
  • 7283 Tilesetters
  • 7284 Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers and lathers

Minor Group 729 – Other construction trades

  • 7291 Roofers and shinglers
  • 7292 Glaziers
  • 7293 Insulators
  • 7294 Painters and decorators (except interior decorators)
  • 7295 Floor covering installers

Major Group 73 – Maintenance and equipment operation trades

Minor Group 730 – Contractors and supervisors, maintenance trades and heavy equipment and transport operators

  • 7301 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
  • 7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
  • 7303 Supervisors, printing and related occupations
  • 7304 Supervisors, railway transport operations
  • 7305 Supervisors, motor transport and other ground transit operators

Minor Group 731 – Machinery and transportation equipment mechanics (except motor vehicle)

  • 7311 Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
  • 7312 Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
  • 7313 Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
  • 7314 Railway carmen/women
  • 7315 Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
  • 7316 Machine fitters
  • 7318 Elevator constructors and mechanics

Minor Group 732 – Automotive service technicians

  • 7321 Automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics and mechanical repairers
  • 7322 Motor vehicle body repairers

Minor Group 733 – Other mechanics and related repairers

  • 7331 Oil and solid fuel heating mechanics
  • 7332 Appliance servicers and repairers
  • 7333 Electrical mechanics
  • 7334 Motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, and other related mechanics
  • 7335 Other small engine and small equipment repairers

Minor Group 736 – Traincrew operating occupations

  • 7361 Railway and yard locomotive engineers
  • 7362 Railway conductors and brakemen/women

Minor Group 737 – Crane operators, drillers and blasters

  • 7371 Crane operators
  • 7372 Drillers and blasters – surface mining, quarrying and construction
  • 7373 Water well drillers

Minor Group 738 – Printing press operators and other trades and related occupations, n.e.c.

  • 7381 Printing press operators
  • 7384 Other trades and related occupations, n.e.c.

Major Group 82 – Supervisors and technical occupations in natural resources, agriculture, and related production

Minor Group 821 – Supervisors, logging and forestry

  • 8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry

Minor Group 822 – Contractors and supervisors, mining, oil and gas

  • 8221 Supervisors, mining and quarrying
  • 8222 Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling and services

Minor Group 823 – Underground miners, oil and gas drillers and related occupations

  • 8231 Underground production and development miners
  • 8232 Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers

Minor Group 824 – Logging machinery operators

  • 8241 Logging machinery operators

Minor Group 825 – Contractors and supervisors, agriculture, horticulture, and related operations and services

  • 8252 Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors, and specialized livestock workers
  • 8255 Contractors and supervisors, landscaping, grounds maintenance and horticulture services

Minor Group 826 – Fishing vessel masters and fishermen/women

  • 8261 Fishing masters and officers
  • 8262 Fishermen/women

Major Group 92 – Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators

Minor Group 632 – Chefs and cooks

  • 6321 Chefs
  • 6322 Cooks

Minor Group 633 – Butchers and bakers

  • 6331 Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers – retail and wholesale
  • 6332 Bakers

Minor Group 921 – Supervisors, processing and manufacturing occupations

  • 9211 Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
  • 9212 Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
  • 9213 Supervisors, food, beverage and associated products processing
  • 9214 Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
  • 9215 Supervisors, forest products processing
  • 9217 Supervisors, textile, fabric, fur and leather products processing and manufacturing

Minor Group 922 – Supervisors, assembly and fabrication

  • 9221 Supervisors, motor vehicle assembling
  • 9222 Supervisors, electronics manufacturing
  • 9223 Supervisors, electrical products manufacturing
  • 9224 Supervisors, furniture and fixtures manufacturing
  • 9226 Supervisors, other mechanical and metal products manufacturing
  • 9227 Supervisors, other products manufacturing and assembly

Minor Group 923 – Central control and process operators in processing and manufacturing

  • 9231 Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
  • 9232 Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators
  • 9235 Pulping, papermaking and coating control operators

Minor Group 924 – Utilities equipment operators and controllers

  • 9241 Power engineers and power systems operators
  • 9243 Water and waste treatment plant operators

Federal Skilled Trades Program applications must be made based on the 2016 version of the NOC.

Educational qualification

One advantage of the Federal Skilled Trades Program is that it does not require an educational credential. However, since Express Entry, the system in which Federal Skilled Trades Program applicants will submit to awards points to certain educational attainment.

It is therefore advisable to get a foreign-acquired education credential to be assessed and submitted to increase points and improve ranking. There are two ways to do this:

  • If an applicant went to school in Canada, he or she can get points for a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary school
  • If the applicant was educated outside of Canada, he or she can get points for:
    • a completed foreign diploma, degree, or trade or apprenticeship credential issued for completing a program of study or training at a recognized educational or training institution, and
    • an Educational Credential Assessment report from an approved agency showing that the education background is equal to a completed certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary school.

Language ability

Applicants must be able to meet certain language skills to be eligible for this Program.

  • He or she meets the minimum score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for speaking and listening, and the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 for reading and writing
  • Applicant must take approved language tests for writing, reading, listening and speaking
  • Applicant must enter language test results in the Express Entry profile he or she will create

Language tests are valid for two years after the date of the test result. Such results must be valid on the day an applicant applies for permanent residence.


Applicable must not be inadmissible into Canada. According to Canadian laws, a permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on security grounds for engaging in an act of espionage that’s against Canada, terrorism, acts of violence or generally viewed as a general danger to the security of Canada.

Where applicants plan to live in Canada

Applicants using this immigration program must plan to live outside the province of Quebec since the province selects its skilled workers. Those who wish to live in Quebec should see Quebec-selected skilled workers for more information.

Skill assessment by province or territory

An applicant will likely have to go to the province or territory to be assessed for his or her trade skills. He or she may also need an employer in Canada to give the necessary experience and training.

Depending on where in Canada he or she plans to live and work, the applicant should visit the website of the institution that governs trades for the province/territory where he or she would plan to settle. The process is different depending on each province or territory.

Each website contains details about certificates of qualification to work in that province or territory in a specific skilled trade, and what the applicants need to do or prepare to get one.

If an applicant’s trade skill is not regulated by a province or territory such as elevator technicians and aircraft mechanics, it may be federally regulated. Visit the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials website to determine the appropriate regulating body.

Next step

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