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The Federal Skilled Trades Program is for people who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade.

Note: To avoid backlogs and ensure fast processing times, we will accept no more than 3,000 complete federal skilled trade applications for processing each year (from May 4, 2013 to April 30, 2014).

Within the 3,000 cap, no more than 100 new applications for certain jobs will be considered for processing each year. There is no sub-cap for other skilled trades. See which applications we are currently accepting.

To apply, you must:

•  plan to live outside the province of Quebec (Note: The province of Quebec chooses its own skilled workers. If you plan on living in Quebec, see Quebec-selected skilled workers for more information),

•  meet the required levels in English or French for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing, and listening),

•  have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience)* in a skilled trade within the five years before you apply,

•  meet all job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), and

•  have an offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year** or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a provincial or territorial body.***

*“Full-time work” means at least 30 hours of work over a period of one week, or an equal amount in part-time, paid work experience. For example:

•  if you worked 15 hours per week in one job over four years, or

•  if you worked a total of 30 combined hours per week in more than one job over two years.

**Up to two employers can commit to employing you for at least one year of continuous full-time work, meaning at least 30 hours of work over a period of one week.

*** In Canada, only the provinces and territories can issue certificates of qualification in the skilled trades. To get this certificate, the provincial or territorial trades authority must assess your training, trade experience and skills to decide if you are eligible to write an exam to be certified. 

You will likely have to go to the province or territory to be assessed. You may also need an employer in Canada to give you experience and training.

You should go to the website of the body that governs trades for the province/territory where you would like to live and work. The process is different depending on where you want to go.

Each website has more details about whether you need a certificate of qualification to work there in a specific skilled trade, and what you have to do to get one.