federal skilled worker program for canada

Have you been thinking about immigrating to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program but worried about how long the whole process might take? You’re not alone. The processing times for skilled worker applications are a common concern and understandably so. Going through the immigration process requires a major life commitment and you want to make sure you have a realistic timeline of what’s involved before you dive in. The good news is, Citizenship and Immigration Canada aims to process most skilled worker applications within six months. However, the actual processing time can vary quite a bit depending on various factors. This guide will walk you through what to expect at each stage of the application process and provide tips to help speed things along. By the end, you’ll have a much better sense of how long your skilled worker application might take so you can plan accordingly.

Federal Skilled Worker Program: An Overview

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is Canada’s flagship immigration program for foreign professionals and skilled tradespersons seeking permanent residence. If you have skills and experience that match in-demand Canadian occupations, the FSWP could be your ticket to living and working in Canada.

To qualify for the FSWP, you’ll need a job offer from a Canadian employer or have experience in an occupation that Canada needs. The FSWP uses a points-based system to assess candidates based on factors like your education, language abilities, work experience, age, job offer, and adaptability. You’ll need to score at least 67 out of 100 points to be eligible.

The FSWP application process includes a few basic steps:

  1. Make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for education, work experience, language ability, etc. If you need to improve your language scores or gain more skilled work experience, take time to do so.
  2. Review the list of eligible occupations to find those matching your skills and experience. Some of the top in-demand jobs are software engineers, nurses, and truck drivers.
  3. Gather the required documents to support your application like language test scores, copies of degrees/diplomas, reference letters from employers, job offers (if you have one), etc.
  4. Apply online or on paper. The online application option is faster. Either way, be prepared to pay the application fees.
  5. Wait for the processing time which can vary but aims to be within six months. The exact time will depend on application volumes and complexity.

If your application is approved, congratulations! You’ll receive confirmation to finalize your permanent move to Canada. The land of maple syrup and majestic moose awaits!

Current Federal Skilled Worker Program Processing Times

The wait can feel long, but processing times for the Federal Skilled Worker Program have improved. According to IRCC, the current processing time for most FSWP applications is 6 months. This means you can expect a decision on your application within half a year after submitting a complete application.

Of course, processing times can vary depending on factors like:

  • The time of year. Applications submitted at the start of the year may take longer to process due to higher volumes.
  • Background checks. If your application requires additional security or medical checks, processing may take 12 months or more.
  • Incomplete applications. Double check that you’ve included all necessary forms and documents; incomplete applications will delay processing.

While 6 months is typical, the best approach is to prepare for a wait time of at least 8 to 12 months to account for potential delays. The key is submitting a complete application with strong documentation to support your eligibility. Then, try to be patient – easier said than done, we know! But staying positive will make the wait time pass more quickly.

To help speed up your application, you can:

Ensure all information in your application, including addresses and job details, is accurate and up-to-date.

Provide letters of reference from former employers.

Submit proof of funds to support yourself and your family.

Get medical exams and police certificates in advance.

Register for My CIC and check the status of your application regularly.

The bottom line? While FSWP processing times have improved, patience is still required. But by submitting a fully-documented application and taking the right steps, you can maximize your chances of getting a decision as efficiently as possible. Stay hopeful – your new future in Canada is closer than you think!



Factors That Affect Your Federal Skilled Worker Application Processing Time

The processing time for your Federal Skilled Worker application can vary depending on several factors. Here are some of the key things that can affect how long it takes for your application to be processed.

Application completeness

Your application will be handled more quickly the more accurately and completely it is. Double check that you have included all necessary forms and documents. Missing information will slow down processing and delay a decision as the immigration officer has to request additional details from you.

Background checks

Security checks and medical exams add to the total processing time. The time required will depend on the specific checks needed for your unique situation. Be prepared to provide additional information or documentation to facilitate the background checking process.

Program demand

Application volumes and current workloads impact processing times. During periods of high demand, applications may take longer to finalize. The opposite is also true, with less demand speeding up processing. You can check the current processing times on the IRCC website to determine approximate wait times for a decision on your application during your submission period.

Priority processing

Some Federal Skilled Worker applications may be eligible for priority processing. This can include those submitted by humanitarian and compassionate grounds or under provincial nominee programs. Priority files are processed faster, often within 6 months. Check with your immigration officer to determine if you qualify for priority processing and how it may speed up your application.

While processing times can vary, you can expect a decision on a routine Federal Skilled Worker application within 6 to 12 months. The best approach is to submit a complete application, provide any follow up information promptly, and practice patience through what can be an anxious waiting period. Staying on top of the key factors that influence processing will help set the right expectations for the timing of your application.


Tips to Speed Up Your Federal Skilled Worker Program Processing

To speed up your Federal Skilled Worker Program application processing time, there are a few tips you can follow:

Submit a Complete Application

A complete application with all the necessary forms and documentation will help avoid delays in processing your file. Double check that you have included:

  • A completed Application for Permanent Residence in Canada form
  • Language test results (if applicable)
  • Educational credential assessments (if applicable)
  • Proof of funds (if applicable)
  • Police certificates for countries you have lived in
  • Your resume and any letters of reference
  • Marriage or common-law partnership certificates (if applicable)

Meet the Minimum Eligibility Criteria

Make sure you meet the minimum criteria for education, work experience, language ability and proof of funds before applying. If you do not meet the criteria, your application will likely be refused, costing you valuable time and money.

Use an Immigration Representative (optional)

While not always required, using an authorized immigration representative such as a lawyer or consultant can help ensure your application is processed as quickly as possible. They are experts in the process and can guide you through the steps, double check for any missing information and follow up with immigration authorities on your behalf.

Submit Biometrics Promptly

Once you receive a request for your biometrics (fingerprints and photo), schedule an appointment to provide them as soon as possible. Your application will not proceed until the biometrics step has been completed.

Notify Immigration Authorities of Any Changes

If there are any changes to your situation such as a change in family status, contact information or employment, notify the immigration authorities promptly. Failing to disclose changes can be seen as misrepresentation and may affect the processing of your application.

Following these tips will help streamline your Federal Skilled Worker Program application and get you on the path to permanent residence in Canada faster. The more complete and straightforward your application is, the quicker it can be processed by the immigration authorities. Good luck!

FAQs: Federal Skilled Worker Program Processing Times

A lot of people have questions about how long the Federal Skilled Worker Program application process takes. It a normal to feel impatient, but try to be patient good things come to those who wait! Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding processing times:

How long will my application take to process?

The processing time for Federal Skilled Worker Program applications varies and depends on several factors, including:

  • The time of year you apply (applications received during peak periods may take longer)
  • The number of applications IRCC is processing at the time
  • How quickly you provide any additional information or documents requested
  • Medical exam results (if applicable)

In general, you can expect the overall process to take 6 months to 2 years. The first stage, where IRCC reviews your application to make sure it’s complete, usually takes 3 to 4 months. The second stage, where IRCC assesses your application based on the eligibility criteria, typically takes 9 months to 1 year. The final stage, where IRCC makes a final decision on your application, can take an additional 3 to 6 months.

Can I check the status of my application?

Yes, you can check your application status in the IRCC Account. Log in to your account and click Check Application Status. This will show you what stage your application is in and if there are any outstanding requests for information or documents. It a good idea to check your status regularly so you know if IRCC needs anything from you. The sooner you provide requested information, the faster your application can continue processing.

What if my medical exam expires during processing?

Don’t worry, IRCC will not refuse your application simply due to an expired medical exam They understand that processing times are outside of your control. IRCC may ask you to complete a new medical exam, in which case you should do so promptly. As long as you cooperate, an expired medical exam should not negatively impact your application.

The key is patience and staying on top of requests from IRCC. While waiting can be frustrating, maintaining an optimistic and cooperative attitude will serve you well during the process. If you have additional questions, you can contact IRCC through their website or call center.


So there you have it, a complete overview of current Federal Skilled Worker Program processing times. As you can see, waiting for an application decision can be a lengthy process. The key is to make sure you submit a complete application with all required documentation to avoid delays. While the government aims to process most applications within 6 months, some cases may take longer due to increased demand or complexity. The best approach is to be patient, as difficult as that can be, and avoid constantly checking for updates which will likely only increase your anxiety. Once you receive your decision, the next steps to landing in Canada will unfold. For now, shift your focus to preparing to potentially relocate your life to a new country. Before you know it, you’ll be embracing the true north and all the exciting opportunities that await you. The waiting will have been worth it.

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