Government Streams for Hiring Foreign Workers

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC ) manages Canadian immigration programs, including these six programs for foreign workers seeking to come to Canada to live and work.

Printable version of Streams for Hiring Foreign Workers

In January 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) launched a new electronic system called Express Entry. The system is used to manage applications in these economic immigration programs:

  1. the Federal Skilled Worker Program
  2. the Canadian Experience Class
  3. the Federal Skilled Trades Program
  4. a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program

Under Express Entry, people interested in immigrating to Canada will first fill out an online profile that includes their language test scores, their Educational Credential Assessment (if they need one) and outlines their work experience. There is no cost to complete and submit an Express Entry profile.

Based on their profiles, candidates will be ranked against others in a pool. On a regular basis, CIC will invite top candidates from the pool to apply for permanent residence. Only those who get an Invitation to Apply from CIC will be able to apply. Those receiving an Invitation to Apply have 60 days to submit their application.

The Express Entry pool can be used by employers looking to hire skilled foreign workers to meet labour needs when they are unable to find Canadians or permanent residents to fill job vacancies. Employers will have access to these candidates through Canada’s Job Bank, private sector job boards and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) where applicable.

1. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FWSP)

Federal skilled workers (FSW) are chosen as permanent residents based on their ability to settle in Canada and take part in our economy. They are assessed on their:

  • skills in English and/or French (Canada’s two official languages),
  • education
  • work experience
  • age
  • whether they have a valid job offer
  • adaptability (how well you are likely to settle here)

2. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

This program is aimed at temporary foreign workers or foreign students who graduated in Canada. It is generally open to individuals who:

  • Can meet minimum language requirements
  • Don’t plan to live in Quebec
  • Have either two years of full-time skilled work experience in Canada or have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution and have at least one year of full-time skilled work experience
  • Have gained their work/study experience with the proper permits
  • Applicants must apply while working in Canada or within one year of leaving their Canadian job.

3. Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC)

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is for people who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade. It is open to applicants in the following National Occupational Classifications (NOC):

  • Industrial, Electrical and Construction Trades (NOC Major Group 72)
  • Maintenance and Equipment Operation Trades (NOC Major Group 73)
  • Supervisors and Technical Occupations in Natural Resources, Agriculture and Related Production (NOC Major Group 82)
  • Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities Supervisors and Central Control Operators (NOC Major Group 92)

Applicants under this stream need to meet the following criteria:

  • Plan to live outside the province of Quebec
  • 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 applying
  • Meet all job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC)
  • 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

4. BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

BC PNP is a partnership between CIC and the BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. BC PNP applicants must either:

  • Have an indeterminate length job offer from a BC employer, or
  • Have completed a masters or doctorate degree at a BC post-secondary institution in the natural, applied or health sciences

In January 2015, British Columbia added a new stream to the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) called Express Entry British Columbia. This new stream allows PNP to use CIC’s Express Entry system to meet B.C.’s specific labour market needs. Eligible applicants for one of the PNP’s Express Entry British Columbia categories will receive priority processing of PNP applications, and if nominated, permanent residence applications.

BC Provincial Nominee Program contact info:
Tel: 604 775 2227
Business PNP E-mail: