Published by Gabriel Oliveira
on August 18, 2020

5 Minimum Requirements to Immigrate to Canada

Through the Federal Skilled Worker Program

If you have these 5 items, you have what it takes to immigrate to Canada!

And better yet, through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, which means you leave your country already as a Permanent Resident .

These are the requirements:

  1. Enough money on the Bank
  2. Education at least equivalent to Canadian high school
  3. At least one year of work experience
  4. (Very) Good level of English or French
  5. Clean police records on your home country

Before you start packing, keep in mind that these are minimum requirements. It doesn't mean if you have them, you can get on a plane tomorrow.

If you have these 5 items, you are eligible to enter a candidate pool. Then the more points you have (based on your education, skills, etc.), more likely it is for you to be invited to become a permanent resident.

Continue reading for a bit more detail on each.

A bit about how the Federal Skilled Worker program works

With these 5 requirements, you are accepted on what's called Express Entry Pool. Once in that pool, you will get a certain amount of points, based on your level of English, your level of education, etc.

Every now and then (usually every 2 weeks), IRCC (the government department responsible for immigration) will invite the top scorers from that pool to apply for permanent residence. These are called Invitation Rounds. If/when you get invited, it is then just a matter of filling up the paperwork, wait for it to process, and then, finally, pack!

There are other immigration programs besides the Federal Skilled Worker. This article explains a bit about the 3 main ones. But for now, let's stick to the FSW (Federal Skilled Worker).

Requirement #1 - Enough money on the bank

At some point during the Express Entry process, you will be required to prove that you have enough money to maintain yourself and your family while you settle in Canada.

IRCC is very specific about the values that you need to have, depending on how big your family is. Here they are:

Number of family members Funds Required (in Canadian Dollars)
1 $12,960
2 $16,135
3 $19,836
4 $24,083
5 $27,315
6 $30,806
7 $34,299
For each additional family member $3,492

If you have the amount required for your family size, you can go ahead and check this out of the list!

You will need to prove that you have the money, but that's just paperwork. The hardest part is to actually have it. For details on how to prove it, read our article about Proof of Funds.

Besides the funds that you need to prove you have to sustain your family when you arrive (values above), you will also need to spend some money on the Express Entry process itself. This includes fees, medical appointments, translations, etc. For more details, read our article about Express Entry costs.

Requirement #2 - Education at least equivalent to Canadian high school

Canada is looking for skilled workers. And education is a big part of being skilled.

The minimum requirement to be eligible for immigration is to have at least the equivalent to the Canadian high school.

Of course, the higher your education is, the more points you will get for it, and the higher will be your chances of getting invited to become a permanent resident.

Each country has its own definition for certifications, titles, courses, etc. Therefore, there are specific organizations that are allowed to say what is the Canadian equivalent level for your education. These are called Education Credential Assessment (ECA).

Basically, you send them your education history (diploma, certifications, etc.), and they will say what's your Canadian education level. Read more about it on our article about How to get and ECA.

Requirement #3 - Work Experience

The requirement is to have at least 1 year of skilled work experience.

However, it can't be in ANY job. It has to be related to the profession that you will present yourself in.

For an example, if you are an engineer, and presenting yourself to IRCC as such, you can't use previous work experiences as a butcher.

Besides that, the job experience must be in managerial jobs (skill level 0), professional jobs (skill level A), or technical jobs (skill level B).

Here is a brief description of what each of those terms mean:

Skill Level Description Examples
0 (zero) Management jobs Restaurant manager, factory manager, etc.
A Jobs that usually require university diploma Doctor, scientist, engineers, etc.
B Jobs that usually require technical training Chefs, plumbers, electricians, etc.
C Jobs that usually require high-school or job-specific trainings Butcher, truck driver, food servers, etc.
D Jobs that usually require on-the-job training Fruit pickers, cleaning staff, etc.

They way you proof your work experience is through letters from your current and/or previous employers. Read our article about proof of work experience for more details.

Requirement #4 - English Skills

This is a big one! You need to have a (very) good level of English (or French) skills.

It needs to be good enough for you to score at least 6 on each of IELTS skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking).

The good news is that this is something totally under your control to improve. And you can take the IELTS tests as many times as you need to.

Also, of course, the higher your IELTS score is, the more points you will get for it, and the higher your chances of being invited to become a permanent resident will be.

Requirement #5 - Clean criminal records

This is a pretty easy one, there is not much you need (or can) do about it.

It can be a deal breaker though. IRCC is not 100% specific on what is acceptable on the record or not, but it will be subject to the agent analyzing your case.

The safest way is just to have a clean record. If you do have something there, I recommend you to reach out to a certified immigration consultant for advice.

You have all it takes?

So, you have these 5 items? Great! Now get ready for lots of webforms and paperwork! :D

I know it doesn't sound good to hear that, nobody likes paperwork. But Express Entry is a very solid process, with a great amount of control on which candidate is selected or not.

Therefore, it is reasonable to agree that in this case the bureaucracy is really needed.


IRCC - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. It is the Canadian Government department responsible for all matters related to immigration.

Express Entry - Process in place to select candidates to become permanent residents based on their skills. Express Entry is used for different immigration programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program

Federal Skilled Worker Program - A program designed to attract and bring skilled immigrants for the areas in which Canada needs workers. Candidates are selected through the Express Entry process.

IELTS - English exam accepted by IRCC to assess your English skills levels.



Leave a comment: