What is Express Entry?
Express Entry is an online system but not an independent immigration program the Government of Canada uses. This program establishes, manages, and processes applications for immigration to Canada.
Skilled immigrant applicants can use Canada’s Express Entry system to obtain permanent residence in Canada. The Express Entry system manages skilled immigration applications. In this system, where those most likely to settle in Canada and contribute to the Canadian economy are determined, these applications are accepted, considering certain criteria.
All applicants in the Express Entry pool are ranked using a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). According to the ranking system, applicants are awarded based on points, Namely, applicants’ skills, work experience, whether they have received a job offer, whether their job offer is supported by an LMIA or meets alternative requirements, and whether they have been nominated for permanent residence by a state government.
Candidates with the highest CRS score will be offered ITA (Invitation to Apply). Once applicants receive the ITA, they must apply online within 60 days to obtain permanent residence.
Candidates who do not receive ITA can remain in the candidate pool for 12 months. If they still have not received an invitation after these 12 months, they must create a new online Express Entry Profile. Candidates are only allowed to create a new profile if the criteria set in their chosen skilled immigration program continue to be met.
Express Entry Program is a system that facilitates the application and emigration process for candidates who want to become permanent residents in Canada and is not an immigration program in itself.
Submitting an Express Entry profile to the government pool for the eligible candidates is free. However, candidates incur some costs before submitting their Express Entry profile, such as an English or French language exam by a language-testing organization that the Canadian government. Educational Credential Assessment for the people who have bachelor, master or PhD degrees outside Canada, the translation fees for any documents into English or French language,
After you receive the ITA, there may be some Government fees and other costs, such as, Canadian government fees for processing permanent residence applications, Medical exam, Police background check, Biometrics fee.
Express Entry handles applications for the following immigration programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
How does Express Entry work?
The Express Entry system allows candidates to create an online profile that provides detailed information about their qualifications, skills and other factors related to their suitability for one of the immigration programs. A Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score is assigned to each profile created and ranked by candidates.
Drawings are held regularly from the Express Entry pool, and candidates with the highest CRS scores are eligible to receive Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residence. ITA recipients have 60 days to submit a complete application for permanent residence, which, once submitted, is processed by immigration authorities.
In 2015, Canada introduced Express Entry, intending to enhance the efficiency of processing skilled worker applications.
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) in Express Entry proves advantageous for immigrant candidates, as it is grounded in extensive Canadian government research that identifies the key attributes contributing to immigrants’ success in Canada and their ability to secure quality employment.
Statistics indicate that immigrants of a younger or middle-aged demographic, possessing elevated levels of education, substantial professional work experience, and proficient English and/or French language skills, tend to excel in the Canadian job market. Research conducted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) since 2015 reveals that Express Entry immigrants consistently exhibit high performance in the labour market. Consequently, those entering through Express Entry can have confidence in their strong prospects for establishing a successful professional career in Canada.
Express Entry’s most notable limitation lies in the absence of assurance for immigration candidates regarding an invitation to apply for permanent residence. In contrast to the prior system, where meeting eligibility and admissibility criteria typically led to a permanent resident visa, Express Entry grants this privilege only to candidates with the highest Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores.
Nevertheless, a positive aspect is the regular occurrence of Express Entry draws, providing numerous opportunities for candidates to receive an invitation for permanent residence. To enhance their CRS scores, individuals can explore avenues such as securing a Canadian job offer, obtaining a provincial nomination, pursuing studies in Canada, accumulating additional eligible professional work experience, and improving their scores in English and/or French language tests. Beyond Express Entry, Canada presents a diverse array of over 100 skilled worker immigration pathways.
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What is Comprehensive Ranking System?
It is a points system used to rank skilled worker candidates who wish to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry. CRS assigns a score to candidates based on criteria such as age, education, language skills and work experience.
The CRS assigns points to candidates based on various factors, including age, education, work experience (both foreign and Canadian), language proficiency (for both English and French), Adaptability, Job Offer, and Skills Transferability.
The maximum CRS score is 1,200 points, and candidates with the highest scores in periodic draws held by the Canadian government are invited to apply for permanent residence.
It is important to note that CRS is a dynamic system and draws will vary due to factors such as the minimum CRS required to receive a permanent residency invitation, the number of applicants from the Express Entry pool and the immigration goals of the Kandan government.
You should review the most recent draw results to get your permanent residency through Express Entry. This is the best way to know what CRS scores are competitive for candidates who hope to get the invitation to apply (ITA) for a Canadian permanent residency.
Don’t feel discouraged if your CRS score is below recent CRS cut-off requirements. CRS score requirements and cut-off scores change in each Express Entry draw. Try to always look at ways to improve your CRS score!
If the candidate’s CRS score is significantly lower than recent cut-offs, then search the conditions for the opportunity to be eligible for any provincial nomination program, which will essentially guarantee that you will be successful under Express Entry. Besides the PNP, you can also seek a job offer in Canada to get the PR.
There is no change to predict whether Express Entry CRS cut-off scores will increase or decrease or whether the CRS distribution of Express Entry candidates will be because Express Entry is a dynamic system.
Suppose you are eligible to create an account for Express Entry. In that case, it is usually the best idea to enter the pool, even if your CRS score is low since it gives you a greater chance to immigrate to Canada eventually.
Find out if you are eligible
- Canadian experience class
The Canadian Experience Class is for skilled workers who want to become permanent residents with work experience in Canada. The candidate must meet all the minimum requirements for Canadian skilled work experience and language ability to be eligible for this category.
Canadian experience means a person with at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada in the three years before the application. Canadian work experience must be gained by working in Canada while authorized to work under temporary resident status and must be paid work, including paid wages or earned commission.
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) offers international students and foreign workers with at least one year of skilled, professional, or technical Canadian work experience the chance to secure permanent residence. Eligible candidates must have acquired a minimum of one year of skilled, professional, or technical work experience in Canada within the three years leading up to the application date. Additionally, they must meet specified language proficiency criteria.
Work experience requirements are 30 hours per week over one year or 15 hours a week over two years. Candidates who gained work experience as a self-employed or full-time student do NOT count under this program.
The candidate has acquired one year of full-time work experience in an occupation categorized as TEER categories 0, 1, 2 or 3 of the National Occupation Classification (NOC). Qualifying occupations are those of a managerial, professional, technical or skilled trade nature.
Candidates under Canadian Experience Class must have taken a government-approved language test and achieved the required Canadian Language Benchmark Level. Those candidates must have a plan to live outside of Quebec.
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- Federal skilled worker Program (FSWP)
This program is for people who want to immigrate to Canada and have foreign work experience as a skilled worker. It is a score-based system and evaluates candidates based on some factors. These factors are basically age, education, work experience, language proficiency and adaptability.
Express Entry candidates who immigrate to Canada through the FSWP are more likely to have successful and fulfilling careers in Canada, according to research conducted by the Canadian government. Compared to Canada’s other skilled worker programs, FSWP is more advantageous in processing time.
If you have never lived in Canada and are not a skilled trades professional, FSWP Express Entry is your best option. First, you need to determine whether you meet the FSWP criteria.
By creating an Express Entry profile, you will receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on age, education, language skills and work experience. The Canadian government usually holds an Express Entry drawing every two weeks, inviting candidates with the highest CRS scores to apply for permanent residence. Once you submit your completed application, you can expect to receive your permanent resident status within six months and then move to Canada. It is possible to apply and receive an invitation while living in Canada with temporary status.
To apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program and be included in the Express Entry pool, potential candidates must meet minimum requirements for work, language ability and education and score at least 67 points on the program’s 100-point table.
There are certain minimum requirements.
- One year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the last ten years in a skilled occupation classified under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) TEER level 0, 1, 2 or 3;
- Certified language ability equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French in all abilities (reading, writing, listening and speaking);
- Canadian educational qualification (certificate, diploma or degree) or foreign qualification and Educational Competency Assessment (ECA) report.
- Applicants may be required to demonstrate that they have a certain amount of savings to support themselves financially upon arrival in Canada.
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- Federal skilled trades (FSTP)
Skilled tradespeople who have at least two years of full-time work experience and meet the other requirements can apply to this program.
To be eligible for the FSTP, first, you must have valid job offers of continuous, paid, full-time employment (at least 30 hours a week) from up to two employers in Canada for at least one year or a certificate of qualification from a provincial or territorial body. A certificate of qualification proves that as a foreign national, you are qualified to work in a skilled trade occupation in Canada. Those qualification certificates prove that the applicants have passed a certification exam or met all the requirements to practice their trade in a specific province or territory. The second condition is to provide proof of basic language proficiency from a designated language testing organization, demonstrating that the applicant meets the minimum threshold set by IRCC — Canadian Level Benchmark (CLB) 5 for speaking and listening, CLB 4 for reading and writing. The fourth condition is to have obtained two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work) in the skilled trade in the five years before applying. The third condition is to demonstrate the skills and experience and that they have performed the essential duties of the occupation.
Skilled work experience eligible for the FSTP falls under the following categories of the National Occupational Classification (NOC):
- Major Group 72: industrial, electrical and construction trades,
- Major Group 73: maintenance and equipment operation trades,
- Major Group 82: supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production,
- Major Group 92: processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators,
- Minor Group 632: chefs and cooks, and
- Minor Group 633: butchers and bakers.
FSTP candidates must plan to reside outside the province of Quebec. The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers through a unique immigration system. If you plan on immigrating to Quebec, please visit the Quebec Skilled Worker Program page for more information.
If you are eligible for the FSTP, you may also qualify for category-based Express Entry draws. Meeting the eligibility criteria of category-based draws provides additional opportunities to be invited for Canadian permanent residence.
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- Provincial nominees (PNP)
According to Canada’s Constitution, the federal government and individual provinces and territories possess the authority to oversee the country’s immigration system.
In line with this framework, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) empowers Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals aspiring to immigrate to Canada, particularly those wanting to settle in a specific province. It’s important to note that Nunavut, a Northern Canada and Quebec territory, is an exception to this program. Instead, the province of Quebec has the autonomy to set its selection criteria for economic immigration.
The primary purpose of the PNP is to spread the benefits of immigration across Canada. Before launching the PNP in 1998, most of Canada’s immigrants settled in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. Since 1998, however, Canada has seen a broader distribution of immigration across the country since Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador have enjoyed more success attracting immigrants thanks in large part to the PNP.
Each PNP has at least one immigration stream compatible with the federal Express Entry immigration selection system. PNP streams provide Express Entry candidates with an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, through which candidates are guaranteed a permanent residence invitation under Express Entry. Another significant benefit is that the permanent residence application process is shorter because you apply directly to the PNP stream. If you have received a provincial nomination, the federal government will process your permanent residence application faster.
Under the Canadian Constitution, Canadian citizens and permanent residents have the right to move freely within the country. Therefore, you can move to another province or state if you receive permanent residence through PNP. However, when making your PNP application, you must be honest about your intent to reside. It is a severe offence to misrepresent your intentions to the Canadian government. Some PNP streams provide the candidate with a work permit. After the candidate meets specific criteria, the province or territory issues a certificate of candidacy to the candidate so that they can apply for permanent residence. In such cases, to meet the requirements to receive a provincial candidacy, you must reside in that province or region while you have a work permit.
Here are the links for PNP details for each province in Canada