Frequently asked questions about the Express Entry immigration selection system.

Express Entry is an electronic management application system for immigration to Canada.

It is not an immigration program. Rather, it facilitates the selection and processing of Canada’s economic immigration programs:

Applicants make an "expression of interest" (EOI) in immigrating to Canada and, if they are eligible for at least one of the aforementioned programs, they then enter the Express Entry pool. The federal government and provincial governments, as well as Canadian employers, are then able to select candidates from this pool who will then receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for immigration to Canada under one of the programs. Express Entry moves Canada from a first come, first served (or supply-driven) system to an invitation to apply (or demand-driven) system. Modelled on similar systems in use in Australia and New Zealand, Express Entry aims to fast track the processing of skilled immigrants deemed most likely to succeed in Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) aims to process applications within six months from the date of submission, hence the name Express Entry.

Note that this does not mean six months from the date a candidate made an expression of interest in immigrating to Canada, but rather six months from the date he or she submits a complete application for permanent residence after an invitation to apply has been issued.

Express Entry came into operation on January 1, 2015.

The Express Entry system applies to the following Canadian economic immigration programs:

Provinces and territories are able to recruit candidates from the Express Entry system for a portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs in order to meet local labour market needs.

No. Express Entry does not change Canadian immigration program requirement. Express Entry is not an immigration program. Rather, it is a management and selection system for existing immigration programs.

Potential candidates make an expression of interest (EOI) in coming to Canada by creating an Express Entry profile and providing information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other personal information. This profile is self-declared; that is to say that the material provided by the potential candidate is based on his or her own assessment of his or her personal information.

If the information provided by the potential candidate turns out to be false, this is known as misrepresentation and, depending on the nature and severity of the false claim, carries penalties. A potential candidate who has been found to have provided false information going into the Express Entry pool can be banned from re-entering the pool for five years. Therefore, it is hugely important to provide accurate and correct information always. Candidates who are unsure about how to assess their own abilities and credentials may want to seek advice from an immigration lawyer before entering the Express Entry pool.

Potential candidates who create an Express Entry profile and are eligible for one of Canada’s economic immigration programs enter the Express Entry pool. These programs are the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, the Canadian Experience Class, and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs. The federal government and provincial governments, as well as Canadian employers, are able to select candidates from this pool. Candidates who are selected then receive an ‘Invitation to Apply’ (ITA) for immigration to Canada under one of the programs.

The Comprehensive Ranking System is the government of Canada’s internal mechanism for ranking candidates bases on their human capital, determined by factors such as age, level of education and language ability. This helps to enable Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) to decide which candidates may be issued invitations to apply for permanent residence. There are up to 600 points available under the system for a candidate's core human capital and skills transferability factors. Up to 600 additional points are available for additional factors (including a provincial nomination, an offer of arranged employment, and/or prior Canadian study experience).

NOTE: On June 6, 2017, the government of Canada introduced changes to the Comprehensive Ranking System, introducing additional points for candidates, and their accompanying spouses/common-law partners if applicable, who have a sibling in Canada, and/or who have French language ability. To learn more about these and other changes, click here.

The Canada Job Bank is an online search engine for open job positions across Canada. It helps match candidates with Canadian employers and jobs based on their skills, knowledge, and experience. Under Express Entry, candidates may register with the Job Bank if they do not already have a Canadian job offer or a Provincial/Territorial nomination. As of June 6, 2017, registration in the Job Bank is voluntary.

If a candidate is currently working in Canada on a Labour Market Impact Assessment-based work permit, he or she will not have to reapply for a new LMIA, insofar as the LMIA is still valid. Should the Express Entry candidate choose to apply to a job opportunity, the recipient employer will then be required to go through their usual interview or assessment process. If the employer finds that the Express Entry candidate meets their needs, and they are eligible to hire a foreign national, they can offer them a job. Employers with a positive LMIA will then provide this information along with a job offer letter to the candidate to include in their Express Entry profile. A Canadian job offer awards points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), and consequently may increase a candidate's chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence in a subsequent draw from the Express Entry pool. 

Candidates are required to update their profile to reflect any changes in their status, such as in language ability, family composition, work experience, or education credentials.

An Invitation to Apply (ITA) is offered to any candidate in the Express Entry pool who has been selected to apply for immigration to Canada by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). A candidate who receives an ITA will have meet the requirements in one of IRCC’s draws from the pool. This includes meeting the minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cut-off threshold for that draw.

Whereas previously potential candidates who were eligible for a Canadian immigration program could apply directly to that program, that is no longer the case. Under Express Entry, candidates with higher points totals in the Express Entry pool may have a better chance of being invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence by either the federal government, a Canadian province or territory, or a Canadian employer. Highly educated candidates with skilled work experience and strong language skills in English and/or French, for example, are likely obtain a greater number of points than those who do not possess these qualities.

Yes, the federal government of Canada is able to select candidates from the Express Entry pool. These candidates do not necessarily need to have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer in order to receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence.

A certain number of candidates in the pool are issued invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence when a draw from the pool is made, but candidates do not know in advance when these draws will be.

Learn more about invitation rounds that have taken place so far.

There are no eligible occupation lists for any of the programs. Under previous versions of the Federal Skilled Worker Class, there were lists of eligible occupations deemed in demand by the government of Canada. Under the most recent version of the Canadian Experience Class, there was a list of ineligible occupations. These lists are no more. It must be noted, however, that in order to be eligible for any of the programs under Express Entry, the candidate needs to have work experience in an occupation that has a National Occupation Classification (NOC) code of skill type 0, A or B.

 All provinces and territories, except for Quebec, Alberta and Nunavut, currently use Express Entry. Provinces and territories are able to nominate a certain number of candidates through the Express Entry system to meet their local and provincial labour market needs. These are known as "enhanced" nominations. If an applicant gets an enhanced nomination from a province or territory, he or she is then given 600 additional points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence at a subsequent draw from the pool. All candidates must meet the eligibility criteria of one of the federal economic immigration programs in order to enter and be selected from the Express Entry pool.

Just as they manage their own Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), provinces and territories set the criteria they use to nominate Express Entry candidates. Depending on the province/territory, Express Entry candidates may either enter the pool first and then be nominated by a province or territory, or be nominated by a province or territory and then complete an online Express Entry profile. Provinces and territories are also able to make nominations under their regular (“base”) PNPs outside the Express Entry system.

Yes, there is a connection between the PNPs and Express Entry. Once a candidate updates his or her Express Entry profile to show that he or she has an enhanced provincial nomination certificate, he or she will be given enough additional points (600) to be invited to apply at a subsequent draw of candidates from the pool.

Candidates must be in the pool before applying to a province or territory for an enhanced provincial nomination certificate, or submitting an Expression of Interest to a province or territory under one of the enhanced PNP streams.

Canadian employers have a greater and more direct role in Canadian immigration under Express Entry than previously. Candidates in the Express Entry pool have the opportunity to increase their chances of being invited to apply by promoting themselves directly to employers through the Canada Job Bank. As of June 6, 2017, registration in the Job Bank is voluntary.

Once a candidate obtains a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) — which serves as proof that the employer made efforts to employ Canadian citizens and permanent residents for the position — he or she obtains 50 or 200 additional points, depending on the level of the job offered.

In addition, certain work permit holders may be awarded points for their job offer even if they have not obtained a LMIA:

In both above cases, the worker must have been working in Canada for at least one year and the job offer must be made by the same employer named on the work permit.

Not necessarily, though the fact that Canadian employers play a greater role in Canadian immigration under Express Entry than they did previously means that, for many candidates, obtaining a valid job offer from a Canadian employer significantly increases their chances of being invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence. Candidates in the Express Entry pool have the opportunity to increase their chances of being invited to apply by promoting themselves directly to employers through the CanadaVisa Job Search tool.

From the moment a candidate is issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence, he or she has 90 days to submit a complete electronic application with all supporting documents. Because of this limited time period, candidates are encouraged to begin collecting these documents and ensuring they are in good order before an ITA is issued. If a candidate misses the 90-day deadline, the ITA that was issued to him or her is no longer valid and he or she will have to re-enter the Express Entry pool. If the information provided by the potential candidate turns out to be false, this is known as misrepresentation and, depending on the nature and severity of the false claim, carries penalties. A potential candidate who has been found to have provided false information going into the Express Entry pool can be banned from re-entering the pool for five years. Therefore, it is hugely important to provide accurate and correct information always.

Candidates should bear in mind that the economic immigration programs that have been in place in recent years remain in place under the Express Entry selection system. Once an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence has been issued to a candidate, he or she must submit a range of supporting document with his or her application, as was the case previously. These documents include those pertaining to civil status such as marriage certificates (if applicable), birth certificates, language test results, an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA; if applicable), work reference letters, security background checks, and other documents.

An ECA is required for candidates in the Express Entry pool who wish to be considered for draws related to the Federal Skilled Worker Class, unless they received their post-secondary education in Canada. For candidates who are hoping to apply to the Federal Skilled Trades Class or Canadian Experience Class, an ECA is optional but may increase the points they receive on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and improve their chances of being drawn from the pool.

Yes, all candidates need to take a language test in order to determine their language abilities. There are a set number of points available for language ability for each of the economic immigration programs that come under Express Entry, and ability must be proven by candidates taking a standardized language test approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC). The most popular are IELTS for English and TEF for French.

As part of their Express Entry profile, candidates must submit valid language test results obtained in the past two years. Once a candidate enters the Express Entry pool, he or she can earn extra points and increase his or her rank by taking another language test and obtaining better results. As of June 6, 2017, additional points are also available to candidates who prove French language ability in addition to English language ability. Candidates can practice IELTS before taking the test.

Candidates know their points total (or score), but do not know their rank within the pool. They do, however, know the minimum score that was required for the most recent draw from the Express Entry pool. Therefore, they have a target that they can aim to meet and surpass in order to increase their chances of being invited to apply for permanent residence.

Each profile remains in the Express Entry pool for a period of 12 months or until an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence is issued, whichever comes first. If after 12 months a candidate wishes to remain in the pool, he or she may create a fresh profile.

Candidates who receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence from a Canadian province or territory should have the intention to reside in that particular province or territory. The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are set up to address local and regional labour market needs, and so it follows that candidates invited to apply through a PNP are deemed likely to succeed in that particular province or territory. Once a candidate has landed in Canada, however, he or she will have the right to freedom of movement within Canada, as well as the right to live and work anywhere in Canada for any employer.

There is no such measure in place at the current time. It is possible that quotas for certain skill levels and/or occupations may be in place in the future. It is not known whether these will be transparent.

Yes, a portion of the PNPs, known as the "enhanced" portion, are managed inside Express Entry, with the remainder operating external to Express Entry. The CanadaVisa immigration assessment form assesses your eligibility for immigration across a range of immigration programs, including the various PNPs.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) aims to process the majority of complete applications received within six months from the date of submission.

If after 12 months a candidate has not received an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for permanent residence from the federal government, a Canadian province, or a Canadian employer, but wishes to remain in the Express Entry pool, he or she can create a new Express Entry profile. If he or she is still eligible for one of the economic immigration programs, he or she will re-enter the Express Entry pool.

A successful applicant can bring his or her spouse (i.e. husband or wife) or common-law partner, as well as dependent children, to Canada. In the case of married couples and common-law partners, only one of the partners needs to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. The spouse or common-law partner of the principal applicant, as well as any children under the age of 19 (at the time the application is received), also receive a permanent resident visa. A spouse must submit language test results and security background checks. A spouse and all dependent children, as well as the principal applicant, must pass a medical examination.

Note: The government of Canada has announced that as of October 24, 2017, the maximum age of dependent children who may be included on an application will increase to under 22 years of age (at the time the application is received).

Yes, candidates are able to promote themselves to Canadian employers online, as well as network, to increase their chances of obtaining a qualifying job offer. Candidates who are successful in obtaining a qualifying offer of arranged employment job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) are awarded 50 or 200 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), depending on the level of the job offered.

In order to meet the conditions of a qualifying offer of arranged employment, in most cases the job offer must be supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). In addition, certain work permit holders may be awarded points for their job offer even if they have not obtained a LMIA:

In both above cases, the worker must have been working in Canada for at least one year and the job offer must be made by the same employer named on the work permit.

No. Express Entry facilitates the processing of economic immigrants for Canadian permanent residence. There are, however, a number of other ways of moving to Canada, both permanent and temporary.

  • Only a portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are processed through Express Entry. Other PNP candidates will be able to apply to these programs directly if they are eligible under the requirements, which are based on local and regional labour market needs. Most PNP streams require the candidate to secure a valid job offer before immigrating to Canada, but there are some exceptions. Successful candidates will land in Canada as permanent residents.
  • Candidates for certain employment opportunities in Canada may arrive as temporary foreign workers. In most cases, this will require the processing of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
  • There are several instances where an employer may be exempt from the requirement to secure an LMIA. Some countries have established international exchange programs with Canada, with candidates typically needing to be younger than 30 or 35, depending on nationality. Successful applicants receive a temporary open work permit.
  • Coming to Canada to study is a popular option for those who wish to continue their education at one of Canada’s many renowned colleges and universities. On completion of the studies, some provinces facilitate the option for the graduate to apply for permanent residence under a PNP or, in the case of Quebec, the Quebec Experience Class (Programme de l’expérience québécoise, or PEQ). Another option for graduates wishing to remain in Canada after completing their studies is to obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit and ultimately apply for permanent residence.

Quebec applications will not be triaged through Express Entry, except where the applicant will be working outside Quebec for a Quebec-based company.

Yes, Bridging Open Work Permits (BOWPs) continue to be available under Express Entry, though the candidate must obtain approval-in-principle of their application before he or she can apply for the work permit.

An applicant may have a birthday after he or she receives an Invitation to Apply (ITA)  but before he or she submits an application for permanent residence. A change in age may lower his or her Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score below the lowest score in the draw. It may also result in the applicant no longer meeting the minimum requirements. When a change in age results in the candidate no longer meeting the minimum entry criteria or lowering his or her CRS points score below the lowest points score in the draw, IRCC officers are asked to apply the public policy to exempt applicants for permanent residence from certain age-based requirements between ITA and application. This public policy also grants an exemption to applicants who may be refused on Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program requirements for having a birthday between receiving an ITA and submitting an application. In short, a candidate's age may be considered locked in once an invitation to apply has been issued.

Candidates are not required to hire an immigration representative in order to participate in Express Entry. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) has determined, however, that authorized immigration representatives may assist candidates during all stages of the Express Entry immigration process. With over 35 years of success, lawyer David Cohen and his professional team at Campbell Cohen can help candidates immigrate to Canada by:

  • Helping to prepare an accurate application going into the pool, lessening the risk of misrepresentation and the associated penalties;
  • Providing job alerts related to the candidate’s occupation and promoting the candidate to Canadian employers. This increases his or her chances of landing a skilled job and being invited to apply for permanent residency; and
  • Reviewing all supporting documents, submitting an application within the time frame set by the government of Canada, and tracking it all the way while communicating with the government on the candidate’s behalf. Potential candidates can fill out an online assessment form today and maximize their chances of success in immigrating to Canada under the Express Entry immigration selection system.

 

Fill out an online assessment form today to find out your options for immigrating to Canada.

Contact us today with any questions you may have regarding Express Entry. We will quickly provide the answers and add them to this list.

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