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Express Entry

Last updated: 14 September 2020

Express Entry is an online system used to manage applications for skilled workers who want to become permanent residents of Canada. It allows eligible candidates to submit a profile to the government of Canada. Top-ranked immigration candidates are then invited to submit an application for permanent residence.

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Express Entry is an electronic system used to manage the applications of skilled workers who wish to become permanent residents of Canada.

Once an interested candidate submits an online profile, the federal government determines if the candidate is eligible for a program managed by Express Entry. Eligible candidates are accepted into the Express Entry pool and are ranked according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS is a points-based system used by the government to assess and rank candidates in the Express Entry pool. The CRS score is calculated based on a candidate’s age, education, work experience, language skills, as well as other factors.

Approximately every two weeks, the Canadian government selects the highest-scoring candidates from the Express Entry pool and provides them with an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

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An Express Entry profile can be valid for up to one year. Candidates who receive an ITA can expect the Canadian government to process their permanent residence applications within six months. The government begins to measure the processing time when a complete permanent residence application is received. The processing time ends when a final decision is made on the application. If a candidate does not receive an ITA within one year of creating their Express Entry profile, they can simply re-submit their profile if they are still eligible.

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To be eligible for Express Entry, candidates must meet the criteria of at least one of the following federal economic immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program: The FSWP is Canada’s primary economic immigration pathway. The minimum requirements include at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in a skilled occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level 0, A, or B; validated intermediate or better language ability in English or French; for candidates educated outside of Canada, an educational credential (certificate, diploma, or degree) and an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report. In addition to meeting the FSWP's minimum work, language ability, and education requirements, candidates must also obtain at least 67 points under its points grid.
  • Canadian Experience Class: The CEC provides international students and foreign workers who have Canadian experience with the opportunity to obtain permanent residence. Candidates must have obtained at least one year of skilled, professional, or technical work experience in Canada within 3 years of the application date and also meet language proficiency criteria.
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program: The FSTP is available to candidates who want to become permanent residents on the basis of qualifying for a skilled trade. Eligibility criteria include having a minimum of 2 years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade within the 5-year period of submitting an application; meet the job requirements of the skilled trade; have a full-time job offer in Canada for a period of at least 1 year or possess a certificate of qualification in the skilled trade that has been provided by an official Canadian authority; and meet language proficiency criteria.

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In Canada, the federal government and provinces and territories can operate their own immigration programs. However, the federal government makes the final decision on whether a candidate can obtain permanent residence.

Express Entry manages three of the numerous economic immigration programs operated by the federal government.

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allows provinces and territories to signal to the federal government that an immigration candidate meets the economic needs of their region. Such candidates obtain a provincial nomination which they can use to support their permanent residence application submitted to the federal government.

A provincial nomination is the single most valuable factor under Express Entry’s CRS and results in an Express Entry candidate receiving an additional 600 points towards their CRS score, which essentially guarantees they will receive an ITA.

Even if an Express Entry candidate does not initially have a high enough ranking score to receive an ITA from the federal government, they may obtain a nomination from a province or territory through Express Entry, increase their CRS score by 600 points, and then obtain an ITA from the federal government during the next draw from the Express Entry pool.

Submitting an Express Entry profile to the government pool of eligible candidates is free of charge.

However, candidates incur some costs before submitting their Express Entry profile.

Possible costs before submitting an Express Entry profile may include:

Government fees and other costs after you receive an ITA include:

  • Canadian government fees to process permanent residence applications
  • Medical exam(s)
  • Police background check(s)
  • Biometrics fee(s)
Canadian government permanent residence fees for Express Entry
Your application
Processing fee ($550) and right of permanent residence fee ($490)
Include your spouse or partner
$1,040
Processing fee ($550) and right of permanent residence fee ($490)$1,040
Include a dependent child$150 (per child)

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