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Express Entry: The Basics

Express Entry: The Basics

One of Canada’s primary immigration goals is to support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy. To achieve this goal, Canada has a number of immigration programs that pave the way for skilled workers to immigrate to Canada and contribute to the economy. To manage these programs, Canada recently introduce a new system called Express Entry.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is a new system launched in January 2015, used to manage applications for permanent residence by people with skilled experience looking to immigrate to Canada. It is used to manage applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class. Some provinces and territories are also able to recruit candidates from the Express Entry pool for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

How does Express Entry work?

Through Express Entry, applicants can create a profile online. If the candidate meets the minimum criteria to one of the economic programs, he or she is entered into a pool of Express Entry candidates. The federal, provincial/ territorial governments and employers can select from this pool of candidates.

Applicants are assigned points for factors that contribute to success in Canada such as education, experience, language ability, as well as having an offer of employment or a nomination from a province or territory. The highest possible points a candidate can get is 1200, with 50 or 200 points given to candidates with a qualifying job offer and 600 points given to candidates with a nomination from a province or territory.

Candidates are ranked against others in the pool. Only the highest-ranked candidates and those who have a qualifying job offer or provincial/territorial nominations will be issued an ITA and invited to apply for permanent residence. If a candidate does not have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer or a provincial/ territorial nomination, he/she must register with the Canada’s Job Bank, which will connect him/her with eligible Canadian employers.

The highest ranking candidates who will be issued ITAs have 60 days to submit an Application for Permanent Residence. IRCC targets to process these applications in 6 months or less. On the other hand, candidates who do not receive an ITA in 12 months may re-submit their Express Entry profiles to re-enter the pool of candidates.

What are the requirements to enter the Express Entry pool?

To successfully submit an Expression of Interest by creating an Express Entry profile, an applicant must qualify under one of the federal economic classes. It is important to note that the requirements of each of the economic classes vary. For more information on each of the federal economic classes, click on the links below:

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program
  2. Federal Skilled Trades Program
  3. Canadian Experience Class
  4. Provincial Nominee Program

An applicant who meets the requirements of at least one of the economic classes will automatically be placed in the Express Entry pool as a candidate. However, becoming a candidate and entering the Express Entry pool does not guarantee an ITA.

How can I get an Invitation to Apply (ITA)?

Once in the pool, all candidates are electronically ranked under a Comprehensive Ranking System or CRS. The CRS is a different set of criteria that uses an elaborate point-grid system to determine who will have the highest chance of success in Canada, hence will be issued an ITA.

IRCC regularly conducts “draws” or “rounds of invitation” which result in the issuance of the ITAs. Every draw is based on a set of instructions that specify the number of candidates to get an ITA, mostly determined by immigration objectives.

In order to get an ITA, you must be one of the candidates with highest CRS scores within specified immigration program, when applicable. For instance, if IRCC gives the instruction to issue 1,500 ITAs, the 1,500 candidates with the highest CRS points from determined immigration programs will automatically receive the invitations. In this example, the instructions may issue 500 ITAs to the top Canadian Experience Class candidates and 1,000 ITAs to the top Federal Skilled Worker candidates, or just 1,500 ITAs to the top candidates in the pool, depending on the instructions issued.

The minimum CRS score required per draw changes and mostly depends on the number of candidates to be issued an ITA, the quality of candidates from the existing pool and the immigration programs from which to draw candidates. The CRS is not a pass-fail system wherein there is a fixed score to be met. Instead, whether or not your score is good enough will always be relative to the other candidates’ scores in the pool.

To-date, the IRCC has conducted 45 draws since the introduction of Express Entry in January 2015. Although Express Entry is still relatively new, it has demonstrated that for IRCC, there is a more efficient way to manage volumes of permanent resident applications, without necessarily compromising the quality of assessment that applicants undergo. Moreover, it has demonstrated that eligible applicants won’t have to wait for years and counting before they can become permanent residents of Canada.

For comments and questions, check out our forums and join the conversation.

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