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Canada’s Express Entry system provides a fast and efficient pathway for skilled workers to immigrate to Canada and obtain permanent residence. Introduced in 2015, Express Entry has become the most popular way for skilled foreign nationals to settle in Canada.
What is Express Entry?
Express Entry is an electronic application management system used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to manage applications for three of Canada’s economic immigration programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
These programs are aimed at skilled workers, tradespeople, and individuals with Canadian work experience who have the skills and experience to contribute to Canada’s economy.
Key Features of Express Entry:
- Fast processing times – applications processed within 6 months
- Electronic profile-based system
- Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) used to rank candidates
- Regular draws inviting top-ranked candidates to apply
How Express Entry Works
The Express Entry system has two main steps:
Candidates create an online profile outlining their skills, education, language ability, work experience and other details. IRCC evaluates the profile and those eligible for one of the three immigration programs are entered into the Express Entry pool.
Invitation to Apply
Candidates in the pool are ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). In regular draws, the highest ranked candidates are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Comprehensive Ranking System
The CRS ranks candidates based on:
- Core factors like age, education, work experience and language skills
- Additional points factors like a job offer, Canadian education, siblings in Canada etc.
The CRS allows IRCC to select the candidates most likely to succeed economically.
Maximum CRS Points Available
|Core/Human Capital Factors
|Spouse or Common-Law Partner Factors
|Skill Transferability Factors
|Additional Points Factors
In category-based draws, IRCC targets Express Entry candidates in a specific federal economic immigration program or occupation to meet Canada’s economic needs.
However, candidates still need to meet the minimum CRS cut-off score. Category-based draws help streamline and speed up the immigration process for in-demand categories of applicants.
Types of Express Entry Draws
There are three main types of Express Entry invitation rounds:
- General Draws: Top-ranked candidates across all programs are invited. This is the most common draw.
- Program-Specific Draws: Only candidates eligible for a specific program like the CEC are invited.
- Category-Based Draws: Candidates in certain categories like healthcare workers are targeted.
Is Express Entry Right for Me?
Express Entry may be suitable if you want to immigrate to Canada and:
- You have work experience in an in-demand occupation
- You have at least intermediate English and/or French skills
- You have a post-secondary degree or diploma
- You meet criteria for one of the three Express Entry immigration programs
Use IRCC’s free Come to Canada tool to see if you may be eligible.
Am I Eligible for Express Entry?
To qualify for Express Entry, you must meet the minimum criteria for one of these three economic immigration programs:
1. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
Eligibility requirements include:
- 1 year of continuous skilled work experience in last 10 years
- Education credential of at least a bachelor’s degree
- Advanced language skills in English and/or French – CLB 7/NCLC 7
- Intention to live outside Quebec
- Sufficient settlement funds
2. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
Key requirements are:
- Qualifying offer of employment in Canada or certificate in skilled trade
- 2 years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade in last 5 years
- Meet job requirements for NOC B skilled trades
- CLB 5 in English or French
3. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
Main criteria are:
- 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada in last 3 years
- Education credential of at least high school diploma or Certificat d’études secondaires
- CLB 7 in English or French
In addition, all applicants must:
- Intend to settle in province outside of Quebec
- Pass background, security and medical clearances
- Prove you have sufficient settlement funds
Use IRCC’s Express Entry eligibility tool to check if you may qualify.
How Does Express Entry Work?
Follow these key steps to immigrate to Canada through the Express Entry system:
Step 1: Create Express Entry Profile
First, create an online Express Entry profile outlining your skills, language ability, education, work experience and other details. IRCC will verify the information and determine your eligibility for one of the three Express Entry immigration programs.
If eligible, you enter the Express Entry pool to await the next invitation round.
Documents Needed for Express Entry Profile
- Language test results
- Educational credential assessment (if applicable)
- Records outlining work experience
- Proof of settlement funds (if required)
- Scanned passport pages
It is free to create an Express Entry profile.
Step 2: Get Ranked
Candidates in the Express Entry pool are scored and ranked using the CRS points system. Core factors like age, skilled work experience, education level and language ability are assessed and candidates given a CRS score out of 1,200 points.
The higher your human capital characteristics, the more CRS points you obtain, increasing your chances of receiving an invitation to apply in upcoming draws.
Step 3: Get Invited
Every few weeks, the highest ranked candidates are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence during Express Entry rounds of invitations.
Competition is stiff with minimum CRS cut-off thresholds ranging from early 500’s to mid 800’s depending on the draw.
Step 4: Apply for Permanent Residence
Candidates invited have 60 days to submit their electronic application for permanent residence through IRCC’s online portal.
A complete application includes forms, proof of language scores, educational credentials, police certificates and medical exam results. An upfront fee of $1,325 CAD must also be paid.
IRCC aims to process complete Express Entry applications within 6 months. Candidates approved receive Canadian permanent residence allowing them to live, work and study anywhere in Canada.
|Family of 3
|Family of 5
|Permanent residence application
|Right of Permanent Residence
*Approximate costs excluding transportation, immigration counsel fees etc.
Extra Points & Other Avenues
Candidates who don’t initially qualify for Express Entry or require alternative options can also explore Quebec skilled worker programs or over 100 different PNP streams across Canada.
Canada continues to welcome talented individuals through the Express Entry system who can help strengthen our economy and communities.
If you have the education, skilled work experience, language skills and other qualifications aligned with Express Entry requirements, submit your profile today and launch your new life in Canada!