Area of Law: Immigration Law
Answer # 688
Express Entry systemRegion: Ontario Answer # 688
Canada changed its economic immigration to an online management system starting January 2015. Skilled foreign workers who fall into any of the following categories (or streams) now have to apply under the Express Entry system:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Canadian Experience Class
- Portions of Certain Provincial Nominee Programs
Candidates who qualify under one of the above streams are required to upload a profile on the Express Entry system, which essentially is an expression of their interest in applying for permanent residence in Canada. The government then periodically selects candidates from the online pool of applicants, based on their Comprehensive Ranking System score.
Candidates who are invited to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system in most cases benefit from fast processing times of six months or less. Express Entry also provides a pathway for skilled workers to connect with potential job opportunities in Canada prior to arrival.
Changes effective 2020
As of 2020, French-speaking and bilingual candidates will receive additional points towards qualifications under the Express Entry system in order to help increase Francophone immigration outside Quebec.
With this change, the current number of points has increased from 15 to 25 for French-speaking candidates and from 30 to 50 points for bilingual candidates.
How Express Entry works
1. Create an online Express Entry profile
In creating their online Express Entry profile, candidates will:
- Express their interest in coming to Canada as a skilled foreign worker, and
- Tell Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) about their skills, work experience, language ability, education and other details.
Before creating an Express Entry profile with IRCC, the candidate will need to take a language test in English or French. If the person was educated outside of Canada, he or she may also need to have their education assessed against Canadian standards.
If the candidate does not already have a Canadian job offer or a nomination from a province or territory, he or she must register with the Government of Canada’s Job Bank. Job Bank is an easy, online search tool that assists in matching jobs and workers in Canada, based on the individual’s skills, knowledge and experience.
Express Entry profiles are valid for 12 months. During that time, the candidate will need to update his or her profile if circumstances change, such as the level of education or language test results.
Express Entry Pool
Candidates who meet the criteria of one of the federal economic immigration programs available through the Express Entry system, will be placed in a pool of pre-screened candidates. The Express Entry Pool is the term used to identify all of these pre-screened candidates.
All candidates who have uploaded profiles are given a score to determine their place in the Express Entry pool. Scores are determined by using a Comprehensive Ranking System that includes factors known to contribute to economic success (such as language, education, and work experience).
There are regular draws of candidates from the pool, inviting them to apply for permanent residence. Candidates with the highest scores, including those who have a valid job offer or a provincial or territorial nomination, will be invited to apply.
It is important to note that filling out an online Express Entry profile does not guarantee that the candidate will qualify for permanent residence. If the candidate is invited to apply for permanent residence, information provided in the Express Entry profile will be verified at that time.
2. Submit application for permanent residence
Selected candidates will be invited to submit an electronic application for permanent residence.
Candidates will receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence if they:
- have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada (subject to the Labour Market Impact Assessment process in place at that time),
- have been nominated by a province or territory, or
- are among the top ranked in the pool based on their skills and experience.
IRCC will process the majority of complete permanent residence applications within six months or less from the date they are received. Visit IRCC for a complete list of application fees.
Candidates in the Express Entry pool who do not receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence after 12 months of uploading their profile, can resubmit their profile and re-enter the pool if they still meet the criteria.
Temporary changes due to COVID-19
Due to the current pandemic, the Government of Canada has implemented temporary changes to various immigration programs and procedures. For the most up-to-date information, visit canada.ca.
For more information on the Express Entry system, language and education assessments, and the Comprehensive Ranking System criteria, visit the IRCC website. To find foreign consulates and embassies in your province, click here.
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