The Canadian Express Entry Program is a points-based immigration program for skilled professionals to work and settle in Canada. It awards points using the Comprehensive Ranking System on skills, experience, language skills, age, Canadian employment status, and provincial/territorial nomination. The higher your points, the higher your chances of receiving an invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian Permanent Residence. Generally, PR applications submitted through this program have processing times of 6 to 12 months or less.
Express Entry Program details
The Express Entry program has streamlined the Canada PR Visa process for prospective immigrants. It makes the selection process more transparent for skilled professionals across the globe.
Salient features of the program are:
- The Express Entry Program is completely online. There is no cap on the number of applicants that can apply. The program accepts applications throughout the year.
- The program manages and processes the applications for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.
- You must submit an online Expression of Interest (EOI) where you need to nominate an occupation under NOC Skill Types 0, A, or B.
- Your profile will be assigned a CRS score and will be put in the applicant pool, also known as the Express Entry Pool.
- Canadian provinces and employers have access to the Express Entry Pool and may target applicants that meet their needs.
- Candidates with the highest points are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) to apply for Canada PR.
- The number of ITAs issued is based on the annual intake determined by the Federal Govt. of Canada.
The Canadian Express Entry Program uses a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System to assess applicants. The main objective of this program is to identify candidates who have the maximum chance of success after they immigrate to Canada.
The first step towards Express Entry eligibility is to qualify for any one of the programs below:
- Federal Skilled Workers Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Canadian Experience Class
The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
Canada has a shortage of skilled workers in particular fields. The FSWP is designed for people who can fill these skill gaps in Canada, and therefore, they are selected to migrate to Canada.
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
The CEC is designed for people who have obtained at least one year of full-time skilled work experience in Canada in the recent 3 years. There are other eligibility requirements also to become eligible to apply under the Canada Express Entry Program.
The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
Applicants who have gained at least two years of full-time work experience in an eligible skilled trade can apply for Canada PR under this program.
The Express Entry points grid has a maximum score of 1200 and evaluates you and your spouse (if any) on your:
- The highest level of education
- Language skills
- Canadian work experience
- Canadian education
- Other work experience
- Skill transferability
- Other factors (siblings in Canada, provincial nomination, a job offer from Canada, etc.)
Candidates with the top scores are invited to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence.
Steps to apply for the Express Entry Program
Here are the steps to apply for Canada express entry:
Step 1: Complete your ECA
If you have done your education outside Canada, you must get your education assessed by the relevant authorities. This process is called the Educational Credential Assessment or ECA. The ECA proves that your educational qualifications are equivalent to those recognized in the Canadian educational system.
Step 2: Complete your language ability tests
The next step is to take one of the eligible English language proficiency tests like IELTS or CELPIP. You must score at least a CLB 7 which is equivalent to scoring 6 on each module in IELTS. Your IELTS or CELPIP test scores should be less than 2 years old when you apply under the Express Entry Program.
Candidates who know French get an edge over other applicants. French language tests like the Test de evaluation de Francians (TEF) will prove your proficiency in the language and you may score additional points for the same.
Step 3: Create your Express Entry profile
You have to submit an online Expression of Interest which will be your Express Entry profile. The profile must include details about your age, work experience, education, language skills, etc. You will be assigned a CRS score base on these details.
Eligible profiles are then placed in the Express Entry pool.
Step 4: Calculate your CRS score
If your profile is placed in the Express Entry pool, IRCC will rank it before every draw based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Criteria such as age, work experience, adaptability, etc. determine your CRS score. Top-scoring candidates are issued an Invitation to Apply for the Canada PR Visa.
Step 5: Get your Invitation to Apply (ITA)
When your profile is selected from the Express Entry pool, you will be issued an ITA by the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada).
Step 6: Submit your Canada PR Visa application
Within 60 days of receiving the ITA, you must submit your Canada PR Visa application. If you fail to do so, your ITA becomes void. Apart from the supporting documents, you must also submit your medicals and police clearance certificate at this time.
Step 7: Submit passport for Visa stamping
IRCC will review and verify your documents for a Canada PR. If you satisfactorily clear the verification, you will be notified to submit your passport for the stamping of your Canada PR Visa. Of course, you must also clear the health and character checks before being notified of passport submission.
Benefits of the Express Entry Program
Transparency is the biggest advantage of this immigration program. Applicants in the Express Entry Pool have a clear idea of the number of CRS points that they need to score to be eligible for the Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canada PR.
Candidates are better aware of the target score they should obtain to qualify for the ITA. If an applicant does not make the mark, they can always try and improve their CRS score. There are several ways to increase your CRS score, noteworthy among them are:
- Reappearing for your language test scores
- Getting more work experience or an additional degree
- Getting an offer of employment from Canada
- Applying for a provincial nomination