Express Entry: Canada's New Immigrant Selection System
Express Entry is Canada’s new immigrant selection system, which aims to make the immigration process quicker and easier for candidates and Canadian employers. Under Express Entry’s online system, candidates are ranked based on their ability to establish themselves economically in Canada. Successful candidates can become Canadian Permanent Residents in less than 6 months.
How to Immigrate to Canada with Express Entry
1. Qualify for a Federal or Provincial Immigration Program
To enter the Express Entry pool, you must first qualify under one of the eligible economic programs:
- The Federal Skilled Worker program. The most popular program, suitable for most skilled workers.
- The Federal Skilled Trades program, for candidates in select skilled trade occupations.
- The Canadian Experience Class, for candidates who already have Canadian work experience.
- The Provincial Nominee Program, for candidates who have been nominated by a Province or Territory.
You can find out which immigration programs you qualify for with a free online assessment.
2. Prepare your Documents
Before creating an Express Entry Profile, you must provide the results of an approved language exam, completed in the past 2 years. Approved exams for English are:
- IELTS General Training (the Academic test is not accepted)
- CELPIP-General (General-LS is not accepted)
While not required at this stage, we recommend preparing
- Educational Credential Assessment. An ECA report is required for any educational credentials (such as degrees or diplomas) that were obtained outside of Canada. An ECA report states that your educational credential is equivalent to Canadian standards, and valid for Canadian immigration.
- Employment Documentation. All work experience that you claim under Express Entry must be proven through documentation, such as employment letters. If you haven't already, you should begin gathering these documents and contacting past employers, if necessary.
3. Submit your Expression of Interest (EOI) and enter the Express Entry pool
If you are eligible for one of the federal or provincial immigration programs, and have completed your language test, you can enter the Express Entry pool.
The first step is to create an online Express Entry Profile. Your profile contains information such as your age, language ability, education, work experience, and family ties to Canada. You will be given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, based on these factors. Highly desirable factors in the CRS score are a job offer from a Canadian employer, and a Provincial Nomination.
If you do not already have a job offer or a Provincial Nomination, you should also register with Canada’s Job Bank database. Like a resume, your Job Bank profile includes information on your employment skills and experience. Canadian employers can review your profile and make you a job offer, which will boost your CRS score.
4. Receive an Invitation to Apply
The highest ranking candidates in the Express Entry pool, and those with valid job offers or provincial nominations, will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Permanent Residence. Immigration and Citizenship Canada issues and publishes regular rounds of invitations.
Once receiving an ITA, you will have 60 days to submit an electronic application for Permanent Residence, along with necessary supporting documents. Candidates in the Express Entry pool who to not receive an ITA after 12 months, can re-submit their profile and re-enter the pool if they still meet the minimum requirements.
5. Become a Permanent Resident
In this final stage, you will be required to submit these documents along valid passports for you and your dependents:
- Medical tests
- Police certificates
- Proof of work experience and job offers
- Proof of the necessary funds to support you and your family (if applying under the Federal Skilled Worker program)
Once your application is accepted, you will recieve your passport, along with a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). After taking this document to an officer at the port of entry to Canada, or an IRCC office, your permanent residence will be officially granted!
Alternative Paths to Canadian Immigration
Some candidates will find they do not have quite enough CRS points to ensure an invitation. In this case, coming to Canada first as a temporary resident may be a suitable option.
After completing a study program in Canada, you will be eligible to receive a Post Graduation Work Permit of up to three years, which allows the holder to work for any employer in Canada.
Working in Canada as a temporary resident will get you in-Canada work experience, and improve your chances of a qualifying job offer. This will boost your CRS score, and could get you a Provincial Nomination - which virtually guarantees you will receive an Invitation to Apply in Express Entry.
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