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Express Entry System

Updated: February 14th, 2024


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Reviewed by David Allon

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Edited by Kirat Sekhon

Previous Draw

February 14, 2023

3500 Total

422 Lowest СRS

284

Read More

Latest Draw

February 16, 2024

150 Total

437 Lowest СRS

285

Read More

Next Draw

February 2024

286

*Prediction Date

Read More

If you want permanent residency in Canada, Express Entry is likely your best option. The Canadian Express Entry system is one of the most popular immigration programs for skilled foreign workers due to the quick Express Entry processing times - the focus is on keeping families intact and the fantastic opportunities it can present to applicants.

What is the Canadian Express Entry System?

The Express Entry system was started in 2015 by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) - a division of the government of Canada which handles all Canadian immigration as a means of enabling skilled foreign workers and their families to become permanent residents in Canada as soon as possible. Because the Express Entry processing time is as little as six months, the Canadian economy desperately needs skilled workers in many occupations and industries throughout Canada.

According to its website, the Government of Canada is currently on track to meet its annual target of presenting 465,000 immigrants with permanent residency by the end of 2023. A significant portion of these was presented through the Express Entry system.

How Does the Canada Express Entry System Work?

How Does the Canada Express Entry System Work?

To gain permanent residency via Express Entry Canada, applicants must create an Express Entry profile. To make this profile, they need to enter the following specific details about themselves:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Language Skills
  • Work experience
  • Marital Status
  • Links to Canada

These details are calculated through the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to produce a CRS score. This score is out of 1200 and is calculated based on the above factors, as well as:

  • Skills Transferability
  • French Language Skills
  • If any of their post-secondary education was in Canada
  • If they have a Canadian job offer
  • If they have a Provincial Nomination

Once an applicant's score is determined, they enter an Express Entry pool. Every two weeks, there is an Express Entry draw where all applicants with a score higher than a certain number are presented with an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency in Canada. The minimum requirements change with each draw, depending on the size and strength of the Express Entry pool at the time of the interest. 

Keep Up To Date With The Latest Express Entry Draw

It's of the utmost importance that all applicants keep up to date with the results of the most recent Express Entry draws. This is not only a means to help alert applicants to the status of their Express Entry profile but also helps to isolate the direction the score requirements are going. 

Once an applicant gets their ITA, they will have 60 days to submit their supporting documentation, pay their processing fees and submit their final Canada Express Entry application to become a Canadian permanent resident. If there are no issues, the applicant should receive their permanent residence card in as little as six months.

What are the Express Entry Programs?

The Express Entry system is made up of three programs. These programs are as follows:

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The FSWP is specifically for skilled workers with a degree or equivalent from a recognized tertiary educational institution. 

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The FSTP is specifically for skilled tradespeople with a recognized diploma or certified job-specific training. 

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The CEC is specifically for skilled workers living and working in Canada for at least 12 consecutive months via a study permit, work permit, or Working Holiday Visa

How to Apply for Express Entry Canada

How to Apply for Express Entry Canada

Your journey to permanent residency can be broken down into five steps.

Step 1: Fulfill the Express Entry Canada Requirements

The first crucial step of your Canada Express Entry application process is to fulfil the Express Entry Canada requirements.

Each of the Express Entry Programs has its specific requirements, but to be considered for any Express Entry Program, there are a few immovable requirements.

Work Experience

To be eligible for an Express Entry Program, an applicant must have at least one year of continuous full-time (or the equivalent hours in part-time) professional work experience.

Often, for the IRCC to consider an applicant's work experience valid, the applicant must get a National Occupational Classification (NOC). Every occupation has a different NOC code. 

As specific jobs are in very high demand in Canada, the IRCC tends to offer ITAs to those with in-demand jobs, even if they have slightly lower CRS scores than those whose jobs aren't in demand. For your convenience, here's a directory of the top in-demand jobs in Canada.

Language Ability

Express Entry applicants must demonstrate a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of seven in one of the Canadian official languages - English or French.

The CLB accepts several tests for each language. Therefore, an applicant's CLB is determined based on their language test results.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) for English exist.

For French, there are the Test d'Evaluation de Français (TEF) and the Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF).

Both tests cover four significant pillars of language:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking

What is IELTS?

The IELTS is the world's most recognized English language testing system - it is not only a valid test for entrance to Canada. Still, it can also be required for specific jobs and educational institutions.

If you feel IELTS is the direction for you, an IELTS Course might help you get the best possible result from your language test.

What is CELPIP?

While CELPIP isn't as widely recognized, it's far more accessible. You can sit the test online from any country, and the Canadian government fully accepts it.

Find out which of the Canadian Language Benchmark Tests are right for you.

Tertiary Education

The applicant must have completed a post-secondary qualification equivalent to Canadian standards via an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

The FSTP participants and those planning to work in regulated occupations like medicine - these participants may need their skills and training assessed by a Canadian government agency.

Criminal Record

Applicants must have no criminal record, as shown by obtaining a clear police background check. Here's a simple breakdown if you want to know what crimes will make you entirely inadmissible to Canada.

Medical Certification

Applicants must be in good health, as shown through a medical exam by a certified medical professional. This is done to ensure that excessive pressure is not being placed on Canada's public health system.

Learn more about what medical issues could cause you to be inadmissible to Canada.

Travel Documents

All applicants must have a legitimate and valid travel document, such as a passport, to submit an Express Entry profile.

Applicants must ensure all their documents remain valid throughout the Express Entry process. The IRCC will ask the applicant for valid documentation if a document is invalid. This will massively extend the length of the Express Entry processing time.

If you fulfil these requirements, you start on the right foot. However, you still need to satisfy the requirements of your Express Entry Program. 

Step 2: Calculate Your CRS Score

Once you've ensured your eligibility, working out your CRS score is an excellent idea before submitting your application. Knowing your CRS score will give you a clear picture of how well you'll likely do in the coming Express Entry draws. The best way to do this is via our CRS calculator.

However, a CRS calculator is only an educated estimate of your CRS score. If you want the most accurate estimate of your CRS score and advice to help you get it to the level you need, your best choice is still working with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). An RCIC can help determine your eligibility for Express Entry by assisting you in creating an Express Entry profile using an online platform that identifies your skills and qualifications. They can also guide you through the eligibility requirements for the Express Entry programs.

If you want to ensure the best score possible before applying, here's a guide on improving your CRS score and all the major and minor ways to ensure you have the best chance to move to Canada. 

Step 3: Gather Your Documents

Once you've ensured your eligibility and maximized your CRS score, it's time to create your Express Entry profile. However, you need to assemble many documents to represent your details accurately. Therefore, it also helps to have your documents sourced before you apply. Once you get your ITA, you will only have 60 days to source all of them. The documents needed are as follows:

  • Passport
  • National Occupation Classification (NOC)
    • This is the Canadian classification for your current job, explicitly referring to the type and level of your employment.
  • Education credential assessment report
    • This assessment is done on your education to ensure it matches Canadian standards.
  • Recent language tests;
  • Proof of funds showing sufficient settlement funds
  • Police certificates;
  • Results of a medical exam from certified health professionals;
  • Job letters from past employers legitimize your work experience.
  • Canadian job offer (If you have one)
  • Provincial Nomination (If you have one)

Note that applicants must remain honest in their information. Failure to do so will result in the application being delayed and rejected.

Ask An RCIC

What are the Best Ways to Validate Your Documents for Canadian Immigration Applications?

You should send them to an RCIC to check if the documents you have are suitable for the immigration program you're applying for.

Step 4: Create Your Express Entry Profile

Once you have all your documentation and are satisfied with your CRS score, create your Express Entry profile on the Canadian government website.

Step 5: Get an ITA, Pay Your Fees, and Apply

Once your Express Entry profile is complete, you must monitor every draw to see the minimum requirement and whether you'll be eligible for your ITA. You'll be notified on your profile if you receive an ITA.

Once you've received your ITA, you'll have 60 days to pay your processing fees and submit corroborating documentation.

The processing fees are as follows:

Fee CA$
Application Processing Fee 850
Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) 515
Include a dependent child (per child) 230

Keep in Mind

Each adult has to pay their fees: you need to pay processing fees for yourself and your partner if you bring a partner. 

After You Apply

Once your procedure is finalized, your application lodged, and your CRS rating enhanced, the only thing remaining is the duration of the Express Entry processing. The Canadian government, known for its efficiency, is likely to conclude the processing of your application in less than half a year. However, you should be cautious of certain factors that could prolong the Express Entry processing duration. These include:

  • Misinformation or unverified details
  • Issues related to safety or criminal records
  • The necessity for additional background scrutiny
  • Ambiguous family circumstances
  • Unfinished divorce or adoption processes
  • Unsettled matters concerning child custody
  • The need for further documentation or a mandated interview

Most of these issues arise from the applicant's inadequate supply of information. You must maintain the accuracy of your information or anything that might influence your CRS score by updating it on the IRCC Webform. You can monitor the status of your application via the secure accounts portal on the IRCC website.

Be aware that the Express Entry processing duration can vary based on the volume of applications, system load, and the quota of applicants permitted to receive ITAs.

Also, how long your application takes will vary wildly depending on your chosen program, eligibility, and country of origin. Learn more about Canadian immigration processing times here.

Pros and Cons of the Canadian Express Entry System

Pros and Cons of the Canadian Express Entry System

Pros:

  • It's the fastest way to gain Permanent residency in Canada
  • It's relatively inexpensive compared to other immigration programs
  • Bringing your family with you is not only possible but recommended
  • The process is entirely online and can be done anywhere in the world
  • You don't necessarily need a Canadian job to apply

Cons:

  • Applicants need a certain level of education to apply
  • Applicants need a specific amount of work experience to apply
  • Applicants need to be of a certain wage bracket to apply
  • Regardless of the CRS score, certain occupations are prioritized over others in the Express Entry draw.

FAQs

What is a Provincial Nominee Program?

A Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is both an immigration program in its own right and a means of potentially adding up to 600 points to your CRS score. This will essentially guarantee you receive your ITA at the next draw.

In Canada, different provinces require foreign workers with different skill sets as Canada's workforce in certain areas can't provide for some of the gaps in the labor market. As a result, 11 out of Canada's 13 provinces offer PNPs. Each nomination program has different requirements. For example, some provinces require you to live in the province to apply. It is best to check each province's requirements online before deciding which PNP To apply for. Getting a nomination largely depends on your occupation and whether or not it's in demand in that province. Consult the map below to see where your skills are needed most.

To apply for a provincial nomination, you need to submit an expression of interest for the province you want to live in when you create your Express Entry profile or use it directly to that province.

Learn how to get your PNP.

Is Express Entry Canada Open?

Yes, the Canadian Federal Government did restrict it at the beginning of the pandemic due to the excessive backlog of applicants that needed to be cleared. However, Express entry draws were reopened on July 6, 2022, occurring approximately every two weeks since. 

All Aboard The Canadian Express!

You have everything you need to start your journey to permanent residency in Canada. If you're eligible, getting on board with the Express Entry program can be fast and relatively painless. The most important thing is to ensure you're well-prepared to move to Canada before you apply. To help ensure your eligibility, validate your documentation, improve your CRS score, and benefit through every step of your Canada Express Entry application process, you should talk to an RCIC. Using an RCIC can help simplify obtaining permanent residency in Canada through Express Entry by providing expert guidance and support.

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