While the Express Entry programs are the faster method of immigrating, not everyone may be eligible to apply. Here, our Ottawa and Orleans immigration physicians share some insight into the immigration process and how to apply for Express Entry in Canada.
Since 2015, Express Entry Canada has been the guiding force behind quick and efficient immigration for skilled workers. It allows workers and their families to complete the immigration process in as little as a few months.
What is Express Entry Canada?
Express Entry is an immigration application method used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to manage and process applications for skilled workers who are applying for permanent residency.
Through the Express Entry Canada program, each application will be ranked against others allowing for the top-ranking applicants the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent resident status. This ranking system is based on their age, education, language proficiency, work experience, and other factors.
How to Apply For Express Entry
The steps to the Express Entry process are as follows:
Determine Your Eligibility
All applicants to the Express Entry program will need to be eligible under one of the following immigration programs:
- The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW)
- The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST)
While only part of these immigration programs are aligned with the Express Entry program you will still need to qualify under at least one of them to be considered for the Express Entry pool.
Some of the standard requirements for Express Entry include:
- At least 1 year of skilled work experience
- Proficiency on an approved language test in either English or French
- Screening for criminal history and medical issues
Create Your Express Entry Profile
If you are eligible and would like to apply you will need to submit an Express Entry profile to the application pool. This will be considered your Expression of Interest and your profile will then be scored and ranked among the other applicants.
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) which is used to choose applicants for Express Entry allows for up to 1,200 points. There are a number of options for applicants to improve their score allowing them a better chance at being chosen to apply for Express Entry.
Applicants may also receive extra points for already having a job offer or for being a provincial nominee.
Create an Optional Job Bank Profile
If an applicant to the Express Entry program is not a provincial nominee and does not have a job offer they can create a job bank profile to help look for potential job opportunities. While this step is not mandatory, it can be beneficial.
Receive Your Invitation to Apply
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will hold regular draws in which the selected applicants who meet certain criteria will be invited to apply for permanent residency. If 12 months have passed and the applicant's name has not been called they can then create a new profile and begin the process over again.
Focus on Improving your CRS score
If you are a candidate in the Express Entry pool and are waiting for your name to be selected you can spend some time improving your score. You can submit updated language scores, new educational credentials assessments, add additional work experience, and/or obtain a qualifying job offer or a provincial nomination. all of these can help to increase your chances of being selected during a draw.
Submit Your Permanent Residence Application
Applicants who have been selected will have 60 days to complete their application for permanent residency in Canada. This application will be an electronic form that contains all of your personal information and supporting documentation.
At this time you will need to wait for confirmation that your application has been accepted and once approved you will receive authorization to activate your permanent resident status in Canada. For most applicants, this can take around 6 months or less, although certain cases may take longer.
What is needed to create an Express Entry profile?
There are a number of documents you will need to submit when creating your Express Entry profile. These documents will all help to support your application.
Language Test: No matter which Express Entry program you apply to you will need to provide the official scores from an approved language test. This is to prove your proficiency in either English or French.
Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA): The ECA is an assessment used to evaluate non-Canadian education using Canadian standards. While educational standards are only required for the Federal Skilled Worker Program we recommend that applicants to all programs complete this as education is taken into consideration for the overall score. Note: An ECA is not required for educational programs completed in Canada.
Passport: You will need a valid passport in order to complete your Express Entry profile. In rare cases where applicants may be unable to obtain a passport other forms of identification may be used.
How do points affect your Express Entry application?
There are two main points in time when your points and rank will affect your application.
Prior to Entering the Express Entry Pool
The three programs that accept applicants from the Express Entry program are the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
The FST and CEC do not use a points system to determine eligibility for potential applicants while the FSW does.
It's important to note that the FSW point system is separate from the CRS score. To be eligible to enter the Express Entry pool under the FSW the applicant must meet a minimum requirement of 67 points out of 100.
Once Your Application Has Been Submitted
Once you have entered into the Express Entry pool your potential selection will be affected by your CRS score. This score determines your rank and the higher your score is the higher the likelihood of being invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada. The minimum points needed will vary depending on the Express entry program that you have applied to and can change with different draws and depending on the points held by other applicants.
How long is the Express Entry application process?
Express Entry programs focus on one thing – a faster immigration process for skilled workers. While the standard timeline for the Express Entry program is about 6 months, it can take more or less time depending on your specific circumstances.
Once you have met the requirements of the Express Entry program of your choice and been selected to apply for permanent residency you will need to complete a number of requirements including your Immigration Medical Examination.