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Beginning of 2015, the Express Entry system was launched to become this completely electronic immigration selection system, replacing the old paper application process. It has been conceived with the intention of ranking economic immigration candidates, where only those with the highest scores are invited to apply for permanent residence. This article will let you know what the Express Entry program is exactly and how it works.
Overview of Express Entry
Many aspirants assume Express Entry is a new immigration program. This is not the case. In simple terms, it is a new electronic system that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses to manage and select applications for permanent residence under 3 programs that were already in existence for several years:
Under Express Entry, processing times have shrunk compared to the previous paper-based system. IRCC processes most of the applications in less than a few months. It could be as little as under a month from receiving the Acknowledgment of Receipt (when submitting supporting documents), and could go up to six months if there is no problem with the application. Some applicants do however have processing times that go beyond the 6-month limit, especially in cases where there are changes in an applicant's profile (such as marriage, childbirth, ...).
How does it work?
You can follow our step-by-step guide to apply under the Express Entry system here.
- You need first to be eligible to at least 1 of the 3 programs: FSW, CEC, or FST. You can check your eligibility by following our guide.
- If you are eligible, you can then create a profile with your personal information and qualifications. You will be attributed a score (max 1,200) based on the information given. The Express Entry score is constructed following the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), that uses, amongst other factors, your professional experience, educational credentials, language skills, if you have a qualifying job offer or a provincial nomination or have family in Canada. It is possible to boost your score and the likelihood to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), you can check how to improve your CRS score. For more information on how the CRS score is calculated, follow our guide.
- Express Entry draws are operated periodically (generally every 2 weeks, sometimes 3 or 4 weeks) by IRCC. You will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) only if you score is above the one given in the draw. If you received an ITA, you will then have 60 days to complete your application online, include your supporting documents and pay your fees. Follow our guide to find out which documents you would need.
Important information to keep in mind
- If you are in the pool and did not receive an ITA yet, you are allowed to modify your information in order to increase your Express Entry rank. If you are not issued an ITA under a year from entering the pool, your profile will automatically be deleted.
- CRS scores vary at almost every draw, you can check here about the latest draw and all the CRS scores from all the draws that occurred since the beginning of the program.
- To be awarded CRS points for language ability and education, you will need to pass English and/or French tests, and if you education credential is not from Canada, request an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from an IRCC-approved third-party.
- Except if you are a CEC eligible candidate or have a valid job offer, you will need to prove that you have sufficient funds in your possession to settle in Canada. The funds cannot be borrowed as you are required to provide a letter from your bank showing the average balance over the last 6 months. For example, for a single candidate with no kids applying in 2018, you will need to prove you have the equivalent of $12,474 in your bank account.
- If you have a job offer, apart from limited exceptions (intracompany transferees, ...), you will most probably need a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Learn more here.