What is Express Entry?
Find out how the system works and the three federal immigration streams
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Express Entry is the new, completely electronic, selection system for Canadian immigration, designed to select skilled workers for immigration to Canada. Only candidates with the highest rankings are invited to apply for permanent residency. This article will let you know what the Express Entry program is and how it works.
Many aspirants assume Express Entry is a new immigration program. This is not the case, as Express Entry is not an ‘immigration program’ in itself. 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, individuals and families wishing to settle in Canada can become new permanent residents within just a few months. It could be as little as under a month from receiving you Acknowledgment of Receipt (submitting your documents), and could go up to six months if there is no problem with your application.
How does it work?
You can follow our step-by-step guide to apply under the Express Entry program here.
- You need first to be eligible under at least one of the three classes: FSW, CEC, or FST. You can check you eligibility by following our guide.
- Eligible individuals then submit an Expression of Interest. You will be issued a ranking score based on your Expression of Interest. The ranking score for Express Entry is based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Under the CRS, candidates are assigned a score out of 1,200. It ranks candidates based on, amongst other factors, their professional experience, educational credentials, language skills, if they have a qualifying job offer or a provincial nomination in Canada or have family in Canada. Candidates can improve their rank, and thereby increase their chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA), by taking steps to improve their CRS score. For more information on how the CRS score is calculated, follow our guide.
- IRCC operates Express Entry draws at regular intervals (usually every two weeks, can be a month). In these Express Entry draws, candidates above a certain rank given in the draw are invited to apply, they are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Invited candidates are given 90 days to submit an online application for permanent residence, including all supporting documentation. Follow our guide to find out which documents you would need.
Important information to keep in mind
- Candidates in the pool who have not been selected are able to improve their Express Entry profile and score. If candidates are not issued an Invitation to Apply under a year from entering the pool, their profile will automatically be deleted.
- CRS scores vary at almost each 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, it need to be validated by Service Canada. This may be through the acquisition of a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), or by having a valid job offer as an Intra-Company transferee. Learn more here.