Canada Express Entry is the most popular immigration system offering Canadian permanent residence, introduced by the federal government in January 2015 to replace the old “first come, first served” process.

What is Express Entry and how does it work?

Express Entry is not an immigration program in itself, it is actually an online system created to manage Canada’s immigration applications intake. 

Applicants who meet eligibility criteria submit an online profile known as an Expression of interest (EOI), under one of 3 federal Canada immigration programs or a participating provincial immigration program, to the Express Entry Pool.

Candidates’ profiles are ranked against each other according to a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranked candidates will be considered for an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Those receiving an ITA must quickly submit a full application and pay the processing fees, within a delay of 60-days. 

The federal government aims to process complete PR applications in only 6 months.

Online Express Entry profiles enable the Canadian government to assess whether a skilled immigration applicant is eligible to immigrate to Canada. In order to create an Express Entry profile, applicants must follow a number of steps.

Step 1: Take a Language Test

All the skilled immigration programs that are part of the Express Entry system require applicants to prove their knowledge in at least one of Canada’s two official languages, English or French. Skilled immigration applicants must thus complete a government-approved language test and include the test results in their profile.

Step 2: Get Your Foreign Education Credentials Assessed (if necessary)

Applicants who were educated outside of Canada should have their diplomas assessed in order to ensure that their foreign education is equivalent to a similar Canadian education. Obtaining a credential assessment is mandatory for anyone who wants to immigrate to Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker Program. The assessment is NOT mandatory if the applicant is applying under the Federal Skilled Trade Program or the Canadian Experience Class.

While a credential assessment is not mandatory for all Express Entry programs, a successful assessment can greatly increase an applicant’s chances of success regardless of the Express Entry program under which he or she applies. It is thus recommended that all applicants under all Express Entry programs obtain a credential assessment.

Step 3: Determine Your National Occupation Classification (NOC)

In order to successfully immigrate to Canada using the Express Entry system, all applicants must be able to show that their work experience meets the definition of an occupation that is included in Canada’s National Occupation Classification database.

Note: Only applicants with the following types of work experience may apply for immigration under the Express Entry System.

  • Skill Type 0 (Management Jobs)

  • Skill Level A (Professional Jobs)

  • Skill Level B (Technical Jobs and Skilled Trades)

Step 4: Determine Your Eligibility for Express Entry Immigration

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website contains an online tool that can help applicants determine whether or not they are eligible to use the Express Entry system. This tool must be used before an Express Entry profile can be created.

Note: In order to use the tool, applicants must:

Step 5: Build your Express Entry profile

If the online tool determines that you are eligible to apply for Express Entry immigration, you will be able to begin building your Express Entry profile.

Applicants must provide the following information in their Express Entry profiles

  • Identity and age

  • Contact Information

  • A detailed account of their educational history

  • A detailed account of their work experience

  • Language proficiency

  • Factors that facilitate their adaptability to life in Canada

  • Family composition

  • Information on their spouse or common-law partner, if applicable

In order to successfully complete a profile, applicants must also have in hand:

  • Their passport or travel document

  • The title and code of the occupation that best describes their work experience as stated in the National Occupation Classification Database.

  • Language test results.

  • Foreign Educational Credential assessment result, if necessary.

  • A copy of a written job offer from a Canadian employer (if the applicant has been offered a job).

  • Proof of provincial nomination for permanent residence (if the candidate has received a provincial nomination).

  • Personal reference code from IRCC’s online eligibility verification tool (see step 4 above). All applicants will receive a reference code upon the successful use of the online tool.




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