Express Entry FAQ's

Express Entry

Q. What is Express Entry?

The electronic system utilized to manage applications of skilled workers wanting to become permanent residents of Canada is known as Express Entry.

While not being an immigration program in itself, it enables the selection and administration of the economic immigration programs of Canada.

These programs are as follows:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Class (earlier known as the Federal Skilled Worker Program)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Class (earlier known as the Federal Skilled Trades Program)
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • A few Provincial Nominee Programs

From the pool of applicants formed under these programs, Canadian employers and federal and provincial governments select candidates who are sent an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian immigration.

Q. How long does the Express Entry process take?

The period of validity for a profile created under the Express Entry system is up to one year. Most applications for permanent residency by candidates with ITA are processed by the Canadian government within six months.

However, if any candidate fails to receive an ITA within a year of having created their profile in the Express Entry system, they can submit their profile again if they still meet the eligibility requirements.

Q. Why is it called Express Entry?

The application processing time period aimed for by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is within six months from the date of submission. Thus, it is called Express Entry.

Q. How much does Express Entry cost?

It is free.

Q. What is an Express Entry profile?

This self-declared profile is created by candidates to show their Expression of Interest (EOI) in coming to Canada.

The profile comprises information regarding their:

  • Personal data
  • Language abilities
  • Work experience
  • Education level

All of these are based on the candidate’s own assessment of their personal information.

Q. How does Express Entry work?

There are two main stages of this system.

  1. First – eligible candidates express their interest in getting permanent residency in Canada to the Canadian government
  2. Second – the Canadian government sends an invitation of immigration to the highest-scoring candidates

Read the steps given here to understand the steps to Express Entry profile submission and getting a Canadian permanent residence visa.

  1. Check your eligibility regarding Express Entry.
  2. Go in for a language test and get your Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) done.
  3. Visit the IRCC website and submit your profile.
  4. It’s time to wait! You shall have to wait and see if you get an ITA from the IRCC.
  5. Once you get the ITA, you have to complete your Application for Permanent Residence (APR), submit it to the IRCC, and then pay the fees – all within the specified deadline. Included in this step are medical examination and police certifications as well. Once these are submitted, you shall receive an Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) from the IRCC.
  6. You have to submit your biometrics to the IRCC, upon asking.
  7. It is time to wait once again! The IRCC will now take the ultimate decision on your APR. Once it is approved, you will receive:
  • a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR)
  • a permanent resident visa (if you belong to a country that requires a visa)

Now you can travel to Canada and finish your landing.

Q. Do I need to hire an immigration consultant for Express Entry?

While there is no legal need to do so, it is advantageous to use a consultant to ease the entire process and enhance your chances of migratory success.

For a modest fee, these consultants can offer advice on several pertinent issues, such as:

  • how to get the maximum possible Comprehensive RankingSystem (CRS) points
  • profile submission
  • preparation of permanent residence application once you get an ITA

And more.

Q. What do I need to submit my Express Entry profile?

You may be asked to submit the following:

  • passport/travel document
  • results of language test/s
  • proof of Canadian education/Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report

Q. Can I update my Express Entry profile after submitting it?

Yes, you can. If your profile is eligible, you can update it after submission.

Q. How can I complete a language test for Express Entry?

The IRCC has authorized the following tests for Express Entry:

For the English language

  • CELPIP General
  • IELTS General Training

For the French language

  • TEF Canada: Testd’Evaluation de Français (TEF)
  • TCF Canada: Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF)

You have to complete any of these four. The score you get stands valid for two years.

Q. Can I combine my language test scores for Express Entry?

No, you can’t do that. However, you may take a test several times and submit your best score.

Q. How can I obtain an ECA for Express Entry?

The IRCC has designated certain bodies you can get your ECA done from. These are:

  • World Education Services
  • Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service
  • International Credential Evaluation Service
  • Medical Council of Canada (a professional body for doctors)
  • Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (a professional body for pharmacists)

Q. Do I need to include my proof of settlement funds in my Express Entry profile?

Yes, this has to be included in your profile. You have to show your financial ability to be able to support yourself and your family in Canada to the Canadian government.

Q. I was previously ineligible but now I am eligible for Express Entry. What should I do?

As ineligible profiles are invalid and cannot be changed, you will have to create a new profile and submit it.

Q. What do I need to do if I get an ITA for permanent residence?

The IRCC will ask for certain documents from you, such as:

  • Birth certificate
  • Valid passport
  • Language test results
  • ECA results
  • Police clearance certificates
  • Medical examination results

And more. You have to submit all of these and pay the requisite fee.

Q. Once a candidate is in the pool, can he or she change the information on his or her profile?

Yes, they can. If there are any changes in their status, they are required to update their profile to reflect the same. These could be in language ability, work experience, education credentials, or others.

Q. Do I need a Canada job offer under Express Entry?

No, you don’t. While getting a job offer does not guarantee your success, it does increase your CRS score.

Q. Do Express Entry immigrants find good jobs in Canada?

Yes, they do.

The IRCC did a study in 2020 which found that Express Entry immigrants achieved great success in the Canadian job market.

Q. Can my family come with me under Express Entry?

Yes. Included in this are your:

  • Wife/Husband/Common-law partner
  • Dependent children
  • Spouse’s/Common-law partner’s dependent children
  • Dependent children of dependent children

All accompanying family members will also receive a permanent residence along with you if you gain success under the Express Entry system.

Q. What makes a job offer valid under Express Entry?

According to the IRCC, a valid job offer should be:

  • a full-time, and not seasonal, job
  • for at least one year
  • a skilled job that falls under NOC 0, A, or B
  • a recent one (for example, within the last one year)
  • not from an embassy, consulate, or high commission
  • supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

The job offer must be a written one. It should outline the following:

  • Your duties
  • Pay
  • Conditions of employment (such as the number of hours you will work, etc.)

All valid job offers under:

  1. NOC skill types 0, A, or B are awarded 50 additional CRS points.
  2. NOC skill type 00 is eligible for 200 additional CRS points.

Q. Which Express Entry job offers are exempt from requiring an LMIA?

It is not required if these three conditions are met:

  • You have worked full-time for the employer on your work permit for at least one year. / You have worked part-time for the employer for an equivalent length of time as one year.
  • The job offer fulfills other validity requirements, such as:
  • It falls under NOC 0, A, or B skill type.
  • It is recent (e.g., within the last 1 year).
  • It is from a diplomatic mission in Canada.
  • Your work permit is exempt from an LMIA under an international agreement, such as:
  • CUSMA (earlier known as NAFTA)
  • A federal-provincial agreement
  • If it is under the ‘Canadian interests’ category

Q. I am already working in Canada. Does this count as a job offer?

No. A work permit is not considered a job offer.

Under Express Entry, a job offer is valid if:

Among other eligibility requirements,

  • Your employer has given you a written full-time job offer for one year or more.
  • You receive permanent residence approval, and your employer obtains an LMIA if required.
  • The job offer falls under LMIA-exemption.

Q. Is 450/460/470/480 a good CRS score?

The cut-off score is dynamic, which means it varies from draw to draw.

Aim at maximizing your CRS score. For this, you must claim all the points you are eligible for, whether they are for your education, work experience, language skills, or others. In case your current CRS score is too low, take the necessary steps to improve it.

Q. What does ‘invitation to apply’ mean?

Any candidate in the Express Entry pool who has been selected by the IRCC to apply to Canadian immigration is offered an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Q. Are there invitation rounds?

There are draws from the pool of applicants in which a few candidates are issued ITAs for Canadian permanent residency; however, the times or days of these draws are not known to them.

Q. Are there any eligible occupation lists for any of the programs under Express Entry?

No. To be eligible, the candidate must have work experience in occupation under a National Occupation Classification (NOC) code of skill type 0, A, or B.

Q. What role do Canadian employers play under Express Entry?

They play a major role.

If a candidate gets a job offer supported by LMIA, which shows that the employer tried to employ Canadian citizens and permanent residents for the position, an additional 50 or 200 points are given to them on the basis of job level.

Q. Does a candidate need a job offer in order to immigrate to Canada under Express Entry?

While this is not necessarily so, getting a valid job offer from a Canadian employer does considerably enhance their chances of receiving an ITA.

Q. How long does a candidate have to submit an application if he or she receives an invitation to apply for permanent residence?

The time period is 60 days – from the moment an ITA is issued to a candidate. They have to submit their supporting documents and complete their electronic application. While this has been temporarily increased to 90 days due to the coronavirus pandemic, all candidates must start collecting the documents and putting them in order well in advance.

Q. What supporting documentation needs to be submitted once a candidate has been invited to apply for permanent residence?

These are:

  • birth certificate
  • language test results
  • Educational Credential Assessment (if applicable)
  • Work references
  • Security background checks
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • A few other documents

Q. Are candidates required to get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)?

This is required in the following cases:

  1. If a candidate wants to be considered for draws related to the Federal Skilled Worker Class (unless they got post-secondary education in Canada).
  2. It is optional for those looking to apply to the Federal Skilled Trades Class or Canadian Experience Class. It increases their CRS points and enhances their chances of being drawn from the pool.

Q. Do candidates know their points total and rank in the Express Entry pool?

While they know their score or points total, they do not know their rank.

They know the minimum required score for the most recent draw, though, and have a target to meet or surpass to receive an ITA.

Q. Are there limits to the number of immigrants Canada will take in for certain occupations?

Not as of now. There may, however, be quotas in place for certain skill levels and/or occupations in the future.

Q. Is Express Entry the only way for an international worker to live and work in Canada?

No, it is not. There are a few others too.

  • Some Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are processed through Express Entry. Candidates for the others can apply directly if they meet eligibility requirements based on local and regional labor market needs. Barring a few exceptions, most PNP streams ask that the candidate should have a valid job offer before they immigrate to Canada. Those who achieve success enter Canada as permanent residents.
  • Some candidates arrive as temporary foreign workers for certain employment opportunities. Most of these require LMIA processing, however.
  • In some cases, an employer may be exempt from getting an LMIA. Canada has entered into international exchange programs with some countries and their candidates are quite young (say 30-35 years of age), depending on nationality. These candidates get a temporary open work permit.
  • Many students want to study in Canada, and, upon completion of their studies, some provinces allow them to apply for permanent residence under a PNP. Yet another option for them is to get a Post-Graduation Work Permit, which would help them to ultimately apply for permanent residence.

Q. Can candidates wishing to live and work in Quebec enter the Express Entry system?

They are not triaged through Express Entry. The only exception is if the applicant will work outside of Quebec for a Quebec-based company.

Q. Are Bridging Open Work Permits (BOWPs) continued under Express Entry?

Yes, these are available under Express Entry. For these, the candidate has to get an approval-in-principle of their application before applying for the work permit.

Q. What happens to candidates who have a birthday after they receive an invitation to apply but before they submit their application for permanent residence?

If an applicant’s birthday falls on a day between the receipt of an ITA and submission of application for permanent residence, it may lower their CRS score below the lowest score in the draw. Another issue is the applicant may no longer meet the minimum requirements.

In such cases, IRCC officers apply a public policy to exempt these permanent residency applicants from certain age-based requirements. This public policy also grants an exemption to applicants who may stand refusal on Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program requirements for change of age between receiving an ITA and submitting an application.

So, a candidate’s age is considered locked in once an ITA has been issued.

Q. Can a candidate immigrate to Canada having been selected by an employer, then leave his new job position shortly after arriving in Canada to work for another employer?

Once in Canada, a candidate becomes a permanent resident. They have the same employment rights as Canadian workers, enjoy protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and follow the relevant labor laws. They have the same freedom to change employment as is enjoyed by Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

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