Migrating to Canada through Canadian Express Entry: Everything You should

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Canada is a country that is not only known for its vast opportunities and thriving economy, but also for its friendly people, beautiful landscape and impeccable protection of lives and property. These enviable attributes have made it one of the highly sort after countries for migration enthusiasts across the globe. The Canadian Express Entry is one of the surest means of migrating to Canada.

Under its Immigration Levels Plan, Canada is now looking to welcome over 430,000 new immigrants each year, which is the highest level in its history. Out of this figure, 110,000 immigrants will arrive through Express Entry per year.

If you are looking forward to migrating to Canada, then you should consider applying for the Express Entry. This article is a compendium of everything you need to know about the Canadian Express Entry.

What is Canadian Express Entry?

The Canadian Express Entry Program was launched in 2015. It is an online immigration system used by the Federal Government of Canada to manage the applications of skilled workers who wish to become permanent residents of Canada. Based on the categories, eligible candidates are accepted through the Express Entry pool using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a points-based system the officials use to assess and rank candidates in the Express Entry pool based on a candidate’s age, education, work experience, language skills, and other factors. After a cut-off mark is placed, those whose mark reached or exceeded the cuff-off are invited to apply for permanent residence. Details of the process will be explained as we progress.

What are the categories of the Canadian Express Entry?

The Express Entry is categorized into 3 immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Federal Skilled Worker Program:

This program is for skilled workers with foreign work experience who want to immigrate to Canada permanently. In order to be eligible to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, potential candidates must meet the minimum requirements for work, language ability, and education and obtain at least 67 points under the program’s 100-point grid.

The minimum requirements for the FSWP are:

  • One year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in a skilled occupation classified under the  National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level 0, A, or B;
  • Validated language ability equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French across all abilities (reading, writing, listening, and speaking); and
  • Canadian educational credential (certificate, diploma, or degree) or foreign credential and Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)
  • Get at least 67 out of 100 points on the FSWP grid. The program’s grid assesses candidates based on factors that include age, education, work experience, arranged employment, language ability, and adaptability.
  • Meet the settlement funds criteria (if applicable). Candidates may need to demonstrate they have a certain amount of savings to support themselves financially upon arriving in Canada.

The Federal Skilled Trades Program:

The FSTP is for skilled workers who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade. In order to be eligible for the FSTP, you must:

  • have valid job offers of continuous, paid, full-time employment (at least 30 hours a week) from up to two employers in Canada for at least one year ORA certificate of qualification from a provincial or territorial body;
  • provide proof of basic language proficiency from a designated language testing organization, demonstrating that the applicant meets the minimum threshold set by IRCC — Canadian Level Benchmark (CLB) 5 for speaking and listening, CLB 4 for reading and writing;
  • have obtained 2 years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work) in the skilled trade in the five years before applying; and
  • be able to demonstrate the skills and experience and that they have performed the essential duties of the occupation.

*A certificate of qualification proves that a foreign national is qualified to work in a skilled trade occupation in Canada. With a certificate of qualification, applicants prove they have passed a certification exam or met all the requirements to practice their trade in a specific province or territory.

Skilled work experience eligible for the FSTP falls under the following categories of the National Occupational Classification (NOC):

  • Major Group 72: industrial, electrical, and construction trades,
  • Major Group 73: maintenance and equipment operation trades,
  • Major Group 82: supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production,
  • Major Group 92: processing, manufacturing, and utilities supervisors and central control operators,
  • Minor Group 632: chefs and cooks, and
  • Minor Group 633: butchers and bakers.

FSTP candidates must plan to reside outside the province of Quebec. The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers through a unique immigration system. If you plan on immigrating to Quebec, please visit the Quebec Skilled Worker Program page for more information

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC):

The CEC is for skilled workers who have Canadian work experience and want to become permanent residents. To be eligible for the CEC, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have obtained at least one year of skilled, professional, or technical work experience in Canada within 36 months of the application date; and
  • Meet or surpass a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5 (“initial intermediate”) for NOC B jobs or CLB 7 (“adequate intermediate proficiency”), for NOC skill level 0 or A jobs.
  • Plan to live and work outside of the province of Quebec (individuals with work experience in Quebec and who plan to reside in Quebec may apply to the Quebec Experience Class).

One year (or 12 months) of work experience is defined as at least 1,560 hours of skilled work in Canada. The 1,560 hours can be obtained through full-time and/or part-time work.

Applicants can remain in Canada throughout the application process. However, the Canadian Experience Class is also open to individuals who are no longer in Canada, provided that they submit their application within three years of leaving their job in Canada.

The Canadian Experience Class requirements are based on a pass or fail model. If the minimum requirements are met, the applicant is eligible to enter the Express Entry pool.

Note: Self-employment and work experience gained while you were a full-time student (for example, on a co-op work term) does not count under the CEC.

How to apply for the Canadian Express Entry (step by step)

Having touched on the basic info, here is a step-by-step guide on how you can get started:

Step 1: Find out if you’re eligible

The first step is to check the category of Canada Express Entry you are most qualified for. There are two ways to do that:  Answer a few questions to see if you meet the minimum requirements (you can check here) or read the detailed requirements for each program to know the one you are most qualified for.

Step 2: create and submit your profile on the website of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

After checking your eligibility, you will need to create your Express Entry profile on the IRCC website and submit for the Express Entry pool. While the Express Entry draws occur every two weeks, a candidate’s profile can only be valid for up to one year.

Step 3: Wait to see if you receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for permanent residence from IRCC.

If you’re eligible and have successfully submitted your profile, the officials will access your claims and award you the merited CRS score. After that, they will send Invitations To Apply (ITA) to the candidates with the highest scores in the pool.

Step 4: Submit your completed Application for Permanent Residence (APR)

If you are invited to apply, you’ll have 60 days to submit your application for permanent residency. So, immediately after you receive the ITA, Submit your completed Application for Permanent Residence (APR) to IRCC. You need to include your medical exam and police certificates as part of this step.  Once you fill out all sections of the APR online form and upload your necessary documents, the system will show you a list of fees you need to pay. This list includes the following:

  • processing fee for you and your family members
  • right of permanent residence fee
  • biometrics fee

Pay your fees through your online account. You’ll need a debit or credit card to do this.

For details on how much you can expect to pay, check the fees list.

Upon successful submission of your APR, IRCC will provide you with an Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR). Complete applications that have all supporting documents are processed mostly within 6 months or less.

Step 5: Submit Your Biometrics

The Government of Canada says anyone applying for permanent residence will need to give their biometrics and pay the fee regardless of whether they have provided biometrics in the past to support a visitor visa, study or work permit application, or a different application for permanent residence (provided they do not meet the requirement for exemption listed below). Hence, you will need to submit your biometrics once IRCC demands that you do so.

Step 6: Wait for the outcome

Within 6 months or less, officials of the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will assess your Application for Permanent Residence (APR). Once your application is approved, they will send you a Confirmation of Permanent Residence and a permanent resident visa, so you can travel to Canada and complete your landing.

For more information about the Express Entry, check the Canada official website here

Final Thought on Canadian Express Entry

Canada is, indeed, a perfect destination for immigrants and expatriates who hope to shape their careers and have a successful life. If such ambition resonates with you, do not hesitate to explore the Canadian Express Entry. It’s worth the time and efforts.



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