Express Entry is the fastest and most popular way to immigrate to Canada and acquire Canadian permanent residence. Express Entry is an online system that manages and process applications for permanent residence from skilled workers under the following programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Canadian Experience Class
Express Entry is a highly competitive immigration system under which eligible candidates are ranked against each other according to a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranked candidates in each draw will be issued an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence.
Requirements to Apply to Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Worker Program
Followings are the minimum requirements to apply for Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Worker:
- Skilled work experience: you must have at least one year, in the last 10 years, of continuous full-time work experience (or equivalent in continuous part-time work) in a skilled occupation. Work experience of at least one year must be in the same job, and the job must be of skill type 0 or skill levels A or B of the Canadian National Occupational Classification.
- Language ability: you must show that you meet or exceed the language threshold of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) seven in either English or French with test results from a designated language testing organization.
- Education: you must provide an Educational Credential Assessment report from a designated organization to prove that your completed education is equivalent to either a Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate.
How to Apply for Express Entry
Express Entry application consists of two steps:
Create an Express Entry Profile
Candidates who meet all the minimum requirements for Express Entry can complete an online profile which includes various details about themselves, including their skills, language ability, education, previous work experience, etc.
They will then enter the pool and receive a CRS score based on their age, level of education and work experience, proficiency in English and/or French, and other factors.
Receive an Invitation to Apply
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada conducts periodic Express Entry draws, usually every two weeks. The highest ranking candidates will receive a formal Invitation to Apply for permanent residence through these periodic Express Entry draws. Candidates who are issued an Invitation to Apply have 90 days to apply for permanent residence and submit all the required supporting documents.
An Express Entry profile will remain active in the pool for 12 months during which applicants can improve their CRS scores. If a candidate is not invited to apply for permanent residency within 12 months, their profile will expire at the end of 12-month period. Then, they may resubmit a new profile and re-enter the pool.
Applicants are not required to pay government fees when submitting their initial Express Entry profile. The government fees are only requested when you receive an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
How are Express Entry Points Calculated?
CRS scores are given based on age, level of education and work experience, English and/or French language skills, and other factors. Those who have higher CRS score are more likely to receive an invitation to apply.
To illustrate, applicants between 20-29 years old receive the highest points for age; applicants who hold a Master’s degree get higher points than those who only completed a Bachelor’s degree. High level of English and/or French language ability is an asset that can boost your CRS score.
Significant additional points are available for other factors such as: a Canadian sibling who is a permanent resident or Canadian citizen, bilingualism in French and English, a qualified job offer from a Canadian company, a nomination from a provincial nominee program.
Furthermore, Canadian educational credentials and work experience in Canada are highly valued in Express Entry and can significantly increase your CRS score.
How to Increase your CRS Score?
Fastest way to increase your points is improving your language test results, such as IELTS. Applicants need to score at least CLB 7, which is at least 6.0 on each language ability on the IELTS, to be eligible for Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
Applicants who can score CLB 9 in all language abilities (which is at least 7.0 on Speaking, Reading and Writing abilities, and at least 8.0 on Listening ability) could receive very high points for language ability.
You can update your Express Entry profile with new IELTS or other approved language test results after you submit your profile to the pool. So, you can take the IELTS or other language tests as many times as you want to until you get the best results.
There are also long-term ways to increase your CRS score. To begin with, a formal job offer from a Canadian employer for a skilled and full-time position can add 50 to 200 additional points to your application. You may register in the Canada Job Bank, as well as private job boards to reach out to Canadian employers.
Receiving a nomination from a provincial nominee program adds 600 additional points to your application. Applying for a provincial nomination is a completely separate application process, which is usually up to the applicants to decide which programs they may be eligible for.
If you have less than three years of full-time (or equivalent part-time) experience, you may keep working to gain more work experience so as to increase your score. You may also consider completing another educational program which can result in a much higher CRS score.
As indicated, applicants who have Canadian educational credentials are awarded greater points. So if you cannot get a good CRS score, you may consider enrolling an education program in Canada as an interim step to increase your CRS score and reach your ultimate goal of becoming a permanent resident in Canada. *
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