- Determine whether you are eligible for Express Entry.
You must be eligible for one of the three economic immigration streams to apply through Express Entry:
Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program: This program is for applicants who want to immigrate to Canada permanently and have significant foreign work experience and/or a high level of education.
The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is for skilled tradespeople who want to immigrate to Canada.
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a program that allows foreign nationals who have worked in Canada for at least one year to apply for Permanent Residence (PR).
Check out the comparison table provided by the Canadian government to understand the key differences between these three programs.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) also has an easy-to-use tool to determine which immigration program you are eligible for; all you need to do is answer a few questions online, and you will be notified of your results. At the end, you will be given a number (a personal reference code).
This number is used to transfer your information from the tool to your Express Entry profile.
Are you unsure which immigration program you qualify for? Download our free immigration guide for an overview of Canada’s immigration programs’ eligibility criteria and application processes.
Note: Consult an immigration lawyer to learn about your best options, and make sure to check their credentials to avoid being taken advantage of.
Immigrating to Canada: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Set up an IRCC account as well as an Express Entry profile.
If you are eligible for one of the Express Entry programs, you must first create an account on the IRCC website and submit your profile in order to be formally added to the Express Entry pool of candidates.
You will not need to upload any documents during this step.
However, if you are selected and invited to apply for PR based on the information you enter on your profile, you will be required to upload copies of relevant documents to support your application.
What are the requirements for creating an Express Entry profile?
Occupation: The code for your National Occupational Classification (NOC).
It is a system used by the Canadian government to categorize various jobs and occupations, which are grouped according to occupational categories and the education and skill required for the jobs.
Education: The report on your education credential assessment (ECA).
An ECA is used to confirm that your foreign degree, diploma, or certificate (or other credential proof) is valid and equivalent to a Canadian one. ECAs are classified into several types.
For immigration purposes, you must obtain an ECA. If you have another type of ECA, depending on the type and/or issuing organization, you may be able to have it reissued.
In your Express Entry profile, you must include your ECA report and the reference number.
Language abilities: The results of a language test that has been approved.
The official languages of Canada are English and French.
You may submit language test results from either of these two languages.
Each of these tests assesses your language abilities across four domains: speaking, reading, listening, and writing.
For English, take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP).
French language assessment test (TEF Canada)
French proficiency examination (TCF Canada)
Please keep in mind that your test results must be less than two years old at the time you submit your application.
- Calculate your Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS)
To rank and evaluate individual immigration applications, Canada employs a point-based system (which takes into account factors such as skills, education, language ability, work experience, and so on).
The CRS tool is simple to use; after answering a few questions, it calculates your score.
This score can be used to determine whether you rank higher than the minimum required points in the most recent round of invitations.
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) assigns up to 1200 points to Express Entry candidates in order to identify those who are most likely to succeed in Canada.
500 points: Age, education, language, and Canadian work experience are all core human capital factors.
100 points: Transferable skills, which are a combination of foreign qualifications, work experience, education, and language ability.
A provincial nomination certificate is worth 600 points.
50 to 200 points: For arranged employment via a valid job offer, very specific criteria must be met.
(1) Express Entry only gives points for skilled work experience, which includes jobs in TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3. (previously NOC skill type 0, or skill level A or B). These should be chosen based on the job duties you perform, not your job title. To claim these points, you must also provide proof of work experience.
(2) Applicants may be awarded points for additional factors such as having a Canadian sibling or studying in Canada.
These bonus points are frequently what can transform a non-competitive profile into a competitive one.
Tip: Even if your CRS is slightly lower than the scores for the most recent Express Entry draws, you should still consider submitting your profile because:
You may be selected through the Provincial Nomination Program (PNP).
There is no fee for submitting an Express Entry profile.
- Send in your profile
Your Express Entry profile allows you to be added to the pool of potential immigrants.
After you complete your profile and submit it online, you will be ranked in the Express Entry pool based on a points-based system known as the CRS.
This score is determined by the data in your profile.
It is important to understand that submitting an Express Entry profile is not the same as submitting a PR application.
Everyone who wants to immigrate submits a profile, but only the top candidates are invited to apply for permanent residency.
Profiles can stay in the candidate pool for up to a year. If any of your ranking factors change during this time, you must ensure that your profile in the candidate pool is updated.
Those without a qualifying job offer can sign up for Canada Job Bank.
To increase their chances of being invited to apply, candidates are encouraged to promote themselves to prospective employers.
This is not required, but it could be a good way to connect with employers.
When completing the PR application, each applicant is given a personalized document checklist.
Before submitting, make sure you thoroughly review it and the document requirements.
- Receive an invitation and apply for PR Every few weeks, draws from the candidate pool are held, and the top-ranked candidates in the Express Entry pool receive an Invitation to Apply, after which they have 60 days to complete an application for PR in Canada. Do not put off submitting your application until the last minute because deadlines cannot be extended.
If you are invited to apply, you must submit supporting documentation. Among them are:
Passport or other travel documentation
ECA report on language test results
Certification of work experience
Evidence of funds
It is a good idea to keep a copy of your application. IRCC estimates a total processing time of six months after submission.
The Express Entry process may appear complicated at first glance. The government of Canada’s resources, combined with advice from authorized immigration lawyers/consultants, can help you realize your Canadian dreams.
Green and Spiegel Immigration Law Firm Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
Please keep in mind that the information in this article is general, subject to frequent change, and does not constitute legal advice.