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To become a permanent resident of Canada, immigrants choose Express Entry as the fastest and most popular pathway.
Through Express Entry, Canada welcomes approximately 110,000 skilled workers each year.
How do I apply for Express Entry?
To apply for Express Entry, you must submit your profile, which requires the following documents:
After submitting your profile and receiving an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence, you will need to submit a more comprehensive application with reference letters, additional identification documents, police clearance certificates, and medical examination results.
Who is eligible for Express Entry?
University or college degrees, skilled work experience, and moderate proficiency in English and/or French are required for Express Entry.
Before submitting a profile, candidates must meet eligibility requirements for one of three federal programs:
What is Express Entry?
Skilled workers who meet the following requirements are eligible for Express Entry:
For Express Entry to work, skilled workers must meet these minimum requirements. Candidates with stronger profiles will always be selected over those who simply meet the minimum requirements. Whether or not you meet these requirements does not guarantee that you will be invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
Do I need a job offer to apply for Express Entry?
The majority of candidates selected for Express Entry do not have a formal job offer from a Canadian company.
If you have a valid Canadian job offer, your CRS score can increase by up to 200 points.
How long does Express Entry take to process?
From the submission of an Express Entry profile to the issuance of a Permanent Resident Visa, Express Entry can take as little as six months to complete. The Express Entry profile of a candidate will remain in the pool of candidates for a period of 12 months if the candidate is not invited to apply. If you do not receive an invitation after 12 months, you can resubmit your profile and remain in the pool.
How are Express Entry points calculated?
As part of the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), Canada ranks candidates in the Express Entry pool according to a series of factors, including:
How will the CRS score be affected?
Neither a lawyer nor consultant can predict how the CRS score will fluctuate in the future, nor can they guarantee a person will receive permanent residence through Express Entry.
As more and more provinces select profiles from Express Entry, the CRS score of a candidate becomes less important. Instead, Provincial Nominee Programs are looking for candidates who can fill local labour market or demographic gaps. In other words, even if a candidate’s CRS score is low, they can still succeed with Express Entry if they have in-demand skills or experience.
Furthermore, the Canadian government has hinted at moving away from CRS scores in favor of occupation-based Express Entry draws.
Our free online assessment form can help you increase your chances of being selected for Express Entry or PNP.
How can I improve my CRS score?
You can earn up to 160 points with good IELTS results on their own. Improving your score is the best way to increase your score.
It is possible to get an additional 50 points if you have good IELTS and post-secondary education. If you have good IELTS and work experience, you can get another 50 points.
If you want to qualify for Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must score 6.0 on each IELTS language ability, or at least a 7 on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB). If you score CLB 9 in all language abilities, you can earn up to 260 Express Entry points.
Taking the IELTS again is also possible. Once you have submitted your Express Entry profile, you can update your IELTS test results.
To help prepare for the test, Express Entry clients can access free online IELTS tutorials. Many free and paid resources are available online.
When you register early, you’ll have time to retake the IELTS if you didn’t do well. If you wait until you’re in the pool to improve your score, you may miss out on the draw.
Express Entry manages economic immigration streams, so your work experience plays a large role in calculating your Express Entry score.
In order to improve your Express Entry points, you need to accumulate more years of work experience.
Consider coming to Canada as a student or temporary worker if you are not eligible for Express Entry, or if you are eligible but do not have a competitive score. Canadian experience can provide you with many more Canadian immigration opportunities.
The majority of candidates don’t take advantage of their work experience to the fullest. A simple way to improve your score is to select the right NOC code. Express Entry assigns points based on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) matrix to all occupations.
You must prove that the NOC codes you claim in your work experience are accurate if you receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
To maximize your Express Entry points, it’s worth identifying the NOC codes that accurately reflect your career history.
Consulting an expert can be very helpful in figuring out which NOC codes you can claim from the NOC matrix.
You may be missing out on some points if you have a spouse or common-law partner.
All three possibilities are worth considering.
If your spouse or partner retakes a language test or gets an educational credential assessment (ECA) for any post-secondary education they have, you could increase your Express Entry points.
If you apply as a single person, you may actually score higher. Since your score is determined by whether or not an accompanying spouse or partner is present, listing them as non-accompaniment could increase your score. Upon receiving permanent residency, you can still sponsor them to join you in Canada. However, you will need to separate for a period of time.
Calculate how many points your spouse would receive if they were the principal applicant, with or without you.
You can each submit a profile to Express Entry and list the other as an accompanying candidate if you are both strong candidates.
You can improve your score if you’ve performed well on your language tests, claimed as many work experience points as possible, and maximized your spousal points.
You can earn additional 50 to 200 points if you accept a job offer from a Canadian employer if you use the Canada Job Bank, private job boards, and social networking sites to connect with Canadian employers.
When you receive a provincial nomination, you are awarded 600 points. Most provinces operate a nomination program that is aligned with Express Entry, but candidates are usually responsible for deciding which programs they qualify for and how to apply for. Applying for a provincial nomination usually involves a separate application process.
If you choose to go back to school, it can be a pretty big investment in terms of your overall score. However, if you take a short-term program like a one-year post-secondary certificate, it could really boost your total points. If you already have one post-secondary degree of three years or more and take a second one-year program, you can claim an additional 8 points for just education. If you already have CLB 9 and two years of Canadian work experience, you can claim an additional 50 points for skills transferability—that’s 58 total additional Express Entry points.
Having Canadian educational credentials is highly valued in Express Entry, and being an international student opens many doors to permanent residency.
What is the ideal candidate for Express Entry?
A comprehensive ranking system (CRS) is assigned to candidates who enter the Express Entry pool. There is no one-size-fits-all profile that is eligible for Express Entry. Your CRS score depends on a variety of factors, including your language proficiency, your age, your work experience, your education, and your Canadian connections. If you rank higher, you are more likely to be invited to apply.
The following criteria should be met by candidates for Express Entry:
You can also improve your CRS score by:
Is there a minimum score required for Express Entry?
It is important to improve your ranking in the pool of applicants in order to increase your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence.
How are my language points calculated?
The number of points a candidate receives under the language factor of their CRS is determined by how well they do on one of Canada’s official English or French exams.
How does my IELTS score affect my CRS score?
If you achieve a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 9 on each section of the exam, your skill transferability factor points will double.
The Express Entry exam allows you to demonstrate your proficiency in French or English. If you are more proficient in French, you may choose to take the French exam instead. If that is the case, you will not need to take the IELTS or CELPIP test. To maximize your language points, you should aim for a minimum CLB 9 on each area of the French test, rather than a minimum CLB 9.
Does my spouse have to take the IELTS exam?
Based on your Express Entry score, an accompanying spouse may need to take a language exam, such as the IELTS, if you are submitting an Express Entry profile via the FSW program. You may be eligible to submit a profile if your spouse scores at least CLB 4 on each of IRCC’s designated language tests. If your score is below 67, these points could help you qualify.
Taking advantage of your spouse’s language results may also increase your Express Entry pool chances.
Why do I have a zero Express Entry score?
You may become ineligible after submitting your Express Entry profile, or after months of being in the pool, if your profile has a zero Express Entry score.
What is the required CRS score for Canadian PR?
The CRS cut-off varies from draw to draw, making it impossible to predict which score will lead to an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence.
Why is the CRS cut-off so high?
CRS cut-offs for Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) specific Express Entry draws are higher due to the additional points given to candidates with nominations.
Those who receive a provincial nomination may receive 600 points toward their CRS score.
CRS score trends
When Canada alternates between holding Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws, the CRS cut-off in CEC draws reached record lows in February 2021. In February 2021, the Canadian government invited over 27,000 CEC candidates with CRS scores as low as 75. The CRS cut-off for PNP draws ranged between the 600-800s. The high CRS cut-off in PNP draws is due to the additional 600 points given to PNP candidates. That means that, prior to receiving a nomination, the lowest ranking PNP candidate had a CRS score of less than 100.
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