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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

Express Entry Ways of Immigrating to Canada

Express Entry Ways of Immigrating to Canada

Express Entry Point Based System

Express Entry was introduced January 1st 2015 as the new method for anyone qualifying under Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker, and Federal Skilled Trades categories to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada. Having a better understanding of how Express Entry works, and how points are awarded can help you to determine if you are eligible, and if not, what you can do to become eligible to receive an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence in Canada.

How Express Entry Works

Express Entry is the online application process to apply for Permanent Residence, which begins by creating an Express Entry profile. The profile is a summary of your qualifications for which you will be awarded a point score out of 1200 (600 points is the maximum score for individuals without a job offer or Provincial Nomination). If you meet the qualifications and are accepted into the Express Entry pool, then you are eligible to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Permanent Residence. The higher your point score, the more likely it is you will receive an ITA.

The Invitations to apply are awarded on the ‘Express Entry Draw’ dates, which typically occur every 2-3 weeks (there is no set dates or times for the draws). On these dates, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announces the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) qualifying point score, as well as the number of invitations sent (i.e. if the CRS is 470, everyone with a point score of 470 or above will receive an invitation to apply for Permanent Residence).

Once you have received your Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence (PR), you have 60 days to complete and submit your PR application.

Category Qualifications

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

  • 12 months of full-time skilled work experience in Canada in an occupation that falls under skill levels O, A, or B on the skills Matrix within the 3 years prior to applying OR the equivalent amount in skilled Part-Time work within the 3 years prior to applying

  • Must meet the minimum language requirements for your occupation (Skill levels O & A require a minimum of CLB 7 in each category, skill level B requires a minimum CLB of 5 in each category), proof of your language abilities must be proven by having taken either a CELPIP or IELTS test (general category) within the last 2 years.

  • Plan to live in a province outside of Quebec

  • Meet the settlement funds requirement for your family size (unless you have arranged employment)

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW)

  • 1 year of continuous, full-time (or the equivalent in part-time), paid work experience in the same position, falling under skill levels O, A, or B on the skills matrix.

  • Meet the minimum language requirements of CLB 7 in each category on a CELPIP or IELTS test (general category) taken within the last 2 years.

  • Have a Canadian High School Diploma, or Post Secondary Diploma/Degree, OR the foreign equivalent along with a Credential Evaluation.

  • Meet the settlement funds required for your family size (unless you have arranged employment)

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST)

  • Have at least 2 years of full-time work experience (or the equivalent in part-time) in the last 5 years in a skilled trade occupation.

  • Meet the job requirements for that skilled trade occupation as determined by the NOC.

  • Cannot plan to reside in Quebec

  • Must have either a full time offer of employment for at least 1 year OR a Certificate of Qualification for that skilled Trade from a Canadian Province or Territory.

  • Meet the settlement funds required for your family size (unless you have arranged employment)

Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System

If you qualify under one of the above categories, those aren’t the only factors that IRCC will consider when awarding points. Points are awarded for each of the factors listed below in order to determine not only who qualifies, but also who IRCC believes are the strongest candidates in each category, or the ‘cream of the crop’, who they believe will not only acclimate more easily to Canada, but will contribute the most to the Canadian economy in the future.

Individuals (and their spouses if applicable) are scored out of 600 points, with an additional 600 points being awarded if the Principal Applicant had either a valid job offer (supported by a positive Labour Marketing Impact Assessment) or a Provincial Nomination.

  • Age
  • Education level
  • Work Experience
  • Language abilities
  • Valid Job Offer
  • Provincial Nomination
  • Adaptability (i.e. relatives in Canada, transferability skills, etc.)

Changes to Express Entry

It is important to note the Express Entry is still a relatively new system, with only 31 draws having taken place since its implementation. Since its introduction, Express Entry has been controversial, as many have felt ‘cheated’ since the introduction of the new system, which has made it more difficult for many people to receive a qualifying point score. While several slight changes have been made to the requirements and point distribution for Express Entry, the Immigration Minister has announced that the program will undergo a review in order to ensure the program is overseeing the potential of certain groups that have a lot to offer Canada, but don’t necessary fair well in the new Express Entry system, such as International Students. It has also been announced that it is anticipated that the amount of invitations given at each draw will increase in the near future, as the point score is anticipated to lower. This is good news for many skilled individuals hoping to Immigrate to Canada permanently.

How long does Express Entry take?

Because Express Entry is a selection process based on fluctuating point scores, there is no set time line as to how long it will take to receive your ITA after submitting your Express Entry profile. Depending on the strength of your profile and experience, you could receive an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence the same day you create your Express Entry profile, or you could possibly never receive an ITA, there is no guarantee of receiving one. That is why it is crucial to ensure you profile is not only made correctly, but that you explore every option possible to maximize your points (i.e. obtaining credential evaluations, updating language tests, etc.) Akrami & Associates is experience in helping our clients obtain every point possible in order to ensure the best chances of receiving an ITA.

If you do receive an ITA, you have 60 days from the date of your Invitation to submit your PR application. Once this application has been submitted, the processing time is estimated to be approximately 6 months by IRCC (this means 80% of all PR applications are completed in 6 months or less). Although the waiting period for the ITA could be longer for some depending on your qualifications and personal history, overall the Express Entry PR system offers a much faster processing time for qualifying applicants, many of whom receive their PR in 4-6 months as apposed to the previous paper applications which were estimated to take 12-18 months (many PR applications under CEC and FSW submitted under the old system in 2014 are still in process).

How do I ensure I have a strong Express Entry Profile?

Having a strong profile is the first (and possibly most important) step in your PR application process, as without a strong profile and CRS point score, it is unlikely you will receive an Invitation to Apply for PR. Although it is possible to create an Express Entry Profile on your own, having the assistance of an Immigration Lawyer, Immigration Consultant, or Immigration Specialist can make all the difference when it comes to maximizing your point score, as well as your chances of receiving an ITA. Akrami & Associates has helped thousands of clients with their Canadian Immigration needs, and can help you reach your goal of Canadian PR by helping you to create the strongest Express Entry Profile, and Permanent Residence application possible. Contact us today for a consultation to determine your eligibility, and to begin your Canadian Immigration process.

With Akrami and Associates there is always a way!!

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