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Express Entry Canada is easily the most popular route to immigrate to Canada. In the draw for June 2021, there were more than 160,000 applicants in the Express Entry pool.  And, the government plans to welcome 400,000 new immigrants. A majority of those coming in through the Economic class programs among which is Express Entry.

You can qualify for express entry based on a points-based selection process. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) award points based on important factors for Canada. For example, the program addresses labour shortages in Canada. It does this by providing a steady stream of qualified candidates who are most likely to succeed in Canada, at least economically. These candidates are placed in an Express Entry Pool. And the most qualified (based on total points) are invited to apply for Permanent Residence (PR).

How to Get Express Entry Points

Candidates in the express entry pool are ranked on a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System. You get points for things such as:

  • level of education
  • work experience
  • language competency and those of your spouse.

You can also get more points if you have a valid job offer, if you were educated in Canada, if you have family who are citizens or permanent residents, or you were nominated by a Canadian province or territory. The total number of possible points is 1,200. Use this free tool to calculate your total points before you enter the pool.

Successful candidates (and their family members) will address critical labour and demographic gaps and:

  • contribute to Canada’s economy, one of the world’s largest economies
  • be issued PR with a chance to apply for citizenship
  • get the chance to settle in one of the world’s most beautiful countries.

What are the Benefits of Express Entry Canada?

The Express Entry Canada program offers many benefits that include:

Speed: It is truly express and applications can be quickly processed within six months or less.

Job Offer: You do not require a job offer, although it can help when applying for express entry. Many people get into Canada and register with the Canada job bank.

PR: When you apply through Express Entry Canada, you get Permanent Residency. And, you can settle in any province of your choice if you were not nominated under the provincial programs. Also, you and your dependents get to enjoy Canadian healthcare, education, and other benefits that the government provides.

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Are there Drawbacks?

As with most things that have advantages, there are some drawbacks. This program is based on the number of points you receive. But, great candidates do not always get invited to apply for PR for many reasons. For example:

Age: Candidates age 45 and above do not get any points for their age.

Marital Status: Married candidates get more points for their spouse’s qualifications even if they’re the ones applying. But, single people don’t get this benefit.

Points and Date: If multiple people have the same total points, the system sorts applications based on the date and time a profile was submitted.

Documents You Require to Apply for Express Entry

To apply for express entry, you need to provide the following documents:

Language Proficiency Documents: To show proof of your English or French language ability and meet the requirements. You can take one of these approved tests.

Tip! Even if your first language is English, you can get up to 50 points by showing a strong proficiency in French.

Educational Credential Assessment: You get points for your education. But if you studied outside Canada, you have to prove that your education is valid and equal to a Canadian program. Any of these organizations can evaluate your credentials. You will require this if you apply through the Federal Skilled Worker express entry route.

Provincial Nomination: If you have been nominated by a province or a territory and have a certificate, you get 600 points. You can get nominated based on your education, work experience or provincial needs.

Offer of Employment: You can get up to 200 points for a Canadian job offer, This depends on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code of the offer. For an offer to be express entry valid, it must be:

  • full-time, for at least one year, and a
  • skilled job listed under the skill type 0, with skill levels A, or B.

Most job offers will need a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA shows that no Canadian or PR can do said job. Find a list of jobs that are LMIA exempt here.

Invitation to Apply (ITA)

If you are invited to apply for PR from the pool, you need to create your profile and submit these documents:

Police Certificates: For you and every member of your family over 18. But if you have a criminal record you may not be able to enter Canada.

Medical Exams: To show the state of your health (and that of your family members).

Proof of Funds: The amount depends on the size of your family. But if you’re applying under the Canadian experience class or you have a valid job offer, you are exempt from this.

Birth Certificate: If you declare dependent children.

Marriage Certificate: If you declare that you’re married.

Divorce Certificate and Legal Separation Agreement: If you’re divorced.

Death Certificate: If you’re widowed.

Adoption Certificate: If any of your dependent children are adopted.

Use of a representative form: If you hire a representative.

Common-Law Union Form: If you declare a common-law relationship.

Other Documents You May Require

If you have to provide other documents you will see them in your checklist. Some examples include:

  • Proof of relationship to a Canadian or a PR
  • Digital photos to confirm your identity
  • Other names to confirm name changes and aliases
  • Other documents that support your case for PR.

How Do I Apply for Express Entry Canada Program?

Have you made up your mind about applying to immigrate to Canada? If so, then there are three more steps before you’re on your way. Let’s get into them below:

1. Submit your express entry profile:

You need to find out if you’re eligible to apply for the express entry program and answer questions about your nationality, age, and other criteria. Find out if you are eligible here.

When done, you will get a personal reference code. Keep this code because you will need it when you fill in your profile.

2. Fill out an Express Entry Profile

If you are eligible, you can fill out an express entry profile. To do this you need to create or sign in to an account.  You will also need information from your application documents (see above) and your NOC job title and code.

Once you create your profile, it is valid for 60 days. After 60 days, you’ll need to create another profile again. After you submit your profile, IRCC will recommend you to your appropriate immigration program.

Once you’re in the pool, be sure that your documents are valid and ready. You will only have 90 days to submit once are invited to apply. You can also do things to increase your points. For example, you can:

  • get a job
  • get a provincial nomination, or
  • improve your language score.

Increasing your points is important because the candidates who rank the highest get picked first. Also, be sure to update your profile if any of your information changes. Every two weeks, the highest-ranking candidates are invited to apply for PR based on the instructions of that round, such as the:

  • minimum points
  • express entry program, and
  • date and time of the invitation.

You can find previous instructions here.

3. Apply for PR

IRCC will notify you if you are invited to apply for PR. IRCC will also tell you the next steps to follow and what program you can apply for. Then you can provide documents in your express entry profile.

Do not provide false information. Doing so can prevent you from being admitted to Canada. In addition, your application may be refused, and you may even be banned from entering Canada for five years.

To apply for PR you need to:

  • Log into your account
  • follow the prompt to apply through express entry
  • Fill the online form
  • Pay all fees: such as processing fees, right of permanent residence fees, and biometrics fees.
  • Submit your application: You might also need to provide your biometrics. But you may not need to do this if you have provided them within the past 10 years. Find a biometrics collection center closest to you here.
  • Use this web form if you have new information to add to your application afer you have submitted it.

What Happens After My Application is Approved?

If your application is approved, you’ll get a mail with the following:

  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR)
  • A permanent residence visa (if required).

The express entry program clearly offers many benefits to Canada and to those looking to potential applicants. So if you’re eligible, this could be your chance to achieve your dream and immigrate to Canada.

For more information, tools, and free webinars about living in Canada visit our Settling in Canada resource page. We’ll help you to settle in Canada successfully!