An Express Entry profile must be created in order to apply for permanent residence in Canada under the Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Category, or Federal Skilled Trades Category.

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The Express Entry system is not a category of immigration to Canada, but rather is a way of filing immigration applications.

Instead of simply sending a completed immigration application to the relevant immigration office, potential applicants must first enter into a “pool” of potential applicants and wait to be invited to apply before they may submit their application.

In this way the immigration authorities can manage the flow of new applications so that they do not accumulate a backlog, and can hopefully process the chosen cases in a timely manner.

Three categories of applications for permanent residence must apply under the Express Entry system:

  1. Federal Skilled Workers
  2. Federal Skilled Trades
  3. Canadian Experience Class

In order to be able to register with the Express Entry system, the applicant must first qualify under one of the three programs. If the applicant is not qualified under the relevant programs, then the profile will be rejected and they will not be registered with the Express Entry.

Step 1: Express Entry Profile

Those who qualify under one of the three categories and wish to apply for immigration to Canada must first complete an online Express Entry Profile. This is on online form that will ask the user to provide details of their skills, work experience, language ability, education, and related information. Those who appear to meet the criteria of one of the three federal immigration categories will then be placed into a pool of candidates.

To demonstrate language skills a language test result must be provided, and foreign educational credentials must be supported by an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to determine their Canadian equivalency.

Step 2: Invitation to Apply

Candidates within the Express Entry system will be ranked against each other based on a point system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS will measure factors such as age, work experience, language skills, education, and whether or not the candidate has a job offer, among other factors. Points will be awarded based on the information provided in the Profile, and for having a provincial nomination. A total of 1200 points are available, depending on the candidate’s qualifications.

Those with the highest CRS scores will be invited to apply for permanent residence when the immigration authorities hold their regular draws from the pool. The score to be invited will depend on the number of people in the pool, the qualifications of those people, and the number of invitations being made in the draw. Once the invitation to apply is provided, the candidate will have 90 days to submit an online application for permanent residence. Once received, the immigration authorities plan to process these applications within six months.

Express entry draws take place regularly at the immigration authorities’ discretion, usually every two weeks or so. Each draw will have a set of Minister’s Instructions that will include the date and time of the draw, the number of candidates that will be drawn, and which specific program(s) will be included in the draw.

Candidates can stay in the Express Entry pool for up to 12 months. If they have not received an invitation within 12 months they can re-register as long as they continue to qualify under one of the three categories.

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