On January 1, 2015, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship (“IRCC”) introduced the launch of the Express Entry (“EE”) program for foreign nationals (“FN”) to apply for permanent residency (“PR”) in Canada.  The EE is an electronic program that replaces most of the previous programs for economic immigrants.  It allows FNs to create an on-line profile on the IRCC webpage with the hope that their profile will be selected for PR.

The EE program is specifically targeted at Skilled Workers, Skilled Trade Workers, those qualifying under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC”) and those nominated under most Provincial Nominee Programs (“PNP”).

It is still a points-based program; however, the allocation of points are awarded to various aspects the FN’s life with a greater emphasis of point allocation for those with work experience in Canada, language ability, age, and education.

So who qualifies under this EE program?

  • FN who are currently working in Canada as a skilled worker or a skill trades worker as described in the National Occupation Classification (“NOC”) “O”, “A” or “B” categories.
  • FN who are not currently working in Canada; however, would qualify under the NOC “O”, “A” or “B” categories and are listed under the current accepted occupation’s list as provided by IRCC.
  • FN who have one year of work experience under the NOC “O”, “A” or “B” categories within the last three years and would qualify under the CEC.
  • FN who have been nominated under identified Provincial Immigration programs.

As with all applications for PR, the FN and their immediate immigrating family cannot be criminally or medically inadmissible to Canada.  If you think you or a family member may be inadmissible to Canada, you should speak with a qualified professional to learn about available options.

What is involved in applying under the EE program?

The FN would prepare for this application by sitting for the language assessment exam.  If she/he have an accompany spouse, for more points the spouse should also sit for this exam. There is a fee for writing this exam and the results are valid for two (2) years.

The FN would also want to have their education assessed to determine how their education will transfer to Canadian standards.  While one only requires that the highest level of education be assessed, you can choose to have all degrees assessed. There is a cost involved in having the education documents assessed.

Once these are completed the FN would then create their on-line profile on the IRCC webpage. Creating the profile does not require uploading any additional documentation, only completing on-line questions.

Once the profile is marked as complete it will be assessed and ranked.  Ranking is based on the number of points awarded to the FN.  Once ranked the FN will then be placed in a pool with other candidates with similar ranking.  From this pool IRCC will select FN’s and provide an invitation to apply for PR.

A FN can edit their profile at any time after it has been submitted.  One would edit their profile if there has been a change in circumstances which may offer the ability to secure more points resulting in having their ranking bolstered.

As stated, current employment in Canada provides the most number of points; however, if you have a skill set under the NOC “O”, “A” or “B” categories but have not secured employment in Canada, the next step would be to register with the Service Canada Job Bank.  This registration will allow FN seeking employment in Canada to upload their Resume onto the Job Bank website and be potentially matched with a Canadian employer.  In the event that the FN is matched with a Canadian employer, the FN would secure their work permit, update their profile with IRCC and travel to Canada to commence work.

I have received my invitation from IRCC, what’s next?

Once the invitation has been issued to the FN, she/he will then need to complete their PR application and provide documents as requested by IRCC.  These documents will include some of the following:

  • Original proof of language ability
  • Original Education assessment
  • Copy of the work permit, if applicable
  • Original Police Clearance certificates from any country that the FN, and spouse if applicable, has lived in for longer than 18 months since the age of eighteen
  • Proof of completing the immigration medical examination. Please note that only specific physicians designated the Government of Canadian can conduct these medical examinations
  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage Certificates, if applicable
  • National identification documents
  • Valid passports

This application must be completed within 60 days of the invitation.  Please note that all documents submitted must be in either of Canada’s official languages, English or French.  If translation is required, then the translations must be certified.

IRCC has advised that once the FN has provided all of the necessary documents and the application is complete, the anticipated processing time is six (6) months to being issued documents for landing as a PR.

I have not yet been selected, how long should I wait to try again?

IRCC has stated that they will hold a profile for one year; therefore, if the FN is not selected within that year then she/he should be trying again.

What about those FN who qualify under the Family Class or other program?

Those under the Family Class programs, including sponsored spouses, children, parents, grandparents or other family members, are not included in the EE program.

Those applying as a Protected Person or seeking consideration under Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds are also exempt from the EE program.

If you are interested in learning more about this or any other Canadian immigration program and how it is related to your personal circumstances, please contact the writer to book a consultation.

The writer, Sandra Hakanson, is a lawyer practicing in the area of Canadian Immigration & Citizenship Law exclusively since 2008 and is familiar with assisting clients with all aspects of Canadian Immigration.  Sandra can be reached at sandra@ocana.ca by calling 250-870.9088.

Please note that this is general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  As each situation is unique, we recommend that those who would like to know more about these changes or any other immigration options to contact us so that we may provide specific information based on your personal circumstances.

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