Understanding how Express Entry works is the first step toward submitting a successful permanent residency application.


Anyone attempting to become a permanent resident of Canada will undoubtedly come across the term “Express Entry” several times. It is natural to believe that Express Entry has its own immigration programme, however, this is not the case. Before submitting an application, it is critical to understand what Express Entry is and how it works.


Express Entry is a system rather than a program.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched the Express Entry application management system in 2015. It was brought in because it was discovered that the current system was inefficient in processing the massive number of applications received by IRCC.

Previously, Canada considered every single application filed, regardless of whether or not an applicant satisfied a minimum set of credentials. This means that the total processing period for all applications may be more than five years.


What is the process for Express Entry?

Express Entry is not as difficult as it looks on the surface. The first step is to determine your eligibility. You must next complete your profile to declare your desire to apply for permanent residence status in Canada. After that, you will be assigned a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. IRCC invites the highest-scoring applicants to apply every two weeks.


Here is a simplified, step-by-step overview of the Express Entry process.

Step 1: Determine whether you are eligible for Express Entry. Each of the three Express Entry-managed programmes will have its own set of minimal qualifying requirements. You must be eligible for at least one of them.

Step 2: Finish your language tests and obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

Step 3: Upload your resume to the Canadian government website.

Step 4: Check if you have received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency.

Step 5: If you obtain an ITA, complete your electronic Application for Permanent Residence (e-APR) and pay your fees to the Canadian embassy within the 60-day deadline. This stage requires you to submit your medical exam and police certifications. IRCC will subsequently provide you with an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR).

Step 6: Submit your biometrics the Canadian embassy requests them.

Step 7: Await the Canadian embassy’s final judgement on your application. Once accepted, you will be issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and a permanent resident visa (if you are from a visa-required nation) to complete your landing.


What is considered skilled employment under Express Entry?

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) system in Canada defines “skilled” employees.

In a nutshell, the NOC is a method used by Canada to evaluate the degree of competence and education required for a certain trade or career. There are three NOC categories that are eligible for Express Entry:


NOC 0: Positions in management, such as those at a restaurant.

NOC A: Jobs that normally need a university diploma

NOC B: Skilled crafts and technologies

Each NOC category has its own ranking system, and candidates are given numerical numbers based on their occupation.


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The Federal Skilled Worker Program

The FSWP is intended for skilled employees who fulfil particular language, job experience, and academic criteria obtained abroad. Two years of work experience, a CLB score of 7, proof of funds, and proof of education are the minimum prerequisites. You must also obtain at least 67/100 on the FSWP points grid.


Canadian Experience Class

The CEC is only available to persons who have had at least one year of competent job experience in Canada in the previous three years.

The language requirement varies depending on the NOC classification. Candidates with NOC 0 and A jobs must have a CLB of at least 7, whereas NOC B employees must have a CLB of at least 5.


Federal Skilled Trades Program

Faced with a skilled labour shortage, Canada established the FSTP in 2013. The programme operates similarly to FSWP but is only for skilled trades. Applicants for the FSTP must have two years of experience in a skilled trade, a full-time employment offer from a Canadian employer, or a certificate of qualification from a Canadian authority.


Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Except for Quebec and Nunavut, every province has a programme called the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Provinces assess the pool of Express Entry candidates on a regular basis. If an applicant fits certain requirements and is qualified for one of the Express Entry-managed programmes, the province may send an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination. Candidates may also mention in their application that they wish to live in a certain province. Provincial immigration programmes that draw applicants from the Express Entry pool are referred to as “enhanced” PNPs. If the province nominates the candidate, they will gain an additional 600 CRS points.


The Comprehensive Ranking System

The CRS was made to give Express Entry candidates a score and rank them. People who want to use Express Entry to move to Canada must go to the IRCC website and fill out a personal profile. It takes about an hour to fill out this profile. Candidates are given points and ranked based on factors like age, language skills, work experience, education, and more. Before the pandemic, the candidates with the highest CRS scores would get ITAs from IRCC. It has stopped doing this for a while, but it will start doing it again in early July.


Looking forward

The pandemic caused the Express Entry system to run slowly. In order to deal with the backlog of applications, the IRCC stopped sending out invitations to candidates for the CEC and FSWP.

In July, IRCC will again invite CEC and FSWP candidates through the Express Entry programme. Also, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says that the time it takes to process new applications will go back to six months.