Express Entry for Skilled Immigration

Skilled immigrant applicants can use Canada’s Express Entry system to become permanent residents of Canada. The Express Entry system manages skilled immigration applications and accepts the applications of those who are most likely to successfully settle in Canada and contribute to Canada’s economy.

Immigration authorities intend that 80 percent of applications under the Express Entry system are processed within six months. Further, there is no deadline by which applicants must complete their profiles. There is also no cap on the number of Express Entry applications that will be accepted. However, the numbers selected each year will depend on Canada’s annual immigration levels.

Skilled immigration applicants can use the Express Entry system to apply for permanent residence under one of four economic immigration programs.

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Canada Experience Class Program
  • Provincial Nominee Program

IRCC also introduced category-based rounds of invitations to complement the other types of EE draws. These rounds cater to those holding work experience/language ability/educational background that falls under one of the following professional categories:

  1. French-language proficiency
  2. Healthcare occupations
  3. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) occupations
  4. Trade occupations
  5. Transport occupations
  6. Agriculture and agri-food occupations

Applying for permanent residence through the Express Entry system consists of two steps.

Step 1: Create an Online Express Entry Profile

Eligible applicants will use their online Express Entry profiles to provide information to Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada regarding their:

  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Language abilities
  • Skills
  • Other personal information relevant to the assessment of their application

Those who successfully meet the criteria of one of the three skilled immigration programs mentioned above will be accepted into a pool of candidates. It is important to note that successful admission to the candidate pool does not automatically result in an invitation to apply for permanent residence (ITA). Receiving an ITA will depend on the factors listed below.

Applicants who already possess a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), will have a greater chance of obtaining an ITA. Those who have been nominated for permanent residence by a provincial government will also have an increased chance of success.

Candidates who do not have a job offer, LMIA or provincial nomination can register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s Job Bank, however, this is not mandatory. The Job Bank will help put candidates in touch with employers. Candidates should also use other independent means to seek employment while in the candidate pool.

Step 2: Obtain an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence (ITA)

All applicants in the Express Entry pool will be ranked against each other using a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Under the ranking system, applicants are awarded points based on.

  • Their skills
  • Their work experience
  • Whether they have a job offer
  • Whether their job offer is supported by a LMIA or meet the alternative requirements
  • Whether they have been nominated for permanent residence by a provincial government

Candidates who receive the highest CRS scores will be offered an ITA. Once a candidate receives an ITA, he or she will have 60 days to submit an online application for permanent residence.

IRCC says that it will process most complete applications that have all supporting documents in 6 months or less.

Candidates who do not receive an ITA may remain in the candidate pool for 12 months. After 12 months in the pool, candidates must create a new online Express Entry Profile.