Express Entry System

Discover how you can become a permanent resident with Express Entry Canada.

Delving into the complex world of Express Entry Canada, one will likely feel overwhelmed by the flood of intricate details, various criteria, and opposing experiences shared across countless forums. Still, at its core, securing your permanent residency in Canada is a process that is navigable, rewarding, and within your grasp.

Stripping back the layers, we aim to explain these services directly and authoritatively, which will help simplify your journey toward obtaining your permanent residency in Canada. Flanked by factual information and concrete advice, our fundamental goal is to equip you, the reader, with a deep understanding of the inner workings of the Express Entry system, ensuring a seamless immigration process.

What is Express Entry Canada?

Express Entry Canada is a fast-paced, point-based immigration system that invites skilled workers to live and work permanently in the country. Express Entry Canada is the primary pathway for skilled immigrants seeking permanent residency in Canada. It’s a streamlined process that revolutionizes the old “first come, first served” model, focusing instead on the prospective immigrant’s ability to contribute to Canada’s economy.

Before going any further, it’s crucial to understand that Express Entry is not an immigration program. Instead, it’s a system used by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to manage and streamline applications for three federal economic immigration programs. These are the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC Canada). Candidates apply by creating an Express Entry profile, where they enter information such as their age, marital status, work experience, level of education, language proficiency, and connections to Canada to help determine their eligibility for Canadian permanent residency. Their eligibility is evaluated via the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The Candidate then receives their eligibility rating out of 1,200, known as a CRS score. All scores are placed into an Express Entry pool. 

The Canada Express Entry Draw occurs approximately every two weeks. Candidates are ranked based on their CRS score during these draws. This points-based system evaluates candidates based on age, education, language proficiency, and work experience. These factors highlight a candidate’s potential to succeed in Canada’s economy.

The highest-ranking candidates in each draw are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency. The number of ITAs issued in each draw can vary, but the trend has generally been towards larger draws as Canada aims to meet its ambitious immigration targets. It’s important to note that receiving an ITA does not guarantee permanent residency. Instead, it’s an invitation to submit a formal application within a specified time frame.

The beauty of Express Entry lies in its efficiency and speed. Unlike traditional immigration processes that could take years, Express Entry applications typically resolve within six months. This is a game-changer for skilled professionals across the globe, opening a fast and efficient path to starting their new lives in Canada.

How To Apply for Express Entry

Step 1: Create Your Express Entry Profile

Your journey toward permanent residency in Canada starts with creating an Express Entry profile on the Canadian government website’s Express Entry portal. When you do this, you will fill out an online form where you provide information about your skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other details. The information you provide in your Express Entry profile determines your eligibility for permanent residency in Canada.

It’s crucial to be accurate and honest when filling out your profile. Any discrepancies between the information you provide now and the documents you submit later could lead to delays or disqualification. Once your profile is complete, it enters the Express Entry pool, ranking against others using the CRS.

Step 2: Ensure Your Eligibility

Canada’s Express Entry is a system for managing immigration applications for several of the country’s economic immigrant programs. It is designed to get skilled workers to Canada quickly. However, to be eligible for the Canada Express Entry system, there are specific criteria that an individual must meet.

Work Experience

The applicant must have at least one year of full-time (or equivalent part-time) skilled work experience. This experience must be in an occupation under Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) Training, Experience, Education, and Responsibility (TEER) levels 0, 1, 2, or 3. This classification refers to the following:

Job TypeTEER
Managerial jobs0
Jobs that usually require a university degree1
Supervisory jobs or jobs requiring either a college diploma, apprenticeship or six months of on-the-job training2 and 3

Language Ability

The applicant must meet or exceed a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of a certain level. To do this, they must score well in a language proficiency test, such as the IELTS. The minimum score varies depending on the immigration program an individual applies to. For instance, under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, applicants must have an IELTS score of at least 7 in all four abilities (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) to be deemed proficient in English.

The applicant must have all of their educational credentials validated before applying. An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report is required if the applicant was educated outside Canada. This report verifies that the individual’s foreign degree, diploma, certificate, or other proof of educational credential is valid and equivalent to a Canadian one.

Settlement Funds

Lastly, to be eligible for the Canada Express Entry system, individuals must also prove that they have enough money to support themselves and their families after they arrive in Canada unless they can legally work in Canada or already have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada.

Other Factors

The Express Entry system also considers factors like the applicant’s age, whether they have a valid job offer in Canada, and their adaptability factors, including previous study or work experience in Canada or relatives in Canada. These factors collectively form part of a comprehensive ranking system (CRS) that determines whether an applicant is invited to apply for permanent residence.

Step 3: Choose Your Express Entry Program

You must choose the appropriate Express Entry program when setting up your Express Entry profile. This choice will depend on your skills, qualifications, and work experience. The three Express Entry programs are as follows: 

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The FSWP is designed for skilled workers with foreign experience who want to immigrate to Canada permanently. To be eligible, you must meet certain criteria, including having at least one year of continuous, paid, full-time (or equivalent part-time) work experience in an occupation under Canada’s NOC TEER levels 0, 1, and 2 within the last ten years. This refers to jobs that generally require a university degree. Learn more about the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The FSTP is for skilled workers who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade. To qualify for this program, you must have at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade which generally falls under NOC TEER 2 or 3 within the five years before applying.. Occupations in these TEERs may not require a university degree but will often require a college diploma, on-the-job training, or significant job experience. Learn more about the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC Canada)

CEC Canada is for skilled workers with Canadian work experience who want to become permanent residents. The minimum work experience required for this program is one year of full-time (or equivalent part-time) skilled work experience in an occupation under NOC TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 in Canada within the three years before applying. Learn more about CEC Canada.

Each program has specific eligibility requirements to fulfill to enter the Express Entry draw.

Step 4: Receive Your CRS Score

You will receive your CRS score once you’ve chosen your program and completed your profile. This score is calculated based on your Express Entry profile information and ranks you against others in the Express Entry pool.

How to Calculate Your CRS Score

The CRS is a points-based system that assesses your profile based on age, education, language proficiency, and work experience. There are also additional points for factors such as having a valid job offer, a nomination from a province or territory, a sibling living in Canada, or strong French language skills. You can use a CRS calculator to estimate your score before applying. 

However, please note that a CRS calculator can only give you an estimation of what your CRS score will be. Suppose you want to be certain of your chosen Express Entry program eligibility. In that case, it’s best to speak to a certified immigration professional like a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) after using a CRS calculator.

How to Improve Your CRS Score

If your initial CRS score isn’t as high as you’d like, don’t worry—there are several ways to improve it. These might include improving your language skills, gaining work experience, completing higher education, or obtaining a job offer or provincial nomination. Learn more about maximizing your CRS score to boost your chance of becoming a permanent resident in Canada. Learn more about improving your CRS score.

One of the largest determining factors in the strength of your CRS score is whether or not you receive a provincial nomination. To do this, you must know which of Canada’s provinces you plan to move to. Here’s a directory of Canada’s provinces and Territories to help you get started. 
11 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories have a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). These programs allow each province to nominate international applicants for permanent residency in Canada, provided they live and work in that province. Each program has multiple PNP 

Step 5: Enter The Canada Express Entry Draw

Once you receive your CRS score, you’re ready to enter the Canada Express Entry Draw. Remember, these draws take place approximately every two weeks. The highest-ranking candidates in each draw receive an ITA. 

Step 6: Receive Your Invitation to Apply (ITA)

If your CRS score is high enough, you’ll receive an ITA during one of the Express Entry draws. This ITA is your invitation to submit a formal application for permanent residency in Canada. You typically have 60 days to submit your application after receiving an ITA.

Step 7: Pay Your Fees and Submit Your Documentation

After receiving your ITA, you’ll need to prepare your application for permanent residency. The documentation required for Express Entry is as follows:

  • Passport
  • ECA
  • Recent language tests;
  • Proof of funds showing sufficient settlement funds
  • Police certificates;
  • Results of a medical exam from certified health professionals;
  • Job letters from past employers legitimize your work experience.
  • Canadian job offer (If you have one)
  • Provincial Nomination (If you have one)

Ensuring all documents are correctly validated, filled out, and submitted on time is crucial to avoid delays or rejections.

Once you have submitted all required documentation, you must pay your processing fees. The Canada Express Entry processing fees are as follows:

Right of Permanent Residence515
Main applicant/ spouse processing fee570
To add a dependent child (per child)155

After You Apply: The Express Entry Processing Time

Once you’ve submitted your application, the waiting begins. The Express Entry processing time is typically six months, though this can vary depending on the specifics of your application and the current volume of applications being processed. During this time, it’s crucial to update your contact information in case IRCC needs to reach you. Learn more about the IRCC processing times.

Navigating the Express Entry Canada system can be complex, but it’s a very achievable goal with the right information and preparation. Good luck on your journey to permanent residency in Canada.


When is The Next Express Entry Draw?

The Canada Express Entry Draw generally occurs every two weeks. However, the exact schedule can vary, and the best way to stay informed is to check the IRCC’s website regularly or subscribe to their updates.

What is a Good CRS Score?

CRS scores can range from 0 to 1,200. However, there’s no definitive answer to what constitutes a “good” CRS score. Each Express Entry draw has a different minimum CRS score, determined by factors such as the number of candidates in the pool and Canada’s immigration targets.