August 17, 2015

Canada’s New Express Entry System

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On January 1st, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada implemented a new immigration system called “Express Entry”.

This new system has changed the way certain economic immigrants apply for Permanent Residence in Canada. Express Entry is used for applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class.

It is important to note that the Canadian government did not change the requirements of these 3 immigration programs; the rules to qualify under these programs remain the same. Express Entry is a new way for these applications to be assessed and processed. Applications that were submitted prior to January 2015 will still be processed using the old system.

The intention of the new Express Entry system is that more permanent residents will arrive in Canada with a job offer already in hand. Those that do not have a job offer will have a set of skills and work experience that the Canadian labour market is looking for, increasing their chances of quickly finding employment once they arrive.

Under the new system, all applicants under the 3 programs create an Express Entry profile and are put into a pool of candidates. There is no cap on the number of individuals allowed in this pool. Candidates are then drawn from this pool and invited to apply for permanent residence based on job offers, provincial nominations and high human capital scores. So far, applicants have been drawn from the pool on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

A points system is relied upon to draw candidates from the pool. There are a total of 1,200 points. Six hundred points are available to candidates who already have a permanent full-time job offer in Canada supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”). Six hundred points are also available to candidates who have a provincial nomination certificate. These candidates are almost certain to receive invitations to apply for permanent residence. 

If a candidate is not lucky enough to fit into one of those categories, the candidate must rely on their ‘human capital score’. This consists of 600 points which can be awarded for factors such as age, education level, language proficiency, foreign work experience and work experience in Canada.

Express entry candidates need to register with the national Job Bank. Employers are then able to access the pool of candidates through the Job Bank. Later in 2015, a system will be created whereby candidates in the express entry pool are “matched” to jobs advertised on the Job Bank website that have been posted for 1 month or longer.

Once a candidate receives an invitation to apply, he or she has 60 days to submit an application for permanent residence. This application is submitted online. Paper applications are only available to accommodate a disability. Once a candidate submits a complete application for permanent residence, his or her application will be processed within 6 months.

An invitation to apply by no means guarantees that permanent residence will be granted. The candidate must still pass all required medical and security background checks.

In order to receive human capital points for any foreign education, candidates must have an Educational Credential Assessment done. This was not previously a requirement for candidates under the Canadian Experience Class.

Further, employers must complete the rigorous process of obtaining a positive LMIA before issuing a qualified job offer. This means that workers in Canada on an LMIA-exempt Work Permit will now need to receive an LMIA in order to receive the extra 600 points for a qualified job offer and increase their chances of being drawn from the Express Entry pool of candidates.

As always, our immigration team at Cox & Palmer is ready, willing and able to provide advice on whether you qualify under Express Entry and to assist you in making an application for permanent residence under Express Entry.

For a printable PDF version of this article, please click below:
Canada’s New Express Entry System

For more information, please contact Suzanne Rix at coxandpalmer.com.


Cox & Palmer publications are intended to provide information of a general nature only and not legal advice. The information presented is current to the date of publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.