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Canadian Express Entry Immigration Program

Imagine a swimming pool filled with fish of all shapes and sizes. Now imagine an immigration department fisherman coming around every few weeks with a large net and scooping out the biggest and fattest fish and inviting them to apply for permanent residence in Canada. That very simply put is the principle behind express entry which is Canada’s newest immigration program introduced on January 1, 2015.

Express entry is intended to select the best and brightest applicants for settlement in Canada and to ensure new immigrants will be able to hit the ground running either with an approved job offer or with a strong likelihood that suitable employment that matches an applicant’s qualifications will quickly be available. Express Entry was designed to overcome an old problem in which new immigrants with professional degrees in fields like medicine and engineering were reduced to driving taxis and delivering pizza after arriving in Canada. The new program gives priority to those applicants who already have an approved job offer in their field and whose language and educational qualifications have already been assessed prior to selection.

Applicants must use express entry if applying under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canada Experience Class or in some cases as a Provincial Nominee. In order to apply an applicant must create an online express entry profile and if eligible under one of the express entry programs be admitted into the pool of candidates. An applicant will remain in the pool for one year and will be provided with a reference code in order to register on the Canadian job bank. An applicant will receive a point score based on his or her qualifications and will be ranked according to the comprehensive ranking system which the immigration department has created. A draw is held every few weeks and candidates with a score above the cutoff for that week’s draw will be invited to apply for permanent residence.

In order to be allowed into the pool, applicants must meet the minimum eligibility requirements of the particular program they are applying under. The minimum requirement for the Federal Skilled Worker Program are at least one year of paid work experience within the past 10 years in a skilled position which is either managerial, professional, technical or within the skilled trades. A language test must demonstrate the Canadian Language Benchmark of 7 or more and an educational credential assessment must be completed to show that an applicant’s foreign education is equivalent to Canadian education standards. There are six selection factors and a minimum of 67 points is required in order for an applicant to be admitted into the express entry pool.

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is best suited for applicants with experience in a skilled trade. The minimum requirements under this program are passing a language test in either English or French, having at least two years of work experience in a skilled trade within the past 5 years, meeting the job requirements for the particular skilled trade as described in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) and having an approved offer of full time employment or a certificate of qualification in the particular skilled trade that has been issued by a province or territory in Canada. Applicants meeting these minimum requirements will be allowed into the express entry pool.

The Canadian Experience Class is designed for applicants who have already accumulated work experience in Canada.  The minimum requirements are at least one year of full time work experience in Canada which must be in either a managerial, professional, technical or skilled trades position. The work experience must have been gained under a valid work permit or exemption from the requirement to have a work permit, and the applicant must pass a language test in either English or French. In this category the minimum language requirement is a Canadian Language Benchmark of 7 for managerial or professional jobs and a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark score of 5 for technical or skilled trades jobs. Applicants who have met these requirements will be allowed into the express entry pool.

All applicants from all programs will be scored under a comprehensive ranking system which has a maximum of 1200 points. 600 points are automatically assigned to applicants with approved employment, i.e. a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). 600 point are also automatically assigned to applicants who have been nominated by a province in Canada.  Applicants with approved employment or provincial nomination are assured of being selected and invited to apply for permanent residence under the express entry program. The most recent express entry draws have yielded a cutoff score of approximately 450 points meaning that applicants who have scored highly but without approved employment in Canada or provincial nomination have been selected and invited to apply for permanent residence.


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