The most efficient way to immigrate to Canada is through the Canadian Express Entry System (EES). It started in 2015 to allow skilled immigrants and their families to settle in Canada within six months. During the pandemic, the Canadian government has authorized the issuance of more permanent resident visas to potential immigrants already living and working in Canada, while launching fast-track entry programs for essential workers and international students.
This has resulted in a massive backlog of potential immigrants in 2021, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has changed its selection preferences, primarily by issuing invitations to apply (ITAs) to people already living and working in Canada. In the first quarter of 2022, Canada was only able to issue 7,257 ITAs, compared to 43,840 in the first quarter of 2021.
However, all is not lost. By following the guidelines below, you will have the best chance of entering Canada quickly.
Step 1: Obtain an ITA
To have the best chance of getting an ITA, you need to follow the application process closely. The most important part of the process is securing your eligibility for immigration. There are many eligibility categories that you must meet.
The two main issues that can make you ineligible for the Express Entry program are:
- A criminal record
- A serious illness
Step 2: Choose your Express Entry Program
If none of these issues apply to you, create an Express Entry profile and apply to one of the three Express Entry programs.
Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
This program has a minimum requirement based on age, qualifying work experience, education, language, adaptability, and a valid job offer.
All of his attributes are scored on a 100 point system with a pass mark of 67.
Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP)
This program allows the entry of skilled workers with a valid job offer for at least one year or certification in a skilled trade from a Canadian federal, territorial or provincial agency.
These jobs are classified under the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
This category is for people who have at least one year of Canadian work experience in their qualifying occupation.
If you qualify for any of these categories, you can apply online for the Express Entry pool. Based on the above criteria, your eligibility is calculated to create your Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS), which ranks you against other Canadian immigration applicants. You need to have a thorough understanding of how CRS works in order to get the best possible score.
Step 3: Meet the Language and Education Requirements
To be eligible for express entry to Canada, you must meet Canadian standards for your qualifications and language proficiency.
The next step in your application process is the Canadian language test. English speakers must pass one of the following tests to determine their level of proficiency according to the Canadian Language Benchmark (NCLC) through one of the following tests:
- CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program: This is the main test of English in Canada.
- IELTS: International English Testing System: This is the most recognized test in the express entry system.
The IELTS score is more relevant as it is much easier to convert to CLB. You need a minimum CLB score of 7 to apply for the FSWP or a minimum CLB score of 5 for the FSTP. To give yourself the best chance of meeting the IELTS Express Entry requirements, we recommend that you take our IELTS Preparation Course, which provides exercises and tips on how to prepare for the exam.
If you can meet the IELTS requirements for express entry, this will count towards your CRS. There are also tests for Francophones. The best language scores are awarded to those who perform well on the English and French tests.
The French tests are:
- TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français
- TEF Canada: est d’évaluation de français
An important part of a successful application for express entry to Canada is passing an Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA). You must show that your qualifications are valid and equal to or relative to a Canadian qualification. This will have a huge impact on your final CRS score and the success of your application. If you wish to apply for the FSTP, you must be evaluated by a Canadian regulatory body.
Invitation to Apply (ITA)
When you get your CRS score, you can see if you met the requirements for the program you applied to. You will then enter the Express Entry pool where you will need to keep up to date with the Express Entry draws. These occur every two weeks and will notify you if you have received an ITA for permanent residence in Canada. CRS requirements change with each draw. So if you didn’t qualify for that particular drawing, it doesn’t mean you’ll never be eligible.
Step 4: Provide Documentation
After moving up in the group and receiving your ITA, you have 60 days to gather the necessary documentation for your application to be accepted. To apply for express entry to Canada, it is important that you have relevant, current and valid documents.
What you need is the following:
- birth certificates (This can be replaced by an affidavit if necessary.)
- National Occupational Classification (NOC)
- Educational Credential Assessment Report (ECA)
- Proof of marital status
- Current language tests
- Proof of compensation fund
- Proof that you are eligible to enter Canada
- Police certificates
- Results of a medical examination ordered by certified health authorities
- Work experience documents, Reference letters (for all activities in the last 10 years), copies of all employment contracts and pay slips
- Two digital photos of you, your spouse or domestic partner, and dependent children
- Canadian job offer*
- Employment agreement
- Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) number
- Provincial Nomination*
*These are only relevant if you have received them.
Once everything is scanned and uploaded to IRCC’s web portal, the hard work is done. That said, now is not the time to relax. There are many ways to improve your CRS score to give your application the best chance.
Step 5 – Keep your Data Up to Date
Once you have completed your process, submitted your application, and improved your CRS score, there is only the Express Registration processing time left. The Canadian government is much more efficient than most and will likely process your application in less than 6 months. There are a few things that increase Express Submission processing time that you should be aware of, such as:
- Unverified Information
- Security or criminal issues
- Additional background checks required
- Uncertain family situation
- Incomplete divorce or adoption proceedings
- Unresolved custody issues
- Other documents or an interview are required
Most of these factors are due to insufficient information provided by the applicant. You must keep your information up to date through the IRCC web form or anything that may affect your CRS score. Check the status of your application online through IRCC’s secure account portal.
Processing times for Express Registration vary depending on the number of applications, system load, and the number of applicants eligible for ITA.
Application Fee for Express Entry
The Express Entry process has several costs that you must pay for your application to be successfully processed. For this reason, it is imperative that each step of the Express Entry procedure is completed correctly. The fees you will be charged are:
Before entering the Express Entry pool, you must pay:
- Evidence of Education Assessment (ECA): $200+
- Language test(s): $200+
After that, you will have to pay some government fees:
- Processing fees: $850
- Permanent residence fees: $515
- Additional costs for children: $230 per child
In addition to these, you will have to pay additional costs:
- Police certificate(s)
- Depending on the country, it can be up to more than 100 US dollars
- Medical report: $200
- Legal representation or advice (Depending on the case)
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need a Job Offer to Qualify for Express Entry?
No! However, it increases your CRS score by 10 to 200 points depending on the job. Not having a job offer can affect your score, but you can still get a fairly fair score if you do well in all the other categories.
What is the Maximum Age to Apply for Express Entry to Canada?
There is no maximum age, but if you are 45 or older, you will not earn CRS points. However, if you are over 18 and under 45, you will earn points based on your youth and experience. As a result, those between 20 and 29 get maximum points.
Do I Get Permanent Residency Through Express Entry?
Yes, your ITA is for a permanent resident visa. The Express Entry system is designed to grant permanent resident visa applicants if they pass the screening process. That’s why it takes months for it to be completed.
In order to gain express entry to Canada, you need to prepare, be patient, exercise a lot of care and concentration. If you are an eligible applicant, this may be the fastest way to obtain your Canadian visa. However, it falls to the luck of the draw. It is important to perform as many tests, checks and procedures as possible. You must meet requirements such as the IELTS requirement for Express Entry. Show your best face to the Canadian authorities and who knows? You could be in Canada before the 6-month expedited immigration processing time.