In Canada, the Express Entry Program is a merit-based and points-based system which allows you to apply for permanent residency through the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class Program, and the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Provinces also use Express Entry to find candidates for their own immigration programs.
Is Express Entry Right for You?
If you are an educated worker with fluency in English or French and have the equivalent of at least twelve months of full-time work in the past few years in trades or professional, managerial, or technical jobs, you may want to apply for Express Entry.
You may wish to apply for entry if you are in an in-demand industry and think you may be able to get job offers. You will want to ensure you are qualified to enter and live in Canada under current rules. Since you are competing with other workers from around the world, this may be your best option if you have a good education and plenty of experience. It costs nothing to apply, so if you qualify you may wish to set up a profile.
Applying with Express Entry
To apply to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry, you must first create a profile online. You will be asked about your fluency in languages, your work skills and experience, and your education as well as your contact and other information. It does not cost anything to create your profile, but you will need to do so online. You have 60 days to complete your profile after you begin creating one.
Once you have submitted your profile, your information will be evaluated. If you qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class Program, or the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you will be entered into the Express Entry pool. You can then use Job Bank, recruiters, online job ads, and other options to look for a job.
Once you find a job, you need to ensure the job is valid in Express Entry, which will allow you to get points for the job offer. In order for a job offer to be valid, your employer may need an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment), which is a document employers must secure before hiring non-Canadian workers. However, some employers are exempt from this requirement.
The Express Entry Program has recently changed, allowing you to get additional points if you have one or more brothers or sisters who are citizens or permanent residents of Canada and currently living in the country. Additional points are also available if you have strong French skills. In addition, creating an account with Job Bank Job Match is no longer mandatory.
If you gather enough points under the Comprehensive Ranking System to have one of the highest scores in the pool, you will get an invitation to apply for permanent residency. To qualify, you will still need to meet all Canadian admissibility and immigration requirements.
How to Get Points in the Express Entry Program
Once you have applied for your Express Entry profile and have entered the pool, you will want to gather as many points as possible to qualify for permanent residency. You can get points under the Comprehensive Ranking System by showing you have:
- Job skills
- Work experience
- Job offers
- Language proficiency
- Canadian certifications, diplomas, certificates, and degrees
- A provincial or territorial nomination
- Family in Canada
To get the most points, keep your profile up to date and be detailed when completing your profile. You can stay in the Express Entry pool for up to one year. After twelve months, you can re-enter by creating a new profile.
If you want to move to Canada with Express Entry, Immigration Direct has resources which can walk you through the process in detail. We also have guides for the Federal Skilled Workers Program and other programs as well as a blog and other free resources so you can get all the information you need about immigration in one convenient place.