What is Express Entry? How does it work?

Anybody who is planning to immigrate to Canada must have heard about “Express Entry”. But what exactly is Express Entry system and how can you as an immigrant take advantage of the process?

If you are at the research phase of exploring what express entry is, then you have come to the right place because here we answer all your questions & help you plan your Canadian immigration better with this blog. So read on!

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an online Canadian immigration application program that allows you to submit your profile. The profile is analyzed based on several criteria like educational qualification, professional skill, medical record, criminal record, and much more.

The Canadian government launched the Express Entry platform in 2015 to create a seamless electronic immigration system for eligible immigrants. It is the most convenient and quickest way for qualified professionals to acquire permanent residence in Canada.

Express Entry System is one of the most effective ways of immigration to Canada and to apply for permanent residence. in fact, 2020 was a record breaking year for Canadian Immigration via Express Entry pool with 107,350 invitations to apply for Express Entry (source).

It has been the highest since the inception of the program which took place in the year 2015.

How can I apply for Express Entry?

You have to submit your online application on the official website of the Government of Canada. As per eligibility, your profile goes into an Express Entry pool, which includes a series of other applications along with yours.

The application goes through a scrutiny process, and you get a score, keeping several factors in mind. If you pass the eligibility criteria, the Canadian government will invite you to be a permanent resident.

Who is eligible for Express Entry?

The following factors will verify Express Entry eligibility:

  • Age
  • Highest educational degree
  • Language skills
  • Skill transferability
  • Canadian work experience
  • Work experience in other parts of the world

What are the requirements for Express Entry?

The basic requirements of an Express Entry profile of a qualified professional includes:

1. Work experience

According to the 2016 National Occupation Classification (NOC) of Canada, an applicant must have at least one year of work experience under Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A/B to be eligible. If you have been a full-time recruit for more than a year and in the past decade, then you can apply. Part-time employees with continuity at work may also stand a chance.

2. Language fluency

Canadians are fluent in English and French, and they prefer people who know both these languages. You have to pass a basic language test run by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The results must surpass the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 to ensure ticking this off the eligibility list.

3. Education qualification

If you have a Canadian education credential, you are one step ahead in this determination. If not, you need foreign education credential that has to be at par with Canadian educational credentials. You have to provide proof of your degree or diploma certificate and pass it through the Canadian Educational Credential Assessment.

Basically your level of education is evaluated here.

What documents are required for PR Express Entry?

The Express Entry program includes three primary stages of processing, documentation, and filing. Creating an application completes the first step of processing. The next step requires you to submit the necessary documents to prove eligibility.

Filling out incorrect information or missing every step of documentation can lead to rejection by IRCC. An applicant can get banned from getting permanent residency for five years due to such mistakes.

List of documents required for PR Express Entry

The following points sum up the checklist for Express Entry System as updated in 2021:

1. Passport

The universally accepted identity proof is a passport. Thus, the foremost document you have to present is a valid passport. It will help you initiate the Visa process for permanent residency in Canada. Also, you need to provide a copy while submitting the Express Entry application.

2. Education Credential Assessment (ECA)

Valid Educational Credential Assessment authorized by an organization like World Education Services (WES) is mandatory. It must have validity for five years since the date of issue. 

Credible sources to attest ECA apart from WES includes:

  • Comparative Education Service 
  • International Credential Evaluation Service
  • International Credential Assessment
  • Medical Council of Canada (only for doctors)
  • Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (only for pharmacists)

3. Proof of financial credibility

Financial credibility is essential for proof of funds to support you and your family members. Documents required include:

  • Bank account statement
  • Bonds, shares, or debentures
  • Documents of credits and loans
  • Validation of previous or existing CTC
  • Valuation of property and assets

4. Language Test Results

As mentioned above, language proficiency is a critical part of the Express Entry application. One must prove their grammar skills through the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) in English and French. However, being proficient in either of the two languages will give you a fair chance to gain PR in Canada.

5. Employment offer from Canada

If you already have an offer letter from a Canadian employer, your chances of getting an invitation for permanent residency are higher. 

6. Provincial Nomination Certificate

A Provincial Nominee Program is for qualified professionals who have education and work experience contributing to Canadian provinces. These are territory-based, depending on the region you want to settle in. 

Each territory has its requirements and streams (Express Entry programs targeting specific groups). For instance, one stream under a province might include students, business people, and skilled professionals.

7. Evidence of marital status

Married or divorced individuals need to include their respective certificates to prove marital status. Married couples who plan to move to Canada together will impact each other’s profile during selection. Thus, if either of the two has a credible profile, they might create an upper hand for the other. 

8. Reference Code

You must add a Personal Reference code to access the Express Entry application easily. Thus, you must provide all the necessary information to the authorities.

9. Profile Number 

Each application will have a unique profile number to evaluate information when needed. The profile number must be provided to the authorities.

10. Validation code for job seekers

Having a validation code for job seekers will help you get employment as per your skills post immigration. 

11. Medical history 

Canada offers free healthcare to its residents. So, going through a medical background check is necessary for the authorities. If immigrants have preconditions that will need medical supervision, there might be further scrutiny in this regard to assess PR credibility.

Every individual needs to provide a valid medical report with a six-month validation. The process has become stricter due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

12. Police Verification

Only people with no past criminal records will get Canadian residency. It is necessary to provide a clean chit police report to expect the Express Entry application to go through.

13. Birth certificate 

To validate the accuracy of your age, you must provide your birth certificate.

14. Character certificate

Obtaining character certificates from teachers and employers is necessary. It will highlight moral values and increase the chances of clearance into Canada.

15. Recommendation Letter

Your recent employer must validate your credibility, skills, and work experience. A recommendation letter will demonstrate your abilities.

16. Photographs

For identity verification, you need to submit two passport-size photographs of 35mmX45mm. The image must exhibit the front face, shoulders, and neck.

Who is the ideal Express Entry candidate?

There are no specifications that make a credible Express Entry profile. Every individual is different, and they will vary their ranks in the CRS. An ideal person who will get priority over others would:

  • Be less than 30 years old
  • Know fluent French and English that passes CLB 7
  • Have two a Master’s degree or two Bachelor’s degrees
  • Have three consecutive years of work experience under the skill specified by the applicant

How much does Express Entry cost?

After processing and documentation, you will have to pay a fee for Express Entry. These include:

  • Individual processing fee for each member you file for
  • Biometrics fee
  • Right to get Permanent Residence fee

If your application is incomplete, you will be notified and get the refund of your:

  • Processing fee
  • Right to get Permanent Residence fee (if paid)

There is no refund policy of the processing fee once the authorities start evaluating the application.

What is a Biometrics fee?

Paying biometrics fees during application submission ensures quickening the process of evaluation. It covers the charges of collecting fingerprints and digital photos.

After paying the biometrics fee, the authorities will send a confirmation letter and mention where to go for biometric proof. You have to present the confirmation letter to authenticate the need for biometric verification.

Paying fees after you apply

You have to pay through your bank account when applying. You can only pay by different methods if:

  • You plan to pay the free of permanent residence after application
  • You add your spouse and dependent children to your application

Note that you will have to provide the birth certificate of your child and marriage certificate for verification.

Do I need a job offer for Express Entry?          

No, you do not need a job offer to get an invitation from Canada for permanent residency through Express Entry. However, people meeting the following criteria would need it. The criteria are:

  • Being eligible for Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Being eligible for Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Not having enough money to support oneself or family if allowed to settle in Canada

How long does Express Entry take?  

Express Entry can take around six months to complete the process. It includes every aspect from profile submission to the issuance of a PR visa. However, six months is a short period that can work out for you if every step passes smoothly.

An Express Entry profile is valid for invitation for 12 months since you applied. If you do not get selected within 12 months, you can resubmit another profile and secure your chances again.

You will get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) if immigration authorities select your profile. You will then have 60 days to provide all requested documents to complete your application. 

After completing and authenticating your entire application, you can expect your PR visa processing done within six months.

What is the maximum age for Express Entry?         

Applicants who are within 20 to 29 years of age get more preference. People who are 35 and above but have high qualifications or connections in Canada will have more chances to get through than those who do not. 

Can I apply to Express Entry twice?            

As per the immigration law of Canada, you can only submit one profile at a time. If you do not receive an ITA within 12 months of application, you can reapply by starting the process again.

If your application is rejected, you should wait for at least six months before resubmitting for PR. This is because it is unlikely to get approval for reapplication unless there are notable changes like increased salary and added qualifications.

How to fix mistakes in your Express Entry Profile?

If you recently submitted your Express Entry profile and have not received ITA, you can make corrections to the application. The online platform allows you to resolve errors and add new documents. 

Here are the steps to follow while making changes to the Express Entry application:

Step 1

  • Open the welcome page of your Express entry account 
  • Select the option that suggests, “What would you like to do today?”

Step 2

  • Choose the option that suggests “View my submitted applications or profiles”
  • Tap on “Check status and messages”
  • Under the section of “Application/profile details,” tap “View submitted application”

Step 3

  • Open your profile and click on “Update form”
  • Select the section you want to modify 
  • Make minimum changes and scroll to the end of the page to tap on “Save and exit”
  • There will be an option to “Continue” to use the website for other details

Note that every time you make changes, you will get an option called “Revert changes” before clicking on “Save and exit.”

If your changes impact the Express Entry eligibility or CRS score, the system will update the same within 24 hours.

When can I not make changes to the Express Entry profile? 

You cannot make changes in your Express Entry profile:

1. When you have an ineligible profile

If your profile does not meet the necessary eligibility criteria under the Express Entry program, you cannot make changes. Thus, if your profile was reviewed and rejected, you cannot make any changes.

You can reapply in such cases, but it is best to improve the aspects based on what you were rejected. For example, if you were rejected due to less qualification, you must increase your eligibility to improve your chances next time. You should also ensure not to make any mistakes when reapplying to prevent corrections. 

2. After you receive ITA

If you receive an Invitation to Apply for the right to residence in Canada, you cannot make changes. In this case, your profile is locked, and you cannot correct the errors you made.

You can amend information while filing for the final application. However, you should try to prevent such circumstances or avoid them if possible. This is because the changes you try to make after receiving ITA can make you ineligible for PR. It might terminate your ITA and even make reapplication difficult for you.

Your Canadian immigration officer will reserve all rights to request you to give information about the original and final application discrepancies. It can be an opportunity to make changes, but it must be handled tactfully.

Final thoughts

Providing false information or lying about your Express Entry profile is an offence. If someone is charged with misrepresentation, it can result in a 5-year ban from applying to Canada. 

We hope this answers your query about what express entry is, but if still doesn’t then please feel free to ask your questions in the comments below. We will be happy to answer them.

Do you want your immigration to be taken care of by experienced immigration experts? We at Career Canada Immigration enable employers, job-seekers & students to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry and other programs successfully. Schedule a call with us.

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