Immigrants seeking a new life in Canada choose Express Entry as the fastest and most popular pathway to permanent residence.
Every year, Canada welcomes around 110,000 skilled workers through Express Entry.
What are the steps to applying for Express Entry?
In order to apply for Express Entry, you must submit your profile, which requires the following documents:
✅Results of the language test
✅Report on educational credential assessment
✅Passports or travel documents
You will need to provide a more substantial application with reference letters, additional identification documents, police clearance certificates, and results of a medical examination after you submit your profile and receive an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Express Entry is open to who?
Candidates for Express Entry should have university or college degrees, skilled work experience, and moderate proficiency in English and/or French.
The Express Entry system requires candidates to meet eligibility requirements for one of three federal programs before they can submit a profile:
✅FSW (Federal Skilled Worker)
✅FST (Federal Skilled Trades)
✅CEC (Canadian Experience Class)
How does Express Entry work?
Express Entry is open to skilled workers who meet the following requirements:
✅Have at least one year of continuous full-time (or equivalent part-time) work experience in a skilled occupation in the last 10 years
✅The ability to demonstrate a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) seven in either English or French on an approved language test
✅Assessment of post-secondary education against Canadian standards with an Education Credential Assessment
A skilled worker must meet these minimum requirements to apply to Canada’s Express Entry system. A candidate with a stronger profile will always be selected over one who merely meets the minimum requirement. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee you will be invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
For Express Entry, do I need a job offer?
Express Entry does not require a job offer. The majority of candidates selected for Express Entry do not have a formal Canadian job offer.
Your CRS score can increase by up to 200 points if you have a valid Canadian job offer.
What is the processing time for Express Entry?
From the submission of an Express Entry profile to the issuance of a Permanent Resident Visa, Express Entry can take as little as six months to complete. A candidate’s Express Entry profile will remain in the pool of candidates for 12 months if he or she does not receive an invitation to apply for Express Entry. In the event that you haven’t received an invitation after 12 months, you can resubmit your profile and remain in the pool. To explain more:
✅In the Express Entry pool, your profile will remain valid for 12 months
✅The full application of documents must be submitted within 60 days of receiving the ITA
✅A permanent resident visa can take up to six months to process once the immigration authorities receive your complete application.
What is the formula for calculating Express Entry points?
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score is used by Canada to rank candidates in the Express Entry pool using a series of factors, including:
✅French or English proficiency;
✅Work experience abroad and in Canada;
✅Factors related to the spouse;
What will happen to the CRS score?
No lawyer or consultant can predict how the CRS score will fluctuate in the future, nor can they guarantee that a person will receive permanent residence through Express Entry.
As more and more provinces select profiles from Express Entry, the CRS score of a candidate is becoming less important. Instead, Provincial Nominee Programs look for candidates that can fill local labour market or demographic gaps. So even with a low CRS score, candidates with in-demand skills or work experience can still succeed in Express Entry.
Additionally, the Canadian government has hinted at moving away from CRS scores in favor of occupation-based Express Entry draws.
You can increase your chances of being selected for Express Entry or PNP by completing our free online assessment form.
What can I do to improve my CRS score?
On their own, good IELTS results can earn you up to 160 points. Improving your score is the number one way to increase your points.
If you have good IELTS and post-secondary education, you can get an additional 50 points. If you have good IELTS and work experience, you can get another 50 points.
In order to qualify for Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Worker program, you need to score at least 6.0 on each IELTS language ability, or at least a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7. Your language ability alone can earn you up to 260 Express Entry points if you score CLB 9 in all language abilities.
It is also possible to retake the IELTS as many times as you wish. You can even update your Express Entry profile with new IELTS test results once your profile is submitted.
Our Express Entry clients can access free online IELTS tutorials to help prepare for the test. There are many free or paid resources available online to help prepare for the test.
If you don’t do well, you can retake the IELTS before you submit your application. If you register early, you’ll have time to retake it. You can always update your profile, but if you wait until you’re in the pool to improve your score, you may miss out on draws.
EXPERIENCE IN WORK
As Express Entry manages applications for economic immigration streams, your work experience plays a large role in calculating your Express Entry points.
It’s not easy to accumulate more years of work experience just to improve your Express Entry points.
If you are not eligible for Express Entry, or if you are eligible but do not have a competitive score, consider coming to Canada as a student or temporary worker. Canadian experience can open up many more Canadian immigration opportunities for you.
There are many candidates who don’t take advantage of their work experience as much as they could. One of the easiest ways to increase your score is to choose the right NOC code. Express Entry assigns points to all occupations based on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) matrix.
If you receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence, you must prove that the NOC codes you claim in your work experience are accurate.
As a result, it’s worth taking the time to identify the NOC codes that accurately reflect your career history and will get you the most Express Entry points.
It can be confusing to figure out which NOC codes you can claim from the NOC matrix, so consulting an expert can be very useful.
THE SPOUSAL POINTS
If you have a spouse or common-law partner, you may be missing out on some points.
It’s worth considering all three possibilities here.
By retaking a language test or getting an educational credential assessment (ECA) for any post-secondary education they have, your spouse or partner could increase your Express Entry points.
As a single applicant, you may actually score higher. Since your score is determined by the presence or absence of an accompanying spouse or partner, you could increase your score by listing them as non-accompaniment. You can still sponsor them to join you in Canada if you receive permanent residence, but you will have to separate for a period of time.
You should definitely run through the exercise of calculating how many points your spouse would receive if they were the principal applicant, with or without you accompanying them.
If you and your spouse or partner are both strong candidates, you can each submit a profile to Express Entry and list each other as accompanying. That will double your chances!
There are some more challenging ways you can improve your score if you’ve performed well on language tests, claimed as many points as possible for work experience, and maximized your spousal points.
OFFER OF A JOB
Spend time on the Canada Job Bank, as well as private job boards and social networking sites to connect with Canadian employers in your field. You can receive an additional 50 to 200 points if you accept a job offer from a Canadian employer.
NOMINATIONS AT THE PROVINCIAL LEVEL
An additional 600 points are awarded if you receive a provincial nomination. The majority of provinces operate a nomination program aligned with Express Entry, but it’s usually up to the candidate to determine which programs they’re eligible for and how to apply. There is usually a separate application process for applying for a provincial nomination.
If you choose to go back to school, it can be a pretty big investment in terms of your overall score. However, if you take a short-term program like a one-year post-secondary certificate, it could really boost your total points. If you already have one post-secondary degree of three years or more and take a second one-year program, you can claim an additional 8 points for just education. If you already have CLB 9 and two years of Canadian work experience, you can claim an additional 50 points for skills transferability—that’s 58 total additional Express Entry points.
In Express Entry, Canadian educational credentials are highly valued, and being an international student opens a lot of doors to staying permanently in Canada.
Who is the ideal candidate for Express Entry?
Candidates who enter the Express Entry pool are given a comprehensive ranking system (CRS) score. There is no one-size-fits-all profile that is eligible for Express Entry. If you rank higher, you are more likely to be invited to apply. Language proficiency, age, work experience, education, and Canadian connections can affect your CRS score.
Candidates for Express Entry should meet the following criteria:
✅Age under 30
✅Have at least two Bachelor’s degrees or a Master’s degree
✅Possess moderate to high proficiency in English and/or French (Canadian Language Benchmark [CLB] level nine or higher).
✅Experience in skilled work of at least three years
Your CRS score can also be boosted by:
✅The ability to speak English and/or French at a higher level
✅French and English bilingualism
✅Education leading to a Master’s or Ph.D.
✅Experience working or studying in Canada
✅Currently residing in Canada, a Canadian brother or sister
✅Canadian company offers arranged employment
✅Nomination by a provincial nominee program
Does Express Entry require a minimum score?
In order to increase your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence, it is important to improve your ranking in the pool of candidates.
What is the formula for calculating my language points?
The number of points a candidate receives under the language factor of their CRS depends on the score they receive on one of Canada’s official English or French exams.
What effect does my IELTS score have on my CRS score?
You can significantly increase your CRS score by getting a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 9 on each section of the exam. This will double your skill transferability factor points.
You can demonstrate your proficiency in French or English by taking the Express Entry exam. If you are more proficient in French, you may decide to take the French exam instead. In this case, you do not need to take the IELTS or CELPIP exam. Rather than scoring a minimum of CLB 9, you should aim for a minimum of CLB 9 on each area of the French test to maximize your language points.
Is my spouse required to take the IELTS exam?
If you are submitting an Express Entry profile through the FSW program with an accompanying spouse, they may need to take a language exam, such as the IELTS, depending on your FSW score. An additional 5 points can be claimed towards your FSW score if your spouse scores at least CLB 4 on each of IRCC’s designated language tests. Those points could help you qualify to submit a profile if your score is below 67.
You may also be able to increase your Express Entry pool chances by taking advantage of your spouse’s language results.
What is the reason for my zero Express Entry score?
In the case of a zero Express Entry score, your profile does not meet the eligibility requirements. This can occur immediately after submitting your Express Entry profile, or after months of being in the pool. Some of the reasons that a profile becomes ineligible include:
✅Language results or ECA reports that have expired;
✅Failure to meet minimum settlement fund requirements;
✅Loss of eligibility points for the age factor (for federally skilled workers)
✅Having less than one year of work experience in the past 10 years;
✅Working in your primary NOC code for less than one year
For Canadian PR, what is the required CRS score?
It is impossible to predict which CRS score will guarantee an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence. The CRS cut-off varies from draw to draw.
What is the reason for the high CRS cut-off?
Because of the additional points given to candidates with a nomination on their profile, the CRS cut-off for Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) specific Express Entry draws is higher.
Candidates who receive a provincial nomination may receive 600 points toward their CRS score.
Trends in CRS scores
When Canada alternates between holding Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws, the CRS cut-off in CEC draws reached record lows in February 2021. In February 2021, the Canadian government invited over 27,000 CEC candidates with CRS scores as low as 75. The CRS cut-off for PNP draws ranged between the 600-800s. The high CRS cut-off in PNP draws is due to the additional 600 points given to PNP candidates. That means that, prior to receiving a nomination, the lowest ranking PNP candidate had a CRS score of less than 100.
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