Express Entry Canada: A Detailed Guide to Fast-Track Immigration


Canada, known for its scenic beauty, multicultural diversity, and exciting opportunities, has become a dream destination for immigrants worldwide. At the heart of this influx of skilled immigrants is Canada’s innovative immigration system – Express Entry. Designed to attract and retain high-skilled workers who can contribute to the economic growth of the country, Express Entry offers a streamlined path to permanent residence. This comprehensive guide aims to demystify the process, providing you with a step-by-step walkthrough of Express Entry, helping you embark on this exciting journey with confidence and clarity.

Section 1: Understanding Express Entry

Subsection 1.1: What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is a point-based online immigration system that was introduced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in 2015. It is designed to fast-track the process of obtaining permanent residence for skilled immigrants who want to settle in Canada. The system works on the premise of inviting potential immigrants who are most likely to succeed economically in Canada.

Express Entry isn’t a new immigration program itself, but rather an online system that manages applications for existing ones, namely the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The provinces and territories of Canada also recruit candidates from the Express Entry pool to meet their local labor market needs through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Subsection 1.2: Express Entry Streams

1. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The FSWP is designed for skilled professionals with foreign work experience who are deemed likely to integrate into the Canadian labor market. This program assesses applicants based on factors such as education, work experience, age, language proficiency, and adaptability.



2. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The FSTP is for skilled workers who have significant practical experience in a specific trade. This could include professions in construction, transportation, manufacturing, electrical, and many more.

3. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The CEC is tailored for foreign workers who have already gained Canadian work experience. This category aims to help individuals with a Canadian work history transition to permanent residency.

Section 2: Eligibility Criteria for Express Entry

Understanding the eligibility criteria for the different Express Entry streams is crucial as it sets the foundation for your application. Here’s a detailed breakdown for each program:

1. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

For the FSWP, you must:

  • Have at least one year of continuous full-time (or equivalent part-time) work experience in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) type 0, A or B job in the last 10 years.
  • Score at least 67 points out of 100 on the FSWP point assessment grid. Points are awarded for education, language skills, work experience, age, job offer from Canada, and adaptability.
  • Demonstrate language proficiency in English or French with a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 7 in all four abilities (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).
  • Show proof of funds to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada unless you can legally work in Canada or have a valid job offer.

2. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

For the FSTP, you must:

  • Have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in a skilled trade within the five years before you apply.
  • Meet the job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the NOC, except for needing a certificate of qualification.
  • Have either a valid job offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year or a certificate of qualification in your skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial, or federal authority.
  • Demonstrate sufficient language proficiency in English or French with a minimum CLB of 5 for speaking and listening, and CLB 4 for reading and writing.

3. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

For the CEC, you must:



  • Have at least 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada, in the last three years before you apply. The work experience must be full-time or an equivalent amount in part-time.
  • Have gained your work experience in Canada with the proper authorization.
  • Demonstrate language proficiency in English or French. The required minimum CLB level varies depending on the level of the job.
  • Plan to live outside the province of Quebec.

Remember that these are basic eligibility requirements, and additional factors may affect your eligibility for Express Entry.

Section 3: The Express Entry Process

The Express Entry process is streamlined to ensure an efficient journey towards your permanent residency. Below is a step-by-step guide to understanding this process:

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

The first step is determining your eligibility for the Express Entry system under any of the three programs: FSWP, FSTP, or CEC. Use the information in Section 2 as a guide to find the program that best suits your qualifications.

Step 2: Create Your Express Entry Profile

Next, you will need to create an online Express Entry profile, where you will provide information about your skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other personal details. Creating a profile does not guarantee that you will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency.

Step 3: Enter the Express Entry Pool

Once your profile is complete and you meet the criteria, you will be placed in the Express Entry pool of candidates. Here, you will be ranked against other candidates using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS awards points for factors such as age, education, language proficiency, and work experience.

Step 4: Receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA)

Every few weeks, the IRCC conducts Express Entry draws, inviting the highest-ranking candidates from the pool to apply for permanent residence. If you receive an ITA, you will have 60 days to submit your complete application for permanent residence.

Step 5: Apply for Permanent Residence

After receiving an ITA, you can proceed to apply for permanent residency. At this stage, you will need to provide more detailed information and upload necessary supporting documents.


Section 4: After Submitting Your Express Entry Application

Submitting your Express Entry application is a significant milestone, but what comes next? Here’s what you can expect after submitting your application:

1. Application Review

The IRCC will review your application to verify the accuracy of the information provided. If everything checks out and your application is complete, it will proceed to the next step.



2. Additional Information or Documents

If required, the IRCC may request additional documents or information. This could include medical examinations, police certificates, or biometrics.

3. Application Decision

If your application is successful, you’ll receive Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and a permanent resident visa (if you’re from a country that requires a visa).

4. Preparing to Arrive in Canada

Once you’ve received your COPR and visa, you can make plans to move to Canada. However, note that your COPR and visa have an expiry date, and you must arrive in Canada before these documents expire.

5. Becoming a Permanent Resident

Upon arrival in Canada, you will be greeted by an immigration officer who will verify your documents and ask you a few questions to confirm your eligibility. Once everything is confirmed, you’ll officially be granted your Canadian Permanent Resident status.

Section 5: FAQs about Express Entry

Navigating the Express Entry system can raise several questions. Let’s address some of the most frequently asked ones:

1. What is the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)?

The CRS is a points-based system that the IRCC uses to assess and score your profile and rank it in the Express Entry pool. It considers factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and language proficiency in English or French.

2. How can I improve my CRS score?

There are several ways to enhance your CRS score: improving language scores, gaining more work experience, obtaining a higher education, securing a valid job offer from a Canadian employer, or receiving a nomination from a province or territory.

3. How often are Express Entry draws conducted?

Express Entry draws typically occur every two weeks, although the exact schedule can vary.

4. What happens if I don’t get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in the Express Entry draws?

If you don’t receive an ITA within 12 months of submitting your Express Entry profile, your profile will expire. If you still wish to immigrate to Canada, you will need to submit a new profile.

5. What is the processing time for Express Entry?

The standard processing time for Express Entry applications, once you’ve received an ITA, is six months. However, this can vary based on individual circumstances and the completeness of your application.

6. Can I work in Canada while waiting for my Express Entry application to be processed?

You can work in Canada while waiting for your Express Entry application to be processed if you have a valid work permit. If not, you will need to apply for one.

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