In January 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced Express Entry (EE), a new electronic system to manage and select candidates with an eligible EE profile under key economic immigration programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) (a select portion only)
Potential candidates can complete an Express Entry profile if they meet the selection criteria under one of the above four categories. Note that there are no caps on the number of EE candidates that will be accepted into the pool and there is no fee to set up a profile (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/express/express-entry.asp).
Candidates in the pool are ranked against others based on a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which assesses factors such as skills, work experience, language ability, and education. CIC will issue and Invitation to Apply (ITA) to candidate from the Express Entry pool based on the round’s Ministerial Instructions. Candidates with an ITA have 60 days to upload their complete permanent residence file.
Tips for your Express Entry Profile
It has been five months since the introduction of the the Express Entry program and there have been nine rounds of invitations so far. We have put together a Do and Don’t list for your Express Entry profile based on what we have learned about the system so far:
DO update your profile with new information. For example, changes in family circumstances such as birth of a child, marriage, or new common-law partner should be updated in your EE profile. If you completed a program of study, such as a Master’s program, obtain a new ECA if required. Changes may in fact improve your CRS score.
DO maximize your CRS score with high language results. If you have a disappointing score, you may prepare and re-write the exam to improve your score. If you have fluency in both English and French, make sure to write both language tests and include the results in your profile. A high language result can increase your CRS score substantially, which can make the difference in whether you receive an ITA or not.
DO regularly review opportunities to apply under Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Although some PNP programs have yet to introduce an Express Entry stream – Ontario for example – you may be eligible under one of the regular PNP streams. It is anticipated that Ontario’s PNP Program will introduce an Express Entry stream in the near future.
DON’T wait until your work permit is about to expire before you create an Express Entry profile. Even if you have a very high score, you won’t be eligible for an open bridging work permit until the following three things occur: you receive an ITA, you have filed your Permanent Residence application and you received a positive eligibility assessment; this can take up to six months or more. Although your employer may be filing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to support the extension of your work permit, the LMIA process can take several months and a positive LMIA has become increasingly challenging to obtain.
DON’T embellish your profile with inaccurate information to improve your CRS score. There are serious consequences for providing false information. A finding of misrepresentation could result in a five year bar to any application to Canada, including both temporary and permanent applications.
DON’T be discouraged by CRS scores for previous ITA rounds. So far, the CRS scores have ranged from 453 points to 886 points. Canada’s target range for immigrants in 2015 is between 260,000 and 285,000. A good portion will come from the economic immigration streams.
Immi Sikand has over 15 years of experience and is Certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law. She is the founder and principal of Sikand Immigration Law, a law firm that provides a full range of immigration services.