If you want to immigrate to Canada under a federal economic immigration program, the Express Entry program can help get you into the country—and working—in about 6 months or less.
Express Entry uses an online immigration management system for applying to a federal economic immigration program covered by Express Entry. Candidates who apply for permanent residence through Express Entry must satisfy minimum requirements to enter Canada legally. These requirements include:
If you meet these criteria, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will assess your application to the same standards under any federal economic immigration program, based on:
Even before you apply for permanent residence through Express Entry, you must show in your primary occupation that you have relevant work experience. Your work experience must match the qualifying duties of a job description that is assigned a code in the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC). Knowing the correct NOC code for your job ensures you apply to the right program in your Express Entry application.
You can apply to one of these 3 federal economic immigration programs:
Federal Skilled Workers Program. Candidates have at least 1 year of continuous full-time work prior to their application, either paid or commission-based, in a managerial job, professional or trade assigned a NOC code.
Federal Skilled Trades Program. Candidates have at least 2 years of full-time work experience within 5 years of applying, or the equivalent work experience in part-time hours, in a trade that is assigned a NOC code under a specific group.
Canadian Experience Class. Candidates meet the same requirements under the Federal Skilled Workers Program above, except they have at least 1 year of full-time work experience in Canada, or the equivalent experience in part-time.
The Canadian government provides a sample Express Entry questionnaire to help predict if you would be a good candidate.
The IRCC weighs key ranking factors using a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS will assess and score your application profile, and rank it in the Express Entry pool. In particular, the CRS will evaluate:
The highest-ranking candidates from the pool receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Please note: provinces and territories may also recruit candidates from the Express Entry pool through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to meet local labour market needs.
Once your Express Entry profile is complete, the points you get from CRS include
Core: Up to 600 points
Additional: Up to 600 points
Consider studying and preparing for language exams. A number of online courses such as the IELTS Preparation Online Course can help you gauge your fluency until you're a good Express Entry Candidate. You need your language test results before you can create an Express Entry profile.
Have your foreign credentials assessed according to Canadian standards. You will need to complete an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) indicating what your education is equal to in Canada. The Canadian government only accepts from certain designated organizations. You can find a list of them here.
Deal with any medical inadmissibility or criminal inadmissibility issues you may have. The processing time for police background checks can be lengthy in some countries. Wherever you live, request these documents early. You can find country-specific guidelines on how to obtain a police certificate here.
Browse available Provincial Nominee Programs to see if Express Entry could fast-track a provincial nomination for permanent residence. You can find more information on how provincial nominee programs work here.
Create a candidate profile online. Express Entry allows you to generate an online expression of interest in applying for Canadian permanent residence through one of the federal economic immigration programs. Express Entry candidate profiles may remain in the candidate pool for up to one year.
Keep preparing while you wait. Try improving your score by getting a valid job offer, using Job Bank, promoting yourself to employers in Canada, or contacting provinces and territories to consider you for a Provincial Nominee Program. You can also improve your education and language score. Express Entry applications take about 6 months to process from the time you submit your application.
Remember, draws from the candidate pool occur every few weeks. Keep your language test results current. The information in your profile must remain true and accurate at all times. You must update your profile if start a new career, for example, start a job offer, get married or divorced, or adopt a new child.
If you receive an Invitation to Apply, you'll have 60 days to submit supporting documents so that the final stage of the Permanent Residence process can take place.
If you’re not invited to apply within 12 months of submitting your Express Entry profile, it will automatically expire. Once that happens you can submit a new profile, and start again. You will also receive a new Express Entry profile number and Job Seeker validation code for Job Bank.