The Express Entry visa system is an electronic Canadian immigration system for skilled foreign workers that manages their applications for a Permanent Resident (PR) Visa to Canada in a very FAST and EFFICIENT way for the following programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Canadian Experience Class Program

The Express Entry system is one of the fastest ways for you and your family to immigrate to Canada and have the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life as a Canadian permanent resident.

For example, it only takes about 8-12 months to receive an Express Entry visa to Canada for permanent residency if you qualify and complete the application process efficiently.

This guide will explain everything you need to know about the Express Entry system, its pros and cons, how it works, how long it takes, how much it costs, and provide answers to many of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) that immigrants have, so please read on!

Table of Contents

What Is Express Entry?

Express Entry

The Express Entry system was launched in 2015 to efficiently manage the Canadian immigration applications of skilled foreign workers (also known as “economic immigrants”) and their families who desire to become permanent residents of Canada.

Canadian permanent residents are allowed to live in Canada for an unlimited amount of time; work in Canada legally; attend Canadian educational programs; receive free or subsidized public healthcare; travel to and from Canada; start a Canadian business; own a home or other property in Canada; sponsor eligible family members for Canadian permanent residency; and apply to become a Canadian citizen after living in Canada for three out of five years.

These three Canadian immigration programs offer permanent residency to skilled foreign workers and are managed using the Express Entry system:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Canadian Experience Class Program

Applications of skilled foreign workers for immigration to Canada through the Canada Provincial Nominee Program can also be processed using the Express Entry system or the traditional PNP application procedure.

The Express Entry visa to Canada is based on a point system in which a skilled foreign worker files an online Express Entry profile with his or her relevant details and is given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on points received for different factors (1200 points are possible).

Applicants with the highest CRS scores may receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for an Express Entry visa to Canada and must then file their complete Application for Canadian Permanent Residency within 60 days.

A decision is usually received from the Canadian immigration agency in six months or less after the Application for Canadian Permanent Residency is filed using the Express Entry system.

This is a relatively fast Canadian immigration procedure, only taking about 8-12 months to become a permanent resident of Canada, which is why it is called Canada Express Entry System.

What are the pros and cons of Express Entry Visa?

There are pros and cons (positive and negative aspects) to the Express Entry system which an immigrant should consider:

Pros of the Express Entry system include:

    • Hundreds of skilled occupations are eligible
    • Immigrate to Canada in about 8-12 months
    • Become a Canadian permanent resident
    • Opportunity to become a Canadian citizen

Cons of the Express Entry system include:

      • Many low-skilled occupations are not eligible
      • High level of English/French language skills is needed
      • Process takes more time than for a temporary work permit
      • More expensive process than for a temporary work permit

How does Express Entry Work?

Three Canadian immigration programs are managed through Express Entry:

Federal Skilled Worker Program:

  • 1 year of experience in an eligible occupation during the past 10 years is required
  • Relevant work experience must be full-time and paid
  • Hundreds of NOC (2021) TEER Skill Level 0, 1, 2 or 3 occupations are eligible
  • At least 67 out of 100 points are needed from six selection factors
  • Factors are: age, education, English/French, experience, job offer, and adaptability
  • Educational Credential Assessment is required if education was from outside Canada
  • An English/French language evaluation test score equivalent to CLB 7 is needed
  • Other eligibility requirements must be satisfied

Federal Skilled Trades Program:

  • 2 years of experience in an eligible skilled trade during the past 5 years is required
  • Relevant work experience must be full-time and paid
  • You must receive one of the following:
    • Certificate of Qualification from a Canadian province or territory
    • Canadian job offer in an eligible occupation that is full-time and lasts 1 year
  • English/French language evaluation test scores must be achieved as follows:
    • At least CLB Level 5 for listening and speaking
    • At least CLB Level 4 for writing and reading
  • Other eligibility requirements must be satisfied

Canadian Experience Class Program:

  • 1 year of Canadian experience in an eligible skilled occupation in the past 3 years is needed
  • The relevant work experience in Canada must have been legal, paid and full-time
  • Hundreds of occupations classified by the 2021 NOC as TEER Skill Level 0, 1, 2 or 3 qualify
  • English/French language evaluation test scores must be achieved as follows:
    • At least equivalent to CLB 7 if your Canadian job was classified as TEER 0 or 1
    • At least equivalent to CLB 5 if your Canadian job was classified as TEER 2 or 3
  • Other eligibility requirements must be satisfied

Steps to take for an Express Entry visa to Canada

The two major steps of applying for an Express Entry visa to Canada generally involve the:

  • Express Entry Profile
  • Invitation to Apply

Step One – Express Entry Profile

During the first step of the procedure, skilled foreign workers will complete an online Express Entry profile which will include details about their education, language abilities, job skills, work experience, age and other details.

Canadian Visa Expert offers a beneficial service, provided by the authorized immigration consultants we subcontract, to correctly file the Express Entry profile on behalf of Canadian Visa Expert clients.

People who meet the criteria for one of the “economic immigration” programs mentioned above (i.e., FSWP, FSTP, CEC or PNP) will be placed into the pool of Canadian immigration candidates and will be ranked according to the others in the pool on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Those who have a qualifying job offer from a Canadian employer or who have received a nomination from a province or territory in Canada “will be given high scores in the ranking system.

If a candidate does not have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer or a provincial/territorial nomination when they submit their Express Entry profile, then he or she should register with the Government of Canada’s Job Bank, which will connect him or her with eligible Canadian employers so that he or she may obtain a valid job offer.

Canadian employers will be able to access the profiles of those who register with Canada’s Job Bank so they can find eligible skilled foreign workers and extend to them offers of employment in Canada.

Provinces and territories across Canada will also be able to search the Job Bank and may offer nominations to their Provincial Nominees Program (PNP) to skilled foreign workers who seem to meet their eligibility requirements. 

Step Two – Invitation to Apply

In the second major step of the Express Entry process, the Canadian government will review the qualifications of skilled foreign workers in the pool and will select eligible candidates (based on skills, experience, points and other factors) to be invited to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada.

In general, in order to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada, a candidate in the Express Entry pool must have one of the highest scores on the Comprehensive Ranking System (1200 points are possible) OR receive a qualifying Canadian job offer OR be nominated for a Provincial Nominees Program (PNP).

Those who receive an ITA will have 60 days to submit an electronic application for Canadian Permanent Residence and will normally be given a response within only 6 months.

People who do not receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for a PR Visa to Canada after being in the pool for 12 months will be removed from the pool, but they may then submit a new Express Entry profile to re-enter the pool of Canadian immigration candidates, if they meet the criteria for the eligible Canadian immigration programs at that time.

The authorized immigration consultants who work with Canadian Visa Expert can assess your eligibility to apply for an Express Entry visa to Canada and, if you qualify, they can help to make the procedure go as smoothly as possible for you and your family.

How long does the Express Entry process take?

It generally takes about 8-12 months to get approved for an Express Entry visa to Canada, depending on:

  • how long it takes for you to do certain things that are required during the process;
  • how long it takes for you to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA); and
  • how long it takes for the Canadian immigration officials to process your application.

How Much Are Express Entry Canada Visa Fees?

There is no fee to file your online Express Entry profile, however, there are governmental fees and non-governmental expenses that you will need to pay at different points in the process.

 

The Canadian Permanent Residency Application Fee is $850 Canadian Dollars (CAD) for you and $850 CAD for your spouse or common-law partner (if relevant).

 

The Right of Permanent Residence Fee is $515 CAD for you and $515 CAD for your spouse/partner (if relevant).

 

The Dependent Child Fee is $230 CAD per child (if relevant).

 

The Biometrics Fee for one person is $85 CAD, but for a family of two or more people it is $170 CAD.

 

The Canadian Permanent Resident Card Fee is $50 CAD per person.

 

Note: The amounts of these governmental fees listed on the Canadian immigration agency’s website were as of December 2022 and subject to change at any time by the Government of Canada.

 

In addition to the Express Entry Canada visa fees, there are non-governmental expenses for the English or French language evaluation test; Educational Credential Assessment (if relevant); medical exam(s); translation of required documents that were not originally written in English or French; police certificates; travel to Canada; and living expenses after you move to Canada.

Should I hire a lawyer or immigration service provider for Express Entry?

You can apply for an Express Entry visa to Canada by yourself, however, many immigrants choose to pay for the services of a lawyer or authorized Canadian immigration consultant to make the process easier for them to complete correctly.

Since 2012, Canadian Visa Expert has been working with authorized immigration consultants who can assess your eligibility for an Express Entry visa to Canada and guide you through the application process if you qualify.

Some Recommended Resources to learn more about Express Entry

FAQ's

How is COVID-19 impacting Express Entry?

The COVID-19 global pandemic temporarily slowed the processing of applications for the Express Entry visa to Canada, due to the disruptions caused by the occasional “lockdowns” which kept Canadian immigration officials out of their offices and also by travel restrictions that were in place for several months. In order to speed up the processing times and reduce the large backlog of applications for the Express Entry visa to Canada, the Canadian government spent around $80 million CAD and hired hundreds of new workers in 2022. By July 2022, processing times for Express Entry returned to the standard of six months or less.

Do I need a Canada job offer under Express Entry?

You do not need a Canadian job offer to apply for an Express Entry visa to Canada; however, you might need a valid Canada job offer to get enough points to qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or you might need to receive a valid Canada job offer to qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades Program if you do not have a Certificate of Qualification for your skilled trade from a Canadian province or territory. Furthermore, you can get points on your Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score for having a valid offer of arranged skilled employment in Canada.

What sort of backgrounds do Express Entry immigrants have?

Express Entry immigrants come from a variety of countries and backgrounds, but they generally tend to be young adults in their 20s and 30s who have at least a Bachelor’s Degree, possess good English or French language abilities and have been working in one of the hundreds of skilled occupations that qualify for an Express Entry visa to Canada. Examples include information technology professionals, healthcare workers, teachers, accountants, construction workers, chefs, engineers, different types of managers and supervisors.

Can my family move to Canada with me under Express Entry?

Yes, you can include in your application for the Express Entry visa to Canada your spouse or common-law partner (opposite sex or same sex) and dependent children who do not have a spouse/partner. You and your family members must meet all of the eligibility requirements for Canadian permanent residency.

Which English or French language tests are approved for Express Entry?

You must achieve at least a certain minimum score (the score depends on which Canadian immigration program you apply for) that was received within the past two years from an authorized language evaluation test such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training Exam or the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) Exam for English; or the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF Canada) or Test de connaissance du français (TCF Canada) for French.

Immigrate to Canada with Express Entry!

DISCLAIMER: This guide is not and shall not be considered as professional or expert advice.
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