Express Entry: What potential candidates need to know

Express Entry is used to manage applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs:

Provinces and territories can also recruit candidates from the Express Entry system through their Provincial Nominee Programs to meet local labour market needs.

If you are invited to apply for permanent residence under Express Entry, you will benefit from fast processing times of six months or less.

Express Entry ensures that candidates who are most likely to succeed economically – not simply those first in line – are able to immigrate to Canada.

How Express Entry works

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Text version: How Express Entry Works
  • Step 1:
    1. Fill out your Express Entry profile
    2. Be accepted into the Express Entry pool
  • Step 2:
    1. Get an invitation to apply
    2. Apply for permanent residence online

Step 1

Potential candidates create an online Express Entry profile

To express your interest in coming to Canada as a skilled foreign worker:

  1. Take a language test in English and/or French. If you were educated outside of Canada, you may also need to have your education assessed against Canadian standards. Learn more about language and education assessments.
  2. Create an online Express Entry profile and tell us about your skills, work experience, language ability, education and other details.
  3. If you meet the criteria of one of the federal economic immigration programs  under Express Entry, you will be placed in a pool of pre-screened candidates.

If you have a valid job offer, you can get additional points.

If you are in the Express Entry pool, you can start your job search by creating a Job Match account with Job Bank. If you don’t have a job when you come to Canada, you can continue using Job Bank to find a job.

A Job Match account with Job Bank is an easy, online tool to help match you with employers looking for workers with your skills.

Express Entry pool

You will be given a score to determine your place in the Express Entry pool using a Comprehensive Ranking System. This system includes factors known to contribute to economic success (such as language, education and work experience).

There are regular rounds of invitations to apply for permanent residence sent to candidates in the Express Entry pool. Candidates with the highest scores will be invited to apply.

Your profile in the Express Entry pool will be valid for 12 months. During that time, you will need to update your profile if anything changes, such as your level of education or language test results.

Filling out an online Express Entry profile is not a guarantee that you will qualify for permanent residence. If you are invited to apply for permanent residence, the details in your Express Entry profile will be verified at that time.

Step 2

Selected candidates are invited to apply for permanent residence online

You will be invited to apply for permanent residence if you:

  • have been nominated by a province or territory or
  • are among the top ranked in the pool based on your skills and experience

We will process the majority of complete permanent residence applications within six months or less.

If you are in the Express Entry pool and are not invited to apply for permanent residence after 12 months, you can re-submit your profile and re-enter the pool if you still meet the criteria.

Find out more about Express Entry.

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