Express Entry: Overview

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Express Entry is Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC’s) system for managing the intake of economic immigration applications submitted on or after January 1, 2015, for the following classes:

  • Federal skilled worker class (FSWC);
  • Federal skilled trades class (FSTC);
  • Canadian experience class (CEC); and
  • a portion of the provincial nominee class (PNC).

As of January 1, 2015, foreign nationals must receive an invitation from IRCC before they may apply to the above programs.

Express Entry eliminates the requirement to process applicants in these programs through a first in, first out method. IRCC aims to process 80% of complete Express Entry applications in six months or less.

Note: Quebec’s economic immigration programs are not managed through Express Entry.

How to become a candidate for permanent residence under Express Entry

In Express Entry, foreign nationals wishing to come to Canada must first complete a profile through their online account. Those who appear to meet the criteria of one or more of the three federal immigration programs managed through Express Entry (i.e., FSWC, FSTC and CEC) are automatically entered into the Express Entry pool of candidates. Top-ranked candidates are then invited to apply online for permanent residence.

Candidates who do not have a qualifying offer of arranged employment or a provincial or territorial nomination when completing their profile are required to register with the Government of Canada’s Job Bank within the first 30 days following their profile submission. Candidates will not be eligible for an invitation to apply if they failed to register with Job Bank.

In addition, before creating an Express Entry profile, candidates must

  • take a designated language test;
  • have their educational credentials assessed by a designated organization against Canadian standards (if educated outside of Canada); and
  • find out whether their work experience falls within a qualifying skill type as per the Government of Canada’s job classification system (National Occupational Classification).

Note: Once an Express Entry profile is started, candidates have 60 days to submit it. If the candidate meets the requirements of at least one of the three immigration programs, they will be placed into the Express Entry pool of candidates. There are no caps on the number of candidates that are accepted in the pool.

Comprehensive Ranking System

Candidates receive a score based on IRCC’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and are ranked against each other in the Express Entry pool. The CRS is based on objective criteria known to contribute to an immigrant’s economic success in Canada and was developed by IRCC through evidence-based research.

Express Entry candidates may score CRS points on the basis of

  • human capital (age, education, official language proficiency and work experience);
  • additional factors (qualifying offer of arranged employment or Canadian educational credentials); and,
  • a provincial or territorial nomination.

Express Entry rounds of invitations and Invitation to Apply

On a regular basis, IRCC conducts “rounds of invitations” and invites the highest ranked Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence.

Express Entry rounds of invitations are done at a frequency and in numbers that align with IRCC’s processing capacity and annual levels targets. Rounds of invitations can be general and include all programs (i.e., top-ranked candidates are selected regardless of immigration program), or be program-specific (e.g., top-ranked CEC candidates only).

From the date of issuance of an Invitation to Apply (ITA), candidates have 90 calendar days to submit a complete online application for permanent residence through their online account. The application for permanent residence is a dynamic form that asks the applicant questions based on their profile (e.g., if the applicant declares an accompanying spouse, the system prompts the applicant with questions about the spouse).

Being in the Express Entry pool does not guarantee that a candidate will be issued an ITA. Likewise, an ITA does not guarantee that an applicant will receive a positive decision on their application for permanent residence.

Requirement to be truthful and provide evidence

When they submit their application via their online account, applicants must provide proof of the claims made in their Express Entry profile, on the basis of which they were invited to apply. Failure to do so will lead to a refusal of the application. Persons who misrepresent their qualifications in their Express Entry profile and/or their application may face a five-year ban from submitting any further immigration applications to Canada (including temporary residence applications).

Applicants who apply through Express Entry are subject to standard admissibility requirements (e.g., health and security checks).

Employer Liaison Network

The Employer Liaison Network (ELN) is a network of IRCC officers located in regional offices across Canada. ELN officers provide Canadian employers with useful and up-to-date information on permanent economic immigration programs and policies related to Express Entry. The ELN’s goal is to increase employer awareness and use of the Express Entry system, as well as to facilitate linkages between Canadian employers and skilled labour overseas.

The ELN does not address case-specific enquiries nor work permit issues, and is focused on permanent resident streams (i.e., not temporary resident streams).

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