Wondering how to immigrate to Canada? Look no further! This northern natural paradise is home to a relaxed, multicultural society who recognise the great positive impact of welcoming skilled immigrants to the country.
This attitude is reflected in practical, easy-to-navigate immigration policies that make it possible for thousands of people from all over the world to successfully move to Canada each year.
One of the fastest ways for skilled workers to become Canadian Permanent Residents (PR) is through Express Entry. Read on to learn what this programme is all about and how you can participate.
What Is Canada’s Express Entry Programme?
Established in 2015, this online system provides a way for skilled workers to immigrate to Canada and become permanent residents.
If you are interested in travelling to Canada temporarily as a tourist, what you’re looking for is the Electronic Travel Authorisation, which you can learn more about here.
If you’re in it for the long haul and want to make Canada your permanent home, keep reading to find out how to apply for this programme.
What Is the Canada Express Entry Process?
Here’s a basic overview of the process step by step.
- Take a government-approved English or French language test. You must do this even if you are a native speaker. (Learn more about the test types below.)
- Get your foreign education credentials assessed if you were educated outside of Canada. This is not mandatory for all programs, but your education level can greatly increase your chances of success. Your foreign secondary and/or post-secondary education will only be recognised with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from a designated organisation.
- Identify your National Occupation Classification (NOC). You must have work experience in at least 1 of the following:
- Skill Type 0 (Management Jobs).
- Skill Level A (Professional Jobs).
- Skill Level B (Technical Jobs and Skilled Trades).
- Use the online tool to determine if you are eligible. You must have already taken the language test, know what level of education you will be recognised for, and know what National Occupation Classification you want to apply with.
- You are awarded points based on things like your age, education, work experience, language skills, adaptability, and employment offer (if applicable). The number of points you receive (out of 100 possible points) determines whether you are eligible.
- If you qualify, you can submit your profile to be included in the pool. At this point, your profile will be ranked according to your score on the Comprehensive Ranking System (out of 1,200 possible points).
- About every 2 weeks, there is a draw. Each draw has a minimum cutoff score. Profiles in the pool that have a number of points equal to or above the cutoff will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
- If invited to apply, you must submit your application and supporting documents within 60 days.
- The typical processing time for applications is 6 months or less.
Ta-da! Now you have a good idea of what to expect during each step of your journey. Remember that this is an online system, so you’ll be able to do most of the legwork from the comfort of your home.
Canada Express Entry Eligibility and Requirements
The first question on most people’s minds is whether or not they’re eligible. Let’s put that to rest!
The easiest way to check your Express Entry eligibility is to use the government’s online form here.
You’ll need to answer questions about your:
- Family members.
- English and/or French language skills.
- Work experience.
- Job offer in Canada, if applicable.
Remember, even if English or French is your native language, you must take a language test since your results will have an impact on your eligibility. Here are the types of tests you can take:
- IELTS (General Training) or CELPIP (General) for English.
- TEF or TCF for French.
The minimum IELTS score required for Canada Express Entry is CLB 7, which means at least a 6.0 on each language ability measured. However, getting a better score on your language test will mean a higher score for your express entry profile, so do your best!
When assessing your eligibility, keep in mind that you can only count your education outside of Canada if you get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).
You should also be aware that you must have skilled work experience in 1 of these National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups:
- Managerial jobs (skill type 0).
- Professional jobs (skill level A).
- Technical jobs and skilled trades (skill level B).
Want to get a better idea of the requirements before you use the eligibility wizard?
Basically, you must meet the requirements for 1 of 3 economic immigration programmes:
- Federal Skilled Worker Programme.
- Federal Skilled Trades Programme.
- Canadian Experience Class (for those who have skilled work experience in the country).
If you prefer, you can research the requirements of each programme online.
The Points-Based System
What is the minimum number of points for Canada Express Entry?
There are 2 separate moments when your number of points counts.
- When your profile is qualified as eligible or ineligible. When you create your profile, you must have 67 points out of 100 to be eligible for inclusion in the pool.
- When you apply to be included in the pool, you are awarded a score out of 1,200 points on the Comprehensive Ranking System. There is no fixed minimum number of points you need for Express Entry. The CRS score required to be selected from the applicant pool changes for each round of invitations.
To get a better idea of what you may be up against, you can look at the points cutoff for the latest draw of the Canada Express Entry. Just do an online search for the most recent round of invitations and you’ll see the CRS score of the lowest-ranked candidate invited.
One thing is for sure: the higher your score, the more likely you are to be selected and sent a letter of invitation.
You will need a few different documents at the various stages.
Documents for creating your profile
- Passport or travel document.
- Language test results.
- Education Credential Assessment report.
- Required only if you want to get points for education you received outside of Canada, or if you are applying for the Federal Skilled Workers program.
- Provincial nomination (if applicable).
- Written job offer from Canadian employer (if applicable).
It’s not necessary to upload any of these documents as you complete your profile, but you may need information from them. If you are invited to apply, you will need to upload copies of these documents.
You have 60 days to complete and submit your profile. You can save information in your profile and use your Canada Express Entry login to sign back in and complete it.
Documents for your application for permanent residence
- Police certificates.
- Needed for every country you stayed in for 6 consecutive months or more, during the past 10 years.
- Not needed for time before age 18 or time spent in Canada.
- Medical exams.
- Your application will not be approved if your health is a danger to Canada’s public health and safety, or if it would cause a high demand on health or social services.
- Results must be valid both when you submit your application and when you arrive in the country.
- Proof of funds.
- This is to show you have enough money to support you and any dependents in Canada.
- Not needed if you are applying under the Canadian Experience Class, or if you are authorised to work in the country and have a valid job offer.
- Copies of documents included in your profile, as mentioned above.
You will upload these documents as part of your application after you receive the letter of invitation.
Canada Express Entry Fee Structure
There are no government fees for submitting your profile. However, keep in mind that there will be a cost associated with taking the language tests and getting your Educational Credential Assessment, which are needed for completing your profile.
When you receive a letter of invitation and make your application, you will need to pay the following fees:
- Processing fee and right of permanent residence fee: 1,325 CAN.
- Include your spouse or partner: 1,325 CAN.
- Include a dependent child: 224 CAN per child.
You must also pay the cost of obtaining the documents required for your application (police certificates, etc.)
Frequently Asked Questions
At this point, you should have the essential information you need to start the process of finding out if you are eligible and creating your profile. However, we’ve also included a few common questions and answers below to give you extra support.
How Can I Improve My CRS Score?
Here are some things that will give you additional points:
- Strong English and French language test scores.
- You can get points for both languages, so submit your French scores too if you speak the language.
- If you aren’t happy with your test scores, take the test again to boost your points.
- Having a sibling or spouse currently living in Canada as a citizen or permanent resident.
- Post-secondary education.
- Post-secondary education in Canada.
- Foreign skilled work experience in your field.
- Skilled work experience in Canada (with valid work permit).
- Job offer for skilled occupation in Canada.
- Accompanying spouse/common-law partner factors: language skills and Canadian work experience.
- Provincial nomination through the Provincial Nominee Programme.
- This gives you a massive amount of points, so it’s definitely worth looking into.
How Do I Apply for the Provincial Nominee Programme?
There are 2 ways to apply online:
- By contacting a province or territory and applying for a nomination before setting up your profile.
- By including the provinces and territories that interest you in your profile. This way, you may receive a ‘notification of interest’.
There is also a paper-based option, but it takes longer.
What Should Married Applicants Know?
If you are married or have a common-law partner, you will need to decide which one of you will be the main or principal applicant. This person will be the one to submit a profile, and the other spouse will be listed on that profile.
Before you decide who should be the main applicant, use a Canada Express Entry Points Calculator online to determine who will have the highest score. The person with the most points should be the principal applicant.
The person listed as the accompanying spouse can help increase the score of the applicant by providing information on language ability, work experience, etc.
How Does Age Affect My CMS Score?
Applicants aged 20-29 earn the most age points, with applicants aged 18-19 or 30-31 earning slightly less.
Starting at age 30, the older you are, the less points you get for age. Applicants age 45 or older do not receive points for age.
However, that doesn’t mean that older applicants can’t qualify. You can still rack up the necessary points in the other categories, such as education and work experience.
Where Do Most Successful Applicants Come From?
The country with the highest number of citizens using this programme is India. This is not surprising considering that India has a very large English-speaking population with high levels of education, skills and work experience.
However, citizens of all nations are invited to apply. You can apply from inside Canada or from anywhere in the world.
Canada Express Entry Next Draw Prediction
The Canadian government does a draw about every 2 weeks. To estimate when the next draw will be, simply look up the last draw and add 14 days. There is always a new opportunity just around the corner!