Are you a skilled worker who wants to live and work in Canada permanently? If so, you may be interested in Express Entry, an online system that manages applications for three federal economic immigration programs. Express Entry is designed to select the best candidates who can contribute to Canada’s economy and society. In this blog post, we will explain what Express Entry is, how it works, and what are the benefits and challenges of applying through it. We will also share some exciting news about a recent announcement from the Canadian government that could make Express Entry even more attractive for newcomers with experience in the trades.
What is Express Entry?
Express Entry is an online system that was launched in 2015 by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to manage applications for three federal economic immigration programs:
Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP): for skilled workers with foreign work experience who meet the criteria for education, language ability, and other factors.
Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP): for skilled workers who are qualified in a skilled trade and have a valid job offer or a certificate of qualification from a Canadian province or territory.
Canadian Experience Class (CEC): for skilled workers who have Canadian work experience in one of the occupations listed by the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
If you are eligible for one of these programs, you can create an online profile and enter the Express Entry pool, where you will be ranked according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS is a points-based system that assesses your profile based on factors such as age, education, work experience, language ability, and adaptability. You can also get additional points if you have a provincial nomination, a valid job offer, a sibling in Canada, or French language skills. Every few weeks, IRCC conducts a draw and invites the highest-ranked candidates in the pool to apply for permanent residence. If you receive an invitation to apply (ITA), you will have 60 days to submit your complete application online. IRCC aims to process most applications within six months or less.
How does Express Entry work?
The Express Entry process consists of four main steps:
Determine your eligibility: Before you create your profile, you need to check if you meet the minimum requirements for one of the three programs. You can use the online tool on IRCC’s website to find out if you are eligible. You also need to take a language test and get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) if you have foreign education.
Create your profile: Once you are eligible, you can create your online profile and enter the Express Entry pool. You will need to provide information about your personal details, education, work experience, language ability, and other factors. You will also need to register with Job Bank, a free online service that connects employers and job seekers in Canada.
Improve your score: After you create your profile, you will receive a CRS score based on the information you provided. Your CRS score determines your rank in the pool and your chances of getting an ITA. You can improve your score by gaining more work experience, improving your language skills, getting a provincial nomination or a job offer, or having a sibling in Canada or French language skills.
Apply for permanent residence: If you receive an ITA, you will have 60 days to submit your complete application online. You will need to provide supporting documents such as proof of identity, education, work experience, language ability, funds, and medical and police clearance. You will also need to pay the application fees and the right of permanent residence fee. IRCC will review your application and make a final decision within six months or less.
What are the benefits of Express Entry?
Express Entry has many advantages for skilled workers who want to immigrate to Canada permanently. Some of the benefits are:
Fast processing times: Express Entry is one of the fastest ways to get permanent residence in Canada. Most applications are processed within six months or less, compared to other immigration programs that can take years.
Flexible criteria: Express Entry does not have a fixed list of eligible occupations or a minimum income requirement. You can qualify for one of the programs based on your skills, education, work experience, and language ability. You can also improve your CRS score by gaining more work experience, improving your language skills, or getting a provincial nomination or a job offer.
Online application: Express Entry is an online system that allows you to create your profile, submit your documents, pay your fees, and track your application status from anywhere in the world. You can also update your profile at any time if your circumstances change.
Multiple opportunities: Express Entry gives you multiple opportunities to get an ITA. You can stay in the pool for up to 12 months or until you get an ITA, whichever comes first. You can also re-enter the pool if your profile expires or if you decline an ITA. Moreover, you can apply for more than one program at the same time if you meet the eligibility criteria.
What are the challenges of Express Entry?
Express Entry is not a guarantee of permanent residence in Canada. It is a competitive system that selects the best candidates from a large pool of applicants. Therefore, you may face some challenges and potential drawbacks when applying through Express Entry. Some of them are:
High CRS score: The CRS score is the most important factor that determines your rank in the pool and your chances of getting an ITA. However, the CRS score is also dynamic and unpredictable, as it depends on the number and quality of candidates in the pool and the frequency and size of the draws. The CRS cut-off score varies from draw to draw, and it can be very high or very low depending on the demand and supply of skilled workers. For example, in 2023, the CRS cut-off score ranged from 332 to 472. Therefore, you may need to have a very high CRS score to be invited, or you may have to wait for a long time in the pool until your score matches or exceeds the cut-off score.
Limited time frame: If you receive an ITA, you will have only 60 days to submit your complete application online. This may not be enough time for some applicants to gather all the required documents, especially if they need to obtain medical and police clearance from different countries or if they face delays due to COVID-19 restrictions. Therefore, you need to be prepared and organized before you receive an ITA, and have all your documents ready or in progress.
Cost of living: Immigrating to Canada through Express Entry may also entail a high cost of living, especially if you choose to settle in one of the major cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal. These cities are known for their high quality of life, but also for their high rent, food, transportation, and other expenses. According to Numbeo, a website that compares the cost of living in different cities around the world, the monthly cost of living for a single person in Toronto is about $2,300 CAD (excluding rent), while in Vancouver it is about $2,100 CAD (excluding rent), and in Montreal it is about $1,800 CAD (excluding rent). Therefore, you need to have enough money to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada, and plan your budget accordingly.
Employment barriers: Finding a job in Canada may not be easy for some Express Entry applicants, especially if they do not have Canadian work experience or education, or if they face language or cultural barriers. Some employers may not recognize foreign credentials or experience, or may prefer local candidates over newcomers. Some industries may also be more competitive or saturated than others, or may require additional certification or licensing. Therefore, you need to do your research before you apply for Express Entry, and find out what are the labour market trends and opportunities in your field and location of interest. You may also need to upgrade your skills, network with potential employers, or consider alternative career options.
What is the latest news about Express Entry?
On August 5, 2023, the Canadian government announced the first-ever Express Entry invitations for newcomers with experience in the trades. This means that IRCC invited 500 candidates who qualified for the FSTP and had CRS scores as low as 332. This was a significant drop from the previous FSTP draw in May 2023, which had a minimum CRS score of 415. This announcement is part of Canada’s efforts to support its economic recovery and address labour shortages in various sectors, especially in construction, manufacturing, and transportation. According to IRCC Minister Marco Mendicino, “Canada needs newcomers with skills and experience in the trades to help our economy grow and create more jobs for Canadians. That’s why we’re inviting more tradespeople to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry.” If you have experience in one of the eligible trades occupations listed by IRCC, this could be a great opportunity for you to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry. Some of these occupations include:
Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
And many more
To qualify for the FSTP, you need to meet the following requirements:
Have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in a skilled trade within the five years before you apply
Meet the job requirements for your skilled trade as set out in the NOC
Have a valid job offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year
or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority
Meet the minimum language level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for speaking and listening, and CLB 4 for reading and writing
Have enough money to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada
How can Ansari Immigration help you?
If you are interested in applying for Express Entry, you may need professional guidance and support to navigate the complex application process. That’s where Ansari Immigration comes in. We are a reputable immigration consultancy firm based in Vancouver, Canada, that specializes in helping skilled workers achieve their immigration goals. We have the knowledge and experience to assist you with every step of your Express Entry journey, from creating your profile to submitting your application. We will also help you improve your CRS score, find a job offer or a provincial nomination, and prepare for your interview and arrival in Canada. At Ansari Immigration, we are dedicated and attentive to your needs. We understand that every case is unique, so we tailor our services to fit your specific situation. We also offer a variety of consultation services customized to suit your budget and preferences. Whether you need a one-time consultation, a full-service package, or anything in between, we have the right solution for you.
Contact us today to book a consultation and find out how we can help you make your Canadian dream come true. You can also visit our website to learn more about our services and read our other blogs on topics such as student visas and study permits, healthcare, work permit, PNP applications, and much more. Don’t miss this chance to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry with Ansari Immigration. We look forward to hearing from you soon!