All you need to know about the Express Entry pool

November 14, 2016

Since 2015, the way Canada selects and process their immigrants changed significantly with the introduction of Express Entry, and this week, new changes will enter into force. As the system is still new, we will summarize the basics of the platform in the next lines to help you understand the changes.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is a system that prioritizes which applications for permanent residence will be processed out of the total of potential candidates who are eligible under one of the economic immigration programs. Before, the government processed all applications of eligible candidates. Under Express Entry, only selected candidates can submit their applications.

How does Express Entry works?

Candidates need to create an online profile to enter the Express Entry pool, so the Federal government, provincial authorities and Canadian employers could access the best candidates and invite them to make an application for permanent residence in Canada.

Who can create a profile in the Express Entry pool?

Express Entry is open to candidates who are in Canada or abroad. It is fundamental to check the National Occupational Classification to learn whether your occupation qualifies or not before applying. In Canada, each occupation has a specific four-digit code that classifies occupations based on skills. Applicants with skills level O, A or B, are considered skilled workers.

How to create a profile in the Express Entry pool?

First of all, a candidate should be eligible under one of the three existing federal immigration programs, which are the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.

The Express Entry system is a simple process involving five steps:

1. The prospective nominee should complete a profile online, which is called an Expression of Interest. The platform is secure, and it asks the necessary information regarding language ability, work experience, skills, and education, along with other details required to assess them.

2. Upon meeting the eligibility criteria under one of the federal immigration programs, candidates are now part of the pool. Based on their profile, they receive points on a scale from 0 to 1200.

3. The higher ranked candidates are then invited to make an application for permanent residence in Canada. Think of it as a bid. Approximately every two weeks the Minister makes a draw based on the points the applicant gets on the comprehensive ranking system. The information provided in the profiles is what is used to calculate the points.

4. The comprehensive ranking system takes into account a series of factors such as age, education, foreign and Canadian work experience, and language abilities in English and French. The combination of these factors ranks the applicants among themselves.

5. Some factors carry more weight than others. Aspects such an offer of arranged employment, a provincial nomination, Canadian work experience and post-secondary studies in Canada attract extra points. The higher you are ranked among the pool of applicant the higher your likelihood of receiving an invitation.

What is an arranged offer of employment and how I can obtain one?

Candidates who are already working in Canada get extra points, also, those who have an employer willing to offer them a job. However, every offer of employment should meet a set of requirements and the authorization from Employment Skills Development Canada (ESDC). This office determines the impact in the Canadian labour market of hiring of a foreign worker through a process called Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), although not all work permits require this authorization.

A candidate with an LMIA-supported work permit, or a work permit issued to work for a particular employer is considered to have an arranged offer of employment.

When candidates do not have a job supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment, an arranged offer of employment, or a provincial nomination, they must create a profile on the Canada Job Bank to help connect them with eligible Canadian employers. Registering in job boards and other methods of promotions is important to get into the Canadian labour market.

What are the costs?

Creating a profile in the Express Entry platform is free. Becoming a permanent resident has costs associated, such as processing fees, as well as other expenses, like the cost of medical examination, and translation of documents, to name a few.

How long does the process take?

Every profile in the Express Entry platform is valid for 12 months. Anytime during this time a candidate may receive an Invitation to Apply, and has a deadline of 90 days to submit all the supporting documentation.  The processing time is approximately six months.