Express Entry is a new Canadian immigration program that began on January 1, 2015 that enables Foreign Nationals to obtain Permanent Residency in Canada. It is a points ranking system (Comprehensive Ranking System) that requires you to have a very high score as a skilled worker – (i.e. in most cases, over 800 points out of a possible 1200 points in order to qualify). The program is delivered completely online and is facilitated by CIC online throughout the process. There are NO occupational lists – you need to be a skilled worker who is employed in either NOC 0, A, or B listed occupations. CIC will decide if you have the skills that Canada requires. Therefore, there is less transparency in the process than in previous programs.
A note on penalties: The Government of Canada has recently introduced new measures that aim to ensure the integrity of its immigration programs and processes. Among these measures are more severe penalties for misrepresentation than were previously in place, with the penalty for misrepresentation increasing from a two year to a five year period of inadmissibility, as well as a five-year ban on applying for permanent resident status. Candidates who are found to have given false information during any stage of the Express Entry process, including step one, will be subject to these new policies.
Contrary to popular belief, Express Entry is not a “fast-track” solution to obtaining a PR in Canada. Rather, it is a lengthy process to obtain educational credentials (an ECA report), licensing requirements for employment (according to the NOC guidelines), language requirements (according to CIC language criteria set out by the Canadian Language Benchmarks – CLB) and in some cases, may require up to 3-4 separate immigration applications in order to fulfill all the requirements.
Step 1 – The first step in Express Entry is to complete the requirements of the online profile under CIC. The profile must be completed correctly, as the Government has now imposed a 5 year ban from Canada on anyone who misrepresents a material fact. All information must be correct. You can update your profile as you go along in the process to ensure that changes are made up until the invitation to apply for permanent residency.
Step 2 – Complete an LMIA application with your employer who has offered you permanent employment with their company. An LMIA application is a lengthy process in which your Employer must fulfill all CIC and Service Canada requirements before being given permission to hire foreign workers in a permanent full time capacity. The LMIA, among other criteria, must contain a Business Proposal that is detailed and that follows a very strict guideline and criteria. The Employer must complete this application and with guidance from Counsel, send the application to Service Canada. Service Canada will then revue the Proposal and will either issue a positive LMIA or a negative LMIA. In order to continue in the process of Express Entry, you must have a positive LMIA.
Step 3 – If you do not have a valid positive LMIA and work permit, you will need to register for Job Matching on Job Bank. In registering for Job Bank, it is important that you have a Canadian style resume – one that will catch the eye of a Canadian employer. This resume is very different from the resume you write to CIC or to a Visa Officer. The resume must be 1-2 pages and be formatted in the Canadian resume style in order to be successful.
Step 4 – In the even that you do not have a valid positive LMIA and work permit, there is another option under Express Entry. You can apply to be nominated by a Provincial Nominee Program available in the Province in which you reside. You must obtain a valid nomination by a PNP Program in order to continue in the Express Entry process and meet the points requirements. This application is separate and is province specific. You will need to meet the individual Provincial program requirements. In some cases, you do not have to be in Canada and can be overseas in order to apply; providing you have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer and you meet all the requirements for the Provincial programs which vary in criteria across Canada. The Province will issue you a nomination, and they will go into your Express Entry profile and link to it to ensure you obtain the 600 points towards your Express Entry application.
Step 5 – Once you meet all of the above requirements, and CIC is satisfied with your points score, a draw will be made, and you will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency. We will need to complete a full detailed permanent residency application for you within 2 months (60 days) from the date you receive the invitation to apply. Again, the timelines are strict, and at this point, this is the 3rd immigration application that needs to be completed in order to fulfill all the requirements.
If you wish to obtain a consultation on Express Entry, or if you are interested in obtaining permanent residency in Canada as a skilled worker, please contact us by Booking a Consultation. Please remember that this is a lengthy process and that it is critical that all applications pertaining to Express Entry be completed correctly and without errors or omissions. Let us help guide you in this process.