Are you thinking of how to become a permanent resident in Canada (as a skilled immigrant)? This post is for you.
The information here covers:
- What Express Entry (EE) is in Canada.
- How to become Permanent Resident by Express Entry.
- Available Express Entry sub-programs.
- How to boost your Express Entry CRS Scores.
- The Fees/Cost associated with the Express Entry application.
What is Express Entry?
In 2015, Canada started the Express Entry system to process permanent residence applications for SKILLED workers who want to settle in Canada permanently. Every year, thousands of candidates are invited through any of the three(3) sub-categories of the Express Entry System to become permanent residents in Canada.
While there are over 100 immigration programs in Canada, the Express Entry is the most popular for permanent residence applications. It is a system for foreign nationals to immigrate permanently to Canada under 3 sub-programs, and it is a point-based immigration system that is based on certain skills/economic requirements.
The Three (3) Sub-categories in Express Entry
The 3 Express Entry sub-programs are:
Express Entry is a Federal Government of Canada program, meaning it is different from Provincial or other Immigration Programs.
If you click the links above you will notice the differences in each of the sub-programs.
- FSW: For skilled workers with FOREIGN work experience.
- CEC: For skilled workers with CANADIAN work experience.
- FST: For skilled workers qualified in selected skilled TRADES.
I can hear someone asking how will I know which one to apply for?
As stated, if you do not have CANADIAN work experience of at least one year, or in the selected skilled TRADES, then your option is Federal Skilled Worker (FSW). FSW is what many people OUTSIDE Canada apply for. Let’s focus on that.
The Six Selection Factors
To check your eligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker program, six selection factors are used: ,
- Language skills (in English and/or French)
- Education level
- Work Experience
- Arranged Employment in Canada
- Adaptability points
If you score 67/100 in the above factors, you may be eligible to apply. More information on this is available here.
To know your language skills/points you must write at least one of the language tests, IELTS/CELPIP General Training (English) or TEF/TCF (French). Details are available here.
If your Degree is NOT from Canada you must evaluate it with any organization listed here.
So, find a language examination available in your country. CELPIP, for instance, can only be written in Canada, USA, China, India, Philippines and UAE.
TEF/TCF are French examinations. Canada is a bilingual country and having knowledge of, and test scores for French and English will significantly increase your point.
Without your language test result(s) and the completed Education Credential Assessment (ECA), you CANNOT begin your Express Entry application or set up your Express Entry profile. So yes, it is compulsory to do both.
It also doesn’t matter which one you do first, but your ECA may take longer to complete. You need to get your transcripts and certificates for this, and the ECA is valid for 5 years. The language tests are valid for 2 years. Because of this, I recommend that you start your ECA first and use the waiting time to prepare for your language test.
Express Entry is also point-based as I earlier said, the more you have the better (except for age). Once you are over 29 years, you will begin to lose some points for every additional year from 30 years old.
So, aim for as high as possible in your language test. Your language test score is also converted to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), I recommend CLB 9 and above. The sample of language tests to CLB conversion is available here.
Additional Information for Education Credential Assessment (ECA)
For the ECA, you may evaluate your highest degree alone (i.e if you have a Masters or PhD). If you already have one of the two (a Masters or PhD), you are only awarded points for the highest.
However, if you have a BSc and an additional recognized Certificate or Diploma, you may evaluate both for more points. It is regarded as “Two or more certificates, diplomas, or degrees.” One of these two must also be for a program of three or more years.
If done together, you will NOT pay extra fees for evaluating more than one degree by any of the organizations. Educational Credential Assessment fees are flat rate. Extra cost could be the cost of sending your documents (i.e transcripts) to the designated organizations.
Another additional information is for those who have Degrees regarded as “professional degree needed to practice in a licensed profession.”
If you have any of these professional degrees and complete your Education Credential Assessment (ECA) at a designated organization for your profession, you will receive an evaluation that gives you a point equal to having a Master’s Degree. The Degrees recognized as professional degrees are:
- Veterinary Medicine
- Chiropractic Medicine
If you possess a degree in an area that is not one of those listed above then it will not be considered a “professional degree needed to practice in a licensed profession”.
The requirements for your work experience and NOC
Your work experience must also be at least one year full-time (or equivalent in part-time).
According to the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). You must have:
- at least 1 year of continuous work or 1,560 hours total (30 hours per week) — you can meet this in a few different ways:
- full-time at 1 job: 30 hours/week for 12 months = 1 year full-time (1,560 hours)
- equal amount in part-time work: for example 15 hours/week for 24 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)
- You can work as many part-time jobs as you need to meet this requirement
- full-time at more than 1 job: 30 hours/week for 12 months at more than 1 job = 1 year full time (1,560 hours).
Your work experience must also be a skill type 0, A, or B of the Canadian National Occupation Classification (NOC). If yours isn’t, it means it’s not a “skilled” job in Canada.
You can find your NOC Number and skill type here.
Setting Up the Express Entry Profile (Entering the Express Entry Pool).
With your ECA, language result(s), and other information, you can calculate your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Score here.
Once this is done, then set up your Express Entry profile here.
If your CRS score in the profile isn’t what was calculated above, then there is an error somewhere. Find the error, fix it, and update your profile!
As you already know, Express Entry is a point-based system. Your profile and CRS Score will be ranked with other candidates in the pool. A CRS cut-off will be decided when a draw is to be done, and those who meet the cut-off are invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
Express Entry draws are mostly done bi-weekly, it is not a lottery, it is a selection of highest-ranking candidates The cut-off is not static and can go up or down. Only IRCC determines what the cut-off would be for any draw and how many people to be invited.
How to increase your CRS Score
If your CRS Score is low, there are many ways to boost your CRS score. Boosting your CRS score is, however, not a one-size-fits-all. Like the cost (which may differ per person), what candidates need to boost their CRS score may be different. I will mention some general ways below. Find what suits you.
Some of the ways to boost your Express Entry CRS scores are:
- Provincial Nomination (this can give you up to 600 extra Express Entry points).
- Language test to a higher CLB or second language test (i.e in French if you did an English test alone).
- Spouse’s Degree assessment/language test (if applicant is married and that has not been done).
- Eligible job offer in Canada.
- Additional Degree (Diploma/Masters if you only have a BSc)
- More work experience (if you currently have less than 3 years)
- Canadian Work experience (of at least one year)
- Having a sibling who is a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident
- Canadian Degree (if you are able to come to Canada to study)
I have curated all the information you need for studying in Canada here. Check it out and apply the necessary pressure.
It is worthy to mention that provincial nominations give the highest CRS boost (about 600 points). There are 10 provinces and 3 territories in Canada, but the requirement for nomination is also different in each province.
I have curated the information you need for provincial nomination programs here. Check it out and apply the necessary pressure.
What is next after an Invitation to Apply (ITA) is received?
Let’s assume you are now in the pool with A good CRS score, a draw has been done and you are invited…. The next thing is to accept the invitation and provide all the required docs. See the list of required documents here.
You have 60 days to do this!
And you may decide to decline an invitation and go back into the Express Entry pool as well. However, note that your Express Entry profile will expire if you do not qualify for, get, or accept an invitation in one year.
It is when submitting all the required documents (after invitation) that fees are paid to the Govt of Canada.
First, except you have an eligible job offer in Canada, you will also show proof of funds. The amount you need for your settlement funds is based on the number of family members. Details are available here.
Fees and Additional Expenses
The fees to pay:
- Application and Right of permanent residence fee $1,325 CAD (single applicant).
- If you apply as a family you will pay an additional $1,325 CAD for your spouse.
- You will also pay $225 CAD for each dependent child.
- Biometric Fee $85 CAD (single applicant), or $170 CAD for a family application.
- Medicals: You will do a medical exam at any hospital listed here.
- Police Certificates: This is required from every country, you (or a family member who is over 18 years) lived for 6 months or more in a row during the last 10years. Details available here.
Once all required docs are submitted, the next thing is to wait for a response from Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
IRCC says the processing time for a complete application is 6 months (after this final submission). The COVID situation has affected the processing times, so some applications may exceed this timeline.
I hope I have been able to provide useful information to you about how to immigrate permanently to Canada (as a skilled worker), using the popular Express Entry system!
I hope someone finds this useful!
NB: The posts and information on this website are not legal advice.
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