Canada Immigration Program

How Express Entry works

Express Entry is used to manage applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs:

A. The Federal Skilled Trades Program

B. The Federal Skilled Workers Program

A. The Federal Skilled Trades Program – Skilled work experience

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is for people who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade.

Skilled Trades currently eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Program are organized under these major and minor groups of the NOC:

  • industrial, electrical and construction trades,
  • maintenance and equipment operation trades,
  • supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production,
  • processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators,
  • chefs and cooks, and
  • butchers and bakers.

Minimum requirements

To be eligible, you must:

  • plan to live outside the province of Quebec (Note: The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers.
  • meet the required levels in English for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing and listening),
  • 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 that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), except for needing a certificate of qualification, and
  • have an 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 or territorial authority.

 

Education

There is no education requirement for the Federal Skilled Trades Program. But, if you want to earn points for your education under Express Entry, you either need:

  • a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree
  • Secondary School Leaving Certificate

Note: You will only benefit from getting an ECA if your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian high school diploma or greater.

Language ability

You must:

  • Meet minimum of 5.5 in IELTS exam this is the language test approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that shows you meet the level for speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Your test results must not be more than two years old on the day you apply for permanent residence.

Principal applicant

If you are married or live with a common-law partner who also meets the above conditions, you can decide which one of you will apply under Express Entry as the principal (main) applicant.

A common-law partner is a person who has lived with you in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. Common-law partner refers to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

Check to see which one of you is most likely to be found eligible. That person should apply as the principal applicant.

 

B. The Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Minimum requirements

To be eligible, you must:

  • plan to live outside the province of Quebec (Note: The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers.
  • meet the required levels in English for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing and listening),
  • 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 that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), except for needing a certificate of qualification, and
  • have an 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 or territorial authority.

 

Skilled work experience

Your work experience must be:

  • at least one year (1,560 hours total / 30 hours per week), continuous full-time or an equal amount in part-time,
  • paid work (volunteer work, unpaid internships do not count),
  • in the same job,
  • within the last 10 years, and
  • at skill type 0, or skill levels A or B of the 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Language ability

You must:

  • Meet minimum of 6.5 in IELTS exam this is the language test approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that shows you meet the level for speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Your test results must not be more than two years old on the day you apply for permanent residence.

You must show that you meet the requirements in English by including the test results when you complete your Express Entry profile. Your test results must not be more than two years old on the day you apply for permanent residence.

Education

You must have:

  • a Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree,

Or

  • a completed foreign credential, and
  • an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from an agency approved by CIC. [The report must show your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree.]

Six selection factors

If you meet all the conditions set out in the minimum requirements, we will assess your application based on the selection factors in the federal skilled worker points grid. The selection factors are:

  • your skills in English and/or French (Canada’s two official languages),
  • your education,
  • your work experience,
  • your age,
  • whether you have a valid job offer, and
  • your adaptability (how well you are likely to settle here).

Proof of funds

You must show that you have enough money to support your family  after you arrive in Canada, unless you:

  • are currently able to legally work in Canada, and
  • have avalid job offer from an employer in Canada.

Principal applicant

If you are married or live with a common-law foreign national partner in Canada, and that person also meets the above conditions, you can decide which one of you will apply under Express Entry as a principal applicant.

A common-law partner is a person who has lived with you in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. Common-law partner refers to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

Look at each selection factor and see which one of you is most likely to meet the eligibility requirements and earn the most points. That person should apply as the principal applicant.

Major Difference Between Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trade:

  1. Education
  2. Proof Of Funds
  3. Years Of Experience

 

Other requirements

  • You must be admissible to Canada. Find out more about inadmissibility.
  • You must plan to live outside the province of Quebec.

Be assessed by the province or territory

You will likely have to go to the province or territory to be assessed. You may also need an employer in Canada to give you experience and training.

You should go to the website of the body that governs trades for the province/territory where you would like to live and work. The process is different depending on where you want to go.

Each website has more details about whether you need a certificate of qualification to work in that province or territory in a specific skilled trade, and what you have to do to get one.

 

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

 

Step 1) Potential candidates complete an online Express Entry profile

Potential candidates will complete an online Express Entry profile. This is a secure form that they will use to provide information about their:

  • skills,
  • work experience,
  • language ability,
  • education, and
  • other details that will help us access them.

Those who meet the criteria of one of the federal immigration programs listed above will be accepted into a pool of candidates.

Anyone who does not already have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if you need one), or a nomination from a province or territory, must register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank. Job Bank will help connect Express Entry candidates with eligible employers in Canada.

Candidates are also encouraged to promote themselves to employers in other ways, such as using job boards, recruiters etc.

For a job offer to be valid in Express Entry and receive points, employers will usually need an LMIA from ESDC (there are a few exceptions).

There is no LMIA fee for permanent resident applications.

Note: If you meet the entry criteria for the Express Entry pool, you are not guaranteed an invitation to apply for permanent residence. All applicants for permanent residence also need to meet eligibility and admissibility requirements under Canada’s immigration law (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act).

Step 2) The highest-ranking candidates in the pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence

Candidates will be ranked against others in the pool using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System. Points are awarded using the information in their profile.

Candidates with the highest scores in the pool will be issued an invitation to apply. Candidates will be awarded points for:

  • a job offer, and/or
  • a nomination from a province or territory, and/or
  • skills and experience factors.

A candidate can get additional points for:

  • qualifying education in Canada
  • a valid job offer or
  • a nomination by a province or territory

These additional points can make a candidate rank high enough to be invited to apply at the next eligible round of invitations.

If someone is invited to apply, they will have 90 days to submit an online application for permanent residence.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the majority of complete applications (meaning those with all the necessary supporting documents) in six months or less.

Candidates can stay in the pool for up to 12 months. If they do not get an invitation to apply for permanent residence within 12 months of submitting an Express Entry profile, they may submit a new profile. If they still meet the criteria, they can re-enter the pool. This will prevent backlogs and ensure quick processing times.

 

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