Comprehensive Guide to Express Entry in Canada 2021
Under Canada’s 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, the country plans to welcome over 400,000 new immigrants each year. One of the most popular and quickest ways to immigrate to Canada is through the Express Entry program. The Express Entry program was introduced in 2015 as a way of encouraging talented and skilled workers to make Canada their new home.
What are the categories for Express Entry in Canada?
There are 3 categories for Express Entry immigration to Canada:
- Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC):
For professionals and skilled workers with foreign work experience
- Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC):
For skilled workers who are qualified in specific skilled trades
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC):
For professionals and skilled workers who have Canadian work experience
What are Express Entry rounds of invitations?
During Express Entry rounds of invitations, the Government of Canada will invite the top candidates to apply for permanent residence. Each invitation round takes place approximately every 2 weeks.
You can find a list of Express Entry rounds of invitations here.
With each round of invitations, the Government of Canada discloses the number of invitations issued, the CRS score of the lowest-ranked candidate who was invited, and the immigration program. You can use this information to better understand how likely you are to receive an invitation in future rounds of invitation.
What are the requirements for Express Entry in Canada?
Due to the competitive nature of the Express Entry program, there are strict requirements candidates must meet in order to be eligible for the program.
The requirements differ depending on the class you are applying for. Here is a further in-depth look at Express Entry requirements:
Express Entry Work Experience Requirements
The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is used to classify jobs in the Canadian labour market. Depending on the class, only specific types of jobs are eligible for Express Entry.
There are 5 main NOC job groups:
- Skill Type 0 (zero): Management jobs
- Skill Level A: Professional jobs which typically require university degrees
- Skill Level B: Technical and trades jobs which typically require college diplomas or apprenticeships
- Skill Level C: Intermediate jobs which typically require high school and/or job-specific training
- Skill Level D: Labour jobs which typically require on-the-job training
To qualify for Express Entry, those applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) must have:
- Minimum 1 year or 1560 hours of continuous full-time or part-time paid work experience in a skilled occupation (within the last 10 years)
- Work experience must be in the same type of job that you want to use for your application (known as your primary occupation)
- Primary occupation must be in one of the following NOCs: 0, A, B
Those applying for the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) must have:
- Minimum 2 years of paid full-time (or equivalent part-time) work experience in a skilled trade (within the last 5 years)
- Experience in a skilled trade job under specific groups of NOC B
- A valid full-time job offer for at least a 1 year period or a certificate of qualification issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority for that skilled trade
Those applying for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) must have:
- Minimum 1 year or 1560 hours of paid full-time (or equivalent part-time) work experience in Canada (within the last 3 years)
- Canadian experience in one of the following NOCs: 0, A, B
Express Entry Education Requirements
There are no education requirements for Canadian Experience Class or Federal Skilled Trades Class.
However, you can improve your rank in the Express Entry pool by providing a diploma/degree from a Canadian secondary institution (high school) or postsecondary institution or the equivalent in foreign education with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).
For Federal Skilled Worker Class, you must provide a diploma/degree from a Canadian secondary institution (high school) or postsecondary institution if you went to school in Canada. If you completed your education outside Canada, you must provide your credentials along with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).
Express Entry Funds Requirements
Applicants under the Federal Skilled Trades Class and Federal Skilled Worker Class require proof of funds to show that you have enough money to settle in Canada. The amount depends on the size of your family.
Your family includes:
- Your partner
- Yours and your partner’s dependent children
Refer to the chart below to see how much funds are required based on your family size:
Proof of funds is not required for applicants under the Canadian Experience Class or any applicants who are authorized to work in Canada and have a valid job offer.
Express Entry Score Requirements
For Federal Skilled Workers Class applicants, you must have a minimum score of 67 out of 100 in the Federal Skilled Workers grid to qualify for the program.
For other programs, there are no minimum CRS score requirements. However, only the top ranking applicants in the Express Entry pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence so you should try to increase your CRS score to better your chances of being selected.
The highest CRS score you can achieve is 1200 points.
The CRS score is broken down into the following categories:
- Core/human capital factors + spouse/common-law partner factors = maximum 500 points
- Skill transferability factors = maximum 100 points
- Additional points = maximum 600 points
- Brother or sister living in Canada with PR or citizenship
- French proficiency
- Postsecondary education completed in Canada
- Valid employment offer
- Provincial nominee nomination
You can find a more detailed look at the CRS and points associated with each category here.
There’s many ways you can increase your CRS score such as:
- Improving your language test results
- Completing education in Canada or getting a ECA
- Adding more work experience to your profile
- Securing a valid job offer
- Receiving a provincial nomination
IELTS Score Requirements for Express Entry
The Government of Canada uses the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) to determine the English or French abilities of those learning English or French as a second language. The CLB assesses language skills in speaking, listening, writing and reading.
Here are the CLB language requirements for the various Express Entry programs along with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) equivalent:
Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC):
- CLB 7
- IELTS 6.0
Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC):
- Speaking and listening
- CLB 5
- IELTS 5.0
- Reading and writing
- CLB 4
- IELTS Reading 3.5, Writing 4.0
Canadian Experience Class (CEC):
- NOC 0 or A
- CLB 7
- IELTS 6.0
- NOC B
- CLB 5
- IELTS Reading 4.0, Writing 5.0, Listening 5.0, Speaking 5.0
For a more in depth comparison between the CLB and various language tests such as the Candian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) and Test d’évaluation de français pour le Canada (TEF Canada), visit here.
Biometrics for Express Entry
Biometrics are required for most people immigrating to Canada, unless you are exempt. If you are unsure whether or not you need to give biometrics, simply complete this questionnaire.
Express Entry Document Checklist
In order to apply for Express Entry you must first create a profile. In order to create a profile, you will need 3 main documents:
- Language Test Results: You must prove your proficiency in English or French by taking an approved language test such as CELPIP or IELTS for English and TEF for French. You will need the test results to complete your Express Entry profile and show that you meet the minimum language requirements.
- Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA): The ECA report is an assessment of non-Canadian education by Canadian standards to prove that your education is valid in Canada. Although the ECA is only mandatory for the Federal Skilled Workers Class, it’s recommended that all applicants provide this as education plays a big role in your CRS score.
- Passport: In order to create an Express Entry profile, you will need to provide a valid passport.
How much are Express Entry fees?
Government fees for Express Entry include the following:
- Processing fee = $825
- Right of permanent residence fee = $500
- Total fees = $1325
- Application fees for spouse/partner = $1325 (Processing fee and right of permanent residence fee)
- Application fees for dependent child = $225 per child
Here are the average approximate costs of additional expenses often associated with the Express Entry program:
- Language test = $300+
- Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) = $200+
- Police clearance certificate = $100+ per country
- Medical exam = $200+
- Biometrics = $85 per person
How long is the processing time for Express Entry applications?
Once you have been selected to apply for permanent residence, you will have 60 days from the time of invitation to complete your application. The majority of Express Entry applications are processed within 6 months.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, processing times may be delayed.
Other reasons your Express Entry application could be delayed include:
- Criminal or security issues
- Information needs to be verified
- More background checks must be completed
- You need submit more documents or complete an interview
What are the requirements for Express Entry/Permanent Residence photos?
Once you are invited to apply for permanent residence and your application is approved, you will need to provide a photo for your permanent residence card.
The photo should meet the following requirements:
- Taken by a commercial photographer within the past 6 months
- Can be in black and white or in colour
- Photo size measures 50mm x 70 mm (2 inches wide x 2 ¾ inches long)
- The height of the face from the chin to the top of the head should be between 31mm to 36mm (1 ¼ inches and 1 7/16 inches)
- Taken in front of a plain white background
- Shows the full frontal view of the head and shoulders
- Face is centered in the middle of the photo
- Facial expression is neutral with mouth closed and no smiling
What are Express Entry draws and when is the next draw?
After you create your Express Entry profile, if you meet the criteria for any of the immigration programs: Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC), or Canadian Experience Class (CEC) you will be accepted into the Express Entry Pool.
From there, the top ranking applicants in the Express Entry Pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada through a draw which takes place approximately every 2 weeks.
You can find a list of Express Entry draws here.
How to Create an Express Entry Profile
Before you create an Express Entry profile, you will need to complete this form to check if you are eligible for the Express Entry program. If you meet the requirements, you will receive instructions on how to create your Express Entry profile.
You will need an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) account in order to create an Express Entry profile. If you don’t already have one. You can sign in or create an IRCC account here.
Once you start creating your Express Entry profile, you will have 60 days to complete and submit your profile. If you don’t complete the profile within this time, you will have to start the process again.
Express Entry CRS Score Calculator
The Government of Canada has created a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) tool that helps you calculate your CRS score for Express Entry.
The higher your CRS score, the more likely you are to be invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
You can find the CRS calculator here.
How do I check the status of my Express Entry application?
You can check the status of your Express Entry application by logging in to your IRCC account.
Go to “View the applications you submitted” then click on “Application status and messages”.
You will be able to see the overall status of your application as well as the status of each step of the application process. If there are any additional steps you need to take, you will be notified through a message in your account.
If you have any questions, or you have any doubts/concerts about education in Canada, or if you just wish to ask us for help with your programs, please reach out to us. We will gladly answer all of your questions. We are able to present and support your interests to the governmental bodies and agencies of Canada, including with regard to immigration. We are a licensed company that is able to meet all your immigration needs — R514071.