As of January 2015, skilled immigrants as permanent residents are chosen based on their ability to settle in Canada and engage in the economy. There is a new system, called Express Entry, which manages how people with skilled work experience can apply to immigrate to Canada. Express Entry manages permanent residence applications under the following federal economic immigration programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)
The Express Entry system has two main steps:
1) An online Express Entry profile
Potential candidates are required to complete an online Express Entry profile to provide information regarding their:
- work experience,
- language ability,
- other details which help the system assess the potential candidates.
The candidates who fulfill the criteria of one of the federal immigration programs listed above will be entered into a pool of candidates.
Candidates who do not already have a job offer supported by Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if they need to have one), or a nomination from a province or territory, have to register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank. Job Bank will assist Express Entry candidates to connect with eligible employers in Canada.
Candidates are also recommended to use job boards, recruiters etc. to promote themselves to potential employers.
Note: If a potential candidate meets the entry criteria for the Express Entry pool, it does not guarantee 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).
2) The highest-ranking candidates in the pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence
A point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System determines candidates’ ranking. Points are awarded based on the information available in the candidates’ profile. The highest scoring candidates in the pool will receive an invitation to apply.
There are additional points for:
- qualifying education in Canada
- a valid job offer
- a nomination by a province or territory
Such additional points can improve a candidate’s rank high enough to apply at the next eligible round of invitations.
Upon invitation to apply, candidates have 90 days to submit their online application for permanent residence.
The majority of complete applications (i.e. those with all the necessary supporting documents) will take up to six months to be processed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Candidates can stay in the pool for up to 12 months. If they do not receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence within 12 months after submitting an Express Entry profile, they can submit a new profile. If they still meet the required criteria, they can re-enter the pool. This is to avoid backlogs and ensure fast processing times.
Eligible candidates to immigrate under one of the above federal immigration programs:
- will be placed in a pool with other eligible candidates,
- will then be ranked along with others using several factors,
- if they rank as a top candidate, they will get an invitation to Apply
- if they are invited to apply, they can apply online for permanent residence.
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