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The latest immigration and visa news for the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and select European countries - straight from the leading immigrant advocates in the Philippines.

A Second Look at the Express Entry System

Are you still choosing between a skilled immigrant and international student application to Canada? We've revisited the Federal Skilled Worker and Canada's international student programs with two case studies for your review.

Crispin Aranda

A Second Look at the Express Entry System

With governments implementing new immigration policies, potential emigrants bound for Australia and New Zealand will find their passage toward permanent residence restricted. 

In comparison, the US, with its employment-based preference categories, is keeping the immigration freeway clear of hurdles. Professionals and skilled workers applying for permanent residence to the US have reason to be optimistic as the cut-off date is current as of today.

Diverging from its fellow members in the British Commonwealth is Canada. Joined at the hip with the US by a 3,987-mile shared border, Canada has been keeping the residency expressway open to all starting January 2015.

The Express Entry System.

Useful in selecting top-tiered economic applicants, the Express Entry system is Canada’s current immigration selection system. An integrated Comprehensive Ranking System, or CRS, assigns points to candidates based on their credentials. Express Entry, or EE, then ranks the profiles of economic immigrants.

To apply for Canada permanent residence, you must accomplish and submit a complete candidate profile to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.  Once your profile is in the pool, you will compete with candidates worldwide. In 2018, close to 280,000 applicants worldwide submitted their candidate profiles through the system, an increase of over 10 percent from 2017.

Every two to three weeks, the Immigration Minister issues instructions to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (or IRCC).  These instructions specify the number of invitations that IRCC will issue to eligible candidates for a specified draw.  Depending on your place in the CRS, IRCC may issue you an Invitation to Apply or ITA. 

(Check the current and past Express Entry CRS Cut-Off scores for all migration progrmas.)

The Home Court Advantage.

In 2017, IRCC issued 86,022 ITAs. The next year, the total increased to 89,800.

Are you living outside Canada? If you have completed a profile in the EE pool, you may be at a slight disadvantage with candidates who are already working temporarily or studying in Canada. Temporary workers in Canada are in the best position to seek sponsorship, or a job offer, from their current employer to support their application for permanent residence. If you decide to go this route, remember, your performance and relationship with your employer and co-workers are critical elements for an arranged offer of employment.

You come a close second though in terms of opportunities if you are an international student. First, IRCC will allow you to work for 20 hours a week while school is in session and you can work full time during regular, scheduled breaks.

The best part?

If you have a common-law partner or CLP or spouse, IRCC will allow him or her to work full time for the entire duration of your academic program. If you pursue a two-year educational program, you may even be eligible to work three up to three years of full-time post-graduate work. The same goes for your spouse or partner. The choice of your college is important because, to be eligible to apply for a post-graduate work permit or PGWP and work full time, the college must be government-funded.

Many colleges actively assist their enrolled students in meeting employers during school-sponsored job fairs. One Ontario-based college even helps its internationally educated nurses quickly achieve Home Care Assistant certification. HCA certification is desirable for, with it, an employer can pay her as much as CAD15 per hour.

Case Studies.

Eric, a 29-year-old IT bachelor degree holder with two years of work experience in his field, has an approved US F-2B petition. Filed by his lawful permanent resident mother in California, he may have to wait between 10 and 12 years to apply for his visa.

To ensure US Citizenship and Immigration Services will not revoke his US F-2B petition, Eric cannot marry his 26-year-old CLP, Jazmin although they had been living together for three years before he submitted his EE candidate profile. Jazmin, a degree holder in hotel and restaurant management, can contribute migration points as well because Canada recognizes a common-law relationship—a blessing for Eric and Jazmin. 

Both are proficient in English, scoring an average of 7.5 to 8.0 in all IELTS language components. Eric’s total core score is 327—100 for age,112 for education; 15 points for English proficiency. Jazmin’s total point contribution as his CLP is 26: 8 for education; 18 for English proficiency.

Since Canada puts a premium on English or language proficiency, Eric got 26 bonus points when combined with his education (qualification/degree–13 points) and his work experience (another 13 points).

Eric and Jazmin’s total CRS score in the candidate pool came up to 379—high, but not high enough.

Larnie, a 29-year-old licensed RN in the Philippines enrolled in a nursing practice program in a Canadian post-secondary college. The college assisted her in getting her HCA certificate—a walk in the park, considering she has RN seven years of work experience, and her IELTS scores are like Jazmin’s.

An employer hired Larnie and offered her CAD25 per hour for her part-time work. He subsequently offered her a position as a Licensed Practical Nurse once she completed her course.

If she applies for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker category later, Larnie could get the following CRS scores:

  • 360 points for her core factors
  • 75 points for skills transferability factors
  • As an international student with a job offer after completing her course, Larnie gets an additional 65 bonus points.

Her CRS total? Five hundred points, more than the current lowest CRS scores of candidates in the pool invited to apply for residency.

Eric and Jazmin can always apply the following year if IRCC does not issue an ITA this year. Older by a year, their points for age will be correspondingly lower.

One option to offset the decrease in their total CRS points is to retake the IELTS and score higher. A second option is for one of them to enroll in a Master’s program in the Philippines. They will have to wait another two years before applying, though.

Without a job offer or having completed a course in Canada, Eric and Jazmin’s only hope is nomination by a province or sponsorship by a Canadian employer.

Manitoba has the most extensive list of in-demand occupations, and if Eric gets 60 migration points upon assessment, he may apply for nomination directly with the province. As overseas applicants, however, either Eric or Jazmin must show a connection to Manitoba, which means:

  • The support of family members or friends, or
  • Previous education in the province, or
  • Manitoba work experience, or
  • An ITA received directly from Manitoba’s provincial nominee program as part of a Strategic Recruitment Initiative.

There’s good news for Eric, though. Computer programmers and interactive media developers are on Saskatchewan’s in-demand occupations list. With an EE candidate file number, he could now expect nomination by Saskatchewan.

Nova Scotia’s current occupations-in-demand list has two items for which Eric will not qualify. The first category is nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates. The second category is transport truck drivers. Provincial nominees, however, must get a job offer from an employer based in the province.

What about Larnie? Her future looks bright with the prospect that IRCC will invite her for permanent residence through the student-to-resident freeway.

*Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada posted these figures in a year-end report for 2018.

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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