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Canada Express Entry: An Overview

To accomplish the goal of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or IRCC to process qualified and complete applications in six months or less, the Government of Canada created and implemented an integrated, online management system for their economic immigration programs. This is the Express Entry System.

Originally posted on September 12, 2016; updated June 13, 2017

Canada Express Entry: An Overview

Express Entry is the electronic application system that has been in use since January 2015, by the Canada government to manage applications for permanent residency.  Unlike in the previous years, candidates who are most likely to succeed in Canada (thereby contributing positively to the economy) are given preference rather than selecting candidates on a first-come-first-serve basis. 

The Express Entry System is used for the following:

  • Create the Express Entry pool where all Expressions of Interest (or EOI) submitted by immigration applicants will be initially placed;
  • Notify any applicant who has submitted an EOI to the express entry pool of any updates regarding their application including whether the applicants was issued an invitation to apply;
  • Determine the rank of an applicant versus all other applicants and whether the applicant has reached a minimum rank to be issued an invitation;
  • Transfer the information on an EOI to an electronic application system for permanent residence.

Applicants have the opportunity to get linked with potential employers even though it is now optional to create a Job Match account with Job Bank.  This electronic management system applies to the following economic immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Workers Program;
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program;
  • Canadian Experience Class.

Provincial governments get to choose and recruit skilled international candidates from the Express Entry pool for their Provincial Nominee Programs and get them to Canada faster with less paperwork.  Typically, candidates selected from the pool receive additional migration points.


The process under the Express Entry system is simple:

  • Step 1: Create your online profile

You can create your Express Entry profile anytime once you have completed most of the requirements.  There is no deadline to complete your profile and there are no caps on the number of potential candidates that will be accepted in the Express Entry pool.  There is no need to create a Job Match account with Job Bank.  Instead, the use of job boards, recruiters is encouraged so you can promote yourself to employers. 

If your profile isn't selected during a draw, it's fine.  Your application can stay in the pool for up to 12 months and, you can add other relevant information that can enhance your profile for selection. Remember this: the profile you create is valid only for 12 months, so be careful on how you complete it!  If you do not receive an Invitation to Apply after 12 months, you can submit a second profile provided you still meet the criteria.

  • Step 2. You receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence

Invitation rounds take place regularly in a year and qualified applicants with the highest score and ranking in the Comprehensive Ranking System (or CRS) may get an Invitation to Apply (or ITA)  for permanent residence. 

Be sure that you meet all other eligibility and admissibility requirements under Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act!

  • Step 3. Submit an Application for Permanent Residence.

If you are invited to apply, you will have to submit a complete Application for Permanent Residence online within ninety (90) days.  If you pass background checks, meet health and character requirements, meet basic visa requirements and prove yourself admissible, you may qualify for the permanent visa.

Your online profile

The first step is important as it provides details to the government of Canada about your:

  • Skills
  • Education credentials
  • Work experience
  • English or French language abilities

To use the Express Entry system, the work experience you intend to nominate for you application must be skill type "0," "A," or "B." If your job is skill level C or D, you may still be able to get to Canada as a provincial nominee as long as it isn't a program for skilled workers.  While you may also opt instead to apply as a Temporary Foreign Worker, your status is not that of a permanent resident.

If you meet the minimum requirements for the economic program you hope to apply for, your profile might be up for selection.  You must however, rank competitively for your program using the Comprehensive Ranking System.

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