Immigrating to Canada as a Permanent Resident through Express Entry

In January 2015, the Canadian Government launched a new and simplified selection system called Express Entry to allow those individuals who qualify to come and settle in Canada as Permanent Residents and contribute to the Canadian economy.

Express Entry allows for the Government to review and assess applications from the pool of candidates in a more efficient and expedient manner so that a greater number of qualified individuals can be granted entry to Canada as Permanent Residents. The Express Entry program applies to the following programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Canadian Experience Class

Provinces and territories can also recruit candidates from the Express Entry system through Provincial Nominee Programs to meet their market needs.

Applicants for Express Entry must follow two steps:

  1. Complete an online Express Entry profile where they will be asked to provide information regarding their skills, work experience, language abilities, education, as well as other details that will aid in assessing their candidacy.

    Applicants who satisfy the conditions of one of the available Federal Programs will be added into the pool of candidates. An applicant who does not yet have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), or a nomination from a province or territory, must register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank. This will in turn help connect Express Entry candidates with eligible employers in Canada.

    An LMIA is a labour market verification process whereby Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) assesses an offer of employment to ensure that the employment of a foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market. Employers will be required to provide a variety of information about the position for which they want to hire a foreign worker, including the number of Canadians who applied for the position, the number of Canadians who were interviewed, and detailed explanations as to why the Canadian workers considered were not hired.
  2. The highest-ranking candidates in the pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence.

    The applicants will be ranked against others in the pool using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System. Points are awarded using the information provided in their individual profiles.

    An Invitation to Apply will be issued to the highest scoring applicants. Additional points are awarded for an existing job offer, a nomination from a province or territory, as well as other skills and experience factors. Once invited to apply, the candidate will have 60 days to submit an online application for permanent residence. Candidate profiles may 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 re-submit a new profile.

Federal Skilled Worker Program

To be considered for Permanent Residency, a Federal Skilled Worker applicant must:

  • Have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in a skilled occupation; or
  • Qualify for Arranged Employment in Canada with a Labour Market Impact Assessment and a full-time, permanent job offer from a Canadian employer; or
  • Have completed a PhD in Canada, or have completed two years of study in Canada towards obtaining a PhD from a recognized education institution; and
  • Pass minimum language requirements in one of Canada's two official languages (English or French).

Federal Skilled Worker applicants must also obtain at least 67 points based on Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) immigration selection factors listed below:

  • Education: Applicants may be awarded up to 25 points for education.
  • Language Skills: Applicants may be awarded up to 28 total points.
  • Work Experience: Applicants may be awarded up to 15 points for paid, skilled work experience that they acquired in the past 10 years, but must obtain at least 9 points in order to qualify.
  • Age: Applicants may be awarded up to 12 points based on their age.
  • Arranged Employment: Applicants may be awarded up to 10 points if they have arranged employment in Canada, which meets certain conditions.
  • Adaptability: Applicants may be awarded up to 10 points if they can show that they are adaptable and will integrate into Canadian society.

Once a candidate meets the minimum eligibility requirements, they must demonstrate that

  1. They have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents upon arriving to Canada, and
  2. Applicants and their dependents must undergo a medical examination and obtain security clearances as part of the Canadian immigration application process.

Quebec Skilled Worker Program

The Province of Quebec has a special agreement with the Government of Canada regarding the acceptance of immigrants under this class. The province has its own rules for choosing the individuals whom they deem will adapt well into Quebec’s distinct society.

To apply as a skilled worker in Quebec, you must first apply to the Quebec government for a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ), and afterwards apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to become a permanent resident of Canada. Though applicants to the Quebec Skilled Worker Program are assessed based upon different selection factors than those of the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Government recognizes Quebec's selection of applicants by granting permanent residency to the successful applicants, once medical and criminal background checks have been completed.

Federal Skilled Trade Program

In order to qualify for the program, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Have the intention to live outside the province of Quebec (for applicants who plan to live in Quebec, please see the Quebec Skilled Worker Program section below)
  • Mett the language requirements in either one of the two official languages (English or French) for each linguistic ability (reading, writing, speaking and listening)
  • Have a minimum of two years’ worth of work experience (or the equivalent in part-time work experience) in a skilled trade within the past five years
  • Meet the necessary job requirements for the particular skilled trade, as described in the National Occupational Classification (NOC)
  • 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

Please note that full-time employment is defined as at least 30 hours of work per week, or the equivalent in part-time work (including situations where you have two part time jobs).

The provinces and territories issue certificates of qualification in the skilled trades. To get a certificate, the provincial or territorial trade authority must assess your training, trade experience and skills to decide if you are eligible to write an exam to be certified.

Currently, the following NOC B level skilled trades are eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Program:

  • 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
  • Butchers and bakers

You must also demonstrate that you performed the duties set out in the lead statement of the occupational description in the NOC, including all the essential duties and most of the main duties listed in the descriptions.

DISCLAIMER: The aforementioned is for general information purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. For any specific questions, please contact us by phone or email.