Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (Immigration Canada) introduced the Express Entry system in 2015. Express Entry is an electronic intake and selection system that applies to Canada permanent residence programs under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and some Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Express Entry does not apply to those who want to immigrate to Quebec.
The permanent residence program under Express Entry is a five stage process:
- A candidate must first meet the eligibility criteria under one of the economic programs:
- A candidate then creates an Express Entry profile (also called an Expression of Interest) online, and is awarded a set of points using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)
- Candidates are then put into a pool with all other candidates from all three economic programs. Candidates are then ranked against one another
- Immigration Canada will select candidates with the highest point score from the Express Entry pool on a regular basis and invite them to submit an application for Canadian permanent residence. This invite, is called an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Being in the Express Entry pool of applicants does not guarantee that one will be selected and will receive an ITA
- A candidate’s Express Entry profile will remain in the pool for up to 12 months. If a candidate receives an ITA, they will be required to submit a complete application for Canadian permanent residence on-line within 90 days of receipt of the ITA, or the ITA will be invalidated and the candidate’s Express Entry profile will return to the Express Entry pool
Immigration Canada has indicated that the majority of applications for permanent residence under the Express Entry system will be processed within 6 months from the date on which the candidate submits a complete application for permanent residence.
Immigration Canada will hold periodical draws and they will generally select candidates with the highest CRS score under all economic programs. However Immigration Canada may, on occasion, only select candidates under one specific program. For example, they may only issue ITAs to those who qualify under the Federal Skilled Trades program.
Once a foreign national receives an ITA, they will need to submit the required information and supporting documentation to Immigration Canada through the online portal (e-APR). Immigration Canada will assess the foreign national, as well as completing the required medical and criminal inadmissibility assessments. If the application for permanent residence is successful, Immigration Canada will issue a document called a Confirmation of Permanent Residence. With this document, the foreign national may then complete the landing process in order to obtain permanent resident status.