If you think that it’s costly to use immigration advisors and you have plenty of time in your hands to prepare your application as a Canadian immigrant, it is possible to do the whole process by yourself. The government of Canada’s website is rich in information that a resourceful applicant will find easy to answer his or her questions on migrating to Canada.
Individuals and families from different parts of the world can immigrate to Canada within just a few months through the immigration system called Express Entry. From its introduction in 2015, Express Entry has become one of the most popular immigration systems not only in Canada but all over the world.
Note: In this article, we use the terms applicants and candidates interchangeably, though they refer to the same individuals.
The number of new Canadian permanent residents admitted through the Express Entry program is expected to increase with the allocation set under the 2019-2021 Canada Immigration Levels Plan.
What is Canada’s Express Entry?
Express Entry is an immigration system for skilled workers used by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to manage and process applications received by Canada’s various economic immigration programs. Eligible candidates submit their application through Express Entry after they have been invited to apply based on the merits of their jobs, skills and experience, and other factors.
Through this program, both individuals and families who wish to live, work and study in Canada can become new permanent residents in the country in just a few months.
How Express Entry works
Express Entry receives applications of all eligible candidates and places their profile (the information they provided) in a database listing with other applicants. In the Express Entry system, candidates are given the specific number of points based on the information they provided (skills, experience, language, etc), and ranked compared with other candidates. Once they are among the top-ranked candidates in the database pool, the government of Canada may send out invitations for them to apply as Canadian permanent residents.
Be aware that creating an online profile at Express Entry does not guarantee an invitation to apply as permanent residents, although applicants may submit updates such as better language results or recently acquired educational qualifications to increase their points and help improve their ranking.
Step 1: Check if you are eligible
The first thing applicants need to do is to verify if they are eligible to apply through Express Entry. To do this, candidates can perform two things:
- Read details of each program and see if the candidate meets the required qualifications from these immigration programs:
- Answer a set of questions (10-15 minutes) related to an applicant’s preferred Canadian province, past work experience, educational background, age, details of job offer and others to determine his or her eligibility. With truthful answers to these questions, the system will determine which programs a candidate is eligible to apply. Check if you are eligible to apply
Step 2: Prepare relevant documents
Having checked your eligibility to apply as a skilled immigrant under immigration programs through the Express system, you now have a better idea of what kind of documents are required.
Requirements needed for Express Entry profile
Valid passport or travel document
Every applicant must provide a valid passport or travel document.
Language test results
Applicants must take language proficiency tests to obtain at least the minimum points required by the program. Canada’s standard for language proficiency is the Canadian Language Benchmarks for English and Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien for French.
Approved language tests include the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program and the International English Language Testing System. Results must be submitted in an applicant’s Express Entry profile.
An applicant who has obtained an educational degree, diploma or certificate outside of Canada is required to have his or her qualifications assessed by an accredited institution. The assessment will produce a report called Educational Credential Assessment and assessment results and the reference number must be submitted in the applicant’s Express Entry profile.
If a candidate meets the minimum requirements of one of Canada’s 11 provinces or territories’ (excluding Quebec) non-Express Entry streams and nominated in that stream, he or she can provide the nomination in his or her Express Entry profile. This only applies if the candidate has provincial nomination; those who don’t have need not submit this requirement.
If an applicant received a job offer, he or she must include this information in creating an Express Entry profile. Information should include name and address of employer, start date of employment, National Occupational Classification code and Labour Market Impact Assessment number if applicable.
Requirements needed for permanent residence application
A police clearance to be obtained for the applicant and all other family members aged 18 and above is required for permanent residence application. If the applicant or his/her family members stayed in a country for six straight months within the past ten years, a police clearance from that country is required.
Medical exam results are used to determine whether or not the health of the applicant or family members poses danger to Canada’s public health or safety or would cause too much demand on health or social services in Canada.
Soon as the candidate gets an invitation to apply for permanent residence, he or she must undergo medical exams using accredited clinics and medical professionals. The result of this exam must be valid at the time he or she applies to permanent residence, and when he/she and/or family members arrive in Canada.
Proof of funds
Skilled immigrants under the Express Entry system are required to provide proof of financial resources to settle in Canada. The amount of money needed to support an applicant and his/her family is set by the family’s size. Funds must be readily available; physical assets such as equity on real property cannot be used as proof of funds.
Step 3: Check score at the Comprehensive Ranking System tool
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a points-based system that calculates the equivalent score based on the answers an applicant provides in an online tool.
Assessing a candidate’s qualification using this tool helps provide him or her an idea of whether creating an Express Entry profile in the immediate future yields higher chances of getting a permanent residence invitation. Otherwise, the candidate may need to improve his or her language proficiency results or acquire additional educational qualifications.
Step 4: Create an Express Entry profile
After securing all documents, and checking that he or she has met minimum requirements, an applicant may now proceed to create an Express Entry account.
Have the documents (certificates, assessment results, language test results, etc) ready along with other information such as the NOC skill code. Applicants have 60 days to complete and submit their Express Entry profile. Otherwise, they’ll be required to start all over again.
Step 5: Wait for invitations
- Once your Express Entry profile has been submitted, the Express system will place your profile in a pool with other candidates.
- Rounds of invitations are regularly granted on a given date. For example, in the January 30, 2019 round of invitations, those ranked 3,350th or above were sent invitations to apply as permanent residents. For reference, the CRS score of the lowest-ranked applicant during that round is 438.
- Candidates are advised to check the validity period of the police clearances and medical test results. They need to be valid by the time an invitation for Canadian permanent residence has been issued. If they expire before the invitation to apply as permanent residents, applicants should be tested again.
Step 6: Apply as Canadian permanent resident
Once a candidate has received an invitation to apply as a permanent resident in Canada, a letter will be sent containing the following information:
- Which program the applicant will be invited to apply for
- What to do next
Even though the invitation has already been extended to an applicant, if the documentary proof submitted is false or candidate failed to include important details, the invitation may be withdrawn and refuse the application, make the candidate inadmissible or even bar him or her for five years from applying to Canada.
Applying to immigrate to Canada through the Express Entry is a fairly straightforward process. By reading through the resources provided by the Canadian government, a candidate can apply on his or her own without needing an immigration consultant.