If you have considered immigrating to Canada, then you must have heard about the Express Entry Program. It is not a visa but an application management system that manages the application pool of skilled workers for Canada’s economic immigration programs.
Who is the Express Entry Program for?
The Express Entry Program is best suited for skilled foreign workers, graduates, and tradespersons with good proficiency in either English or French. There is no upper age limit for applicants in the Express Entry program, however, Canada prefers younger candidates as it awards more points for age.
How does the Express Entry Program work?
The Express Entry Program was first introduced in January 2015. The Canadian immigration system moved from a first-come-first-served basis to a pool draw system with the launch of the Express Entry Program. The draw system allows the immigration authorities better control over selecting candidates who are better equipped to meet the labor market needs of the country.
The basic eligibility criteria for the Express Entry Program is that you must qualify for one of the below programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Canadian Experience Class
You must be eligible for any one of the programs above to submit an Expression of Interest under the Express Entry Program. Eligible applicants are then put in the Express Entry Pool where each candidate is assigned a score based on their personal details. The Express Entry Program uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to score each applicant out of a total of 1200 points.
The IRCC conducts regular draws from the Express Entry Pool. Top-ranking candidates with the highest CRS scores are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) to apply for the Permanent Resident Visa of Canada. While your EOI is in the Pool, you may work towards improving your CRS scores. Getting additional work experience, re-appearing for the language tests, and getting a valid job offer from Canada are some of the ways to improve your CRS scores.
You can also drastically improve your CRS scores by getting a provincial nomination from one of the many Express Entry-linked PNP programs operated by several states of Canada. A provincial nomination can be valuable in it that it bumps your CRS score by a massive 600 points. The huge increase in score guarantees that you receive an ITA in a subsequent draw conducted by the IRCC.
What is the advantage of the Express Entry to Canada?
The biggest advantage that the Express Entry Program has over other immigration programs in Canada is speed. The Express Entry Program is your fastest route to a Canada PR Visa. Statistics reveal that nearly 80% of all Express Entry applications are processed within six months or less.
Also, the Express Entry Program is completely online which makes tracking your application easier. You would also need to upload all your supporting documents, which means you no longer need to courier them to Canada.
How much does it cost?
The entire Express Entry process can cost anywhere between CAD 1,500 to CAD 2,000. This includes the fee for the Government as well as educational credential assessment and language test fees.
If you hire an Immigration Consultant or Immigration Lawyer to represent your case, you would need to pay extra for the same.
Here is the breakup of the fee involved:
- Language tests: CAD 250 approximately
- Educational Credential Assessment: CAD 200 approximately
- Biometrics: CAD 85 per person
- Government fees: CAD 1325 per adult and CAD 225 per child
- Medical examination fees: CAD 450 per adult and CAD 250 per child
- Police Clearance Certificates: CAD 100 approximately per country
Apart from the above, you would need to show settlement funds too as per the IRCC guidelines.
What is the Express Entry Canada processing time?
The Canadian Express Entry Program is a two-step process.
The first step involves submitting an EOI in the Express Entry Pool. You need to wait till you receive an ITA before you apply for your Canada PR Visa. Getting an invitation heavily relies on your CRS score. If you have a high CRS score, you may receive an ITA in a few days or weeks. However, if your CRS score is not sufficient enough, then you will need to work towards improving it by getting a provincial nomination or a job offer or any other way.
Your EOI remains valid for 12 months in the Express Entry Pool. If you do not get invited during this time, your EOI will expire and you will need to submit a new EOI.
Once you have received an Invitation to Apply, you get 60 days to submit a completed application for the Canada Permanent Resident Visa. From the day you submit your application until you get a visa decision, the whole process may take anywhere between 4 to 6 months.
Getting a Canada PR Visa successfully depends on the verification of your supporting documents. You also must pass the health and character checks to receive the Canada PR Visa.