CANADA – Upcoming Express Entry System from 1 January 2015
On 1 January 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will launch a new electronic application system called Express Entry, to manage applications for permanent residence under certain existing economic immigration programs.
This is of particular interest to many foreign nationals currently in Canada on the Temporary Foreign Work (TFW) program. A cap was introduced on 1 April 2011 that limited stay under the TFW program to four years maximum. That initial four years will be up on 1 April 2015, so it is important that qualifying Temporary Foreign Workers who have been in Canada since 2011 and who wish to remain beyond that date apply correctly for permanent residence under the new system.
What is Express Entry?
The Express Entry system will be the new first step to immigrate to Canada under three existing programs:
- the Federal Skilled Worker Program,
- the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and
- the Canadian Experience Class.
Provinces and territories will also be able to recruit candidates from the Express Entry system through their Provincial Nominee Programs to meet local labour market needs.
Note that the Province of Quebec will not use Express Entry. They select their own skilled workers.
How Does Express Entry Work?
First, potential candidates will be able to complete a secure, online Express Entry profile at any time, providing information about their skills, work experience, language ability and education. Note that there will be no deadline to complete a profile and there will be no caps on the number of candidates that will be accepted to the pool.
Anyone who meets the criteria for one of these programs will be accepted into a pool of candidates.
Invitation to Apply
Then, top-scoring candidates will be drawn from the pool at regular intervals and invited to apply for permanent residence. CIC will only pick the top ranking candidates, regardless of when they were accepted into the pool.
Candidates will be awarded points for:
- a job offer, usually backed by the employer’s Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA);
- a provincial/territorial nomination;
- skills and experience.
Candidates who have been invited to apply will have 60 days to submit a complete Application for Permanent Residence online.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada aims to process the majority of complete applications (meaning those with all the necessary supporting documents) in six months or less.
Candidates can stay in the pool for up to twelve months. If they do not get an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence within twelve months of submitting an Express Entry profile, they may submit a new profile. If they still meet the criteria, they can re-enter the pool.
To be eligible to enter the pool, candidates must have skilled work experience and a job offer in one of the National Occupation Code (NOC) 0, A or B occupations, and meet the relevant language requirements. The job offer must also meet the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirements for the relevant permanent residence program.
A candidate who already has a job offer supported by an LMIA, or a nomination from a province or territory, will rank high enough to be invited to apply at the next eligible draw of candidates. A candidate who does not have either of these must register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank.
- Those wishing to make a strong application for permanent residence under the new Express Entry System after 1 January 2015 should gather important documents required for the application, especially language testing results, educational credential assessments, police clearances, immigration medicals and letters of reference from previous employers, past addresses, birth and marriage certificates, and passports with sufficient validity;
- Employers wishing to retain existing Temporary Foreign Workers, when they reach the end of their four years after 1 April 2015, should ensure that the job is backed by a permanent skilled LMIA.