Canada Express Entry 2021 Guide

Express Entry is one of the most popular pathways for entrants seeking to start a new life in Canada. It organizes and processes applications for people who are interested to migrate to Canada to get Canadian permanent residence.

How to Apply for Express Entry?

It is a 2-step process, wherein one has to create and submit their profile initially and then has to provide substantial proofs supporting their application at the second stage. To create and submit their profile, one needs to have the following documents ready.

  1. A valid passport
  2. Language proficiency test results
  3. Educational credential assessment report

Once the profile is submitted, the applicant may receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency. Upon invitation, the applicant needs to furnish various documents including reference letters, police clearance certificates, additional identity proofs, results of medical examination, etc.
Failure to receive invitation means the application was refused/rejected.

Who All are Eligible for Express Entry?

Candidates with degree from university/college, skilled work experience and moderate proficiency in English and/or French are perfect for Express Entry.  Candidates qualifying for the below-mentioned programs are also eligible to submit their application under the Express Entry program.

  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)
  • Federal Skilled Trades (FST)

Requirements for Express Entry?

Here are the minimal requirements when applying for Express Entry as a skilled worker. Meeting these requirements doesn’t guarantee invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence. It must be noted that candidates with stronger profiles will be given preference over the ones meeting the minimum requirement.

To be eligible to apply to Express Entry as a skilled worker, one must:

  • Have at least 1 year of continuous full-time (or equivalent part-time) work experience in a skilled occupation in the past 10 years.
  • Have completed post-secondary education assessed by Canadian standards with an Educational Credential Assessment.
  • Be able to demonstrate a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in either English or French on an approved language test.

Ideal Express Entry Candidature

Candidates entering the pool receive a comprehensive ranking system (CRS) score. The ones with higher score are more likely to receive an invitation to apply. Factors that influence the CRS score range from language proficiency to age, work experience, education and Canadian connections.
Here’s how an ideal Express Entry candidature looks like! The Candidate should:

  • Be under 30 years of age.
  • Hold at least two Bachelor’s degrees or a Master’s degree
  • Be able to demonstrate moderate-to-high (score 8 or higher) English and/or French language proficiency per Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB).
  • Have at least three years of skilled work experience.

Some additional factors that boost the candidate’s CRS score are:

  • Higher language proficiency in English and/or French
  • Bilingualism in French and English
  • A Master’s degree or Ph.D. education
  • Canadian work or educational experience
  • A Canadian brother/sister currently residing in Canada
  • An arranged employment from a Canadian company
  • A nomination from a provincial nominee program

Cost of Express Entry

The government doesn’t charge any fee to submit the initial Express Entry profile. The fees are only requested upon receiving invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence. Provincial immigration fees may also be charged additionally if the candidate is nominated for a PNP program.

It should be noted that candidates applying under the Canadian Experience Class program or having a valid arranged employment offer will need to demonstrate sufficient funds to support their resettlement in Canada. The settlement fees are not paid to the government, but the applicant must have access to them to be approved for a permanent residence visa.

Here is the average cost that a candidate would incur after receiving an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Language Tests: $300
Educational Credential Assessment (ECA): $200
Biometrics: $85/person
Government Fees: $1,325/adult & $225/child
Medical Examination Fees: $450/adult & $250/child
Police Clearance Certificates: $100/country

Here’s an overview of funds that candidates under the Canadian Experience Class program or having a valid arranged employment offer will need to demonstrate. The amounts per family size are mentioned below:

Number of Family Members Funds Required
1 $12,960
2 $16,135
3 $19,836
4 $24,083
5 $27,315
6 $30,806
7 $34,299
For Each Additional Family Member $3,492

Is Job Offer Required for Express Entry?

No, job is not required for Express Entry. In fact, most of the candidates selected for Express Entry do not have a formal Canadian job offer. On the other hand, a formal Canadian job offer for a skilled, full-time position can add anywhere from 50 to 200 points to the Express Entry application; however, a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required to get the aforesaid points.

As an informal job offer doesn’t award any additional points to the Express Entry profile, it should not be mentioned in the application.

How Long is the Process for Express Entry?

From submission of the profile to the issuance of permanent resident visa, Express Entry may take up to 6 months or even more. The Express Entry profile stays active in the pool for 12 months, and the applicant may re-submit the profile in case he/she doesn’t receive invitation.
The applicant has 90 days to provide the requested full application of documents from the day of issuance of Invitation to Apply (ITA). The permanent resident visa may take up to 6 months to be reviewed and processed by the relevant authorities.

Is PNP Better or Express Entry?

While most PNPs require the applicant to have an Express Entry profile, they require the applicant to have a specific connection to the region. PNP is advisable only if one is working or studying in a Canadian province; Express Entry pathway is better if one does not have any specific connections to a place in Canada.
In any case, as Express Entry profile is free to submit, one must create it anyhow.

One may take this free online immigration assessment to determine whether a PNP or Express Entry is better.

Does CRS Score Go Down?

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score cut-off keeps fluctuating and it is impossible to predict. A candidate with CRS score close to or above the minimum CRS cut-off score has higher likelihood of getting the invitation.
It must be noted that no lawyer or consultant can guarantee permanent residency through the Express Entry system, as the application process is lengthy, complex, and changes every now and then. The final approval is at the sole discretion of IRCC.
There are options to increase a person’s CRS score. To know more about such options, you may use our CRS calculator and go through guidelines for improving your CRS score!

Top Ways to Increase CRS Score

RETAKE THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY TEST

One of the best ways to increase CRS score is to retake the English language proficiency test and try to score higher than before. A good IELTS score can fetch up to 160 points and bump up the CRS score. In fact, if a candidate can score CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) 9 in all language abilities, he/she can get up to 260 Express Entry points for just the language ability!
The best part is that such tests can be taken as many times as the candidate wants. One can even update his/her Express Entry profile with new score after submission of the profile to the pool.

INCREASED WORK EXPERIENCE

As it is not easy to accumulate more years of work experience easily just for the sake of improving Express Entry points, one can consider coming to Canada first and gain some Canadian work experience as a student or temporary worker. Having Canadian work experience opens up a lot more possibilities for Canadian immigration.
In addition to the above, choosing the right NOC code is yet another way to increase the CRS score.

INCREASING SPOUSAL POINTS

The overall CRS score can be raised by increasing the spousal points, wherever applicable. The below-mentioned possibilities are worth considering, for sure.

  • One of the ways to increase the applicant’s Express Entry points is to get maximum out of common-law partner’s profile. One can increase the spousal points by making them retake the language test (and scoring higher) and/or getting an educational credential assessment (ECA) for any post-secondary education they may have.
  • As applicant’s profile is scored different depending upon whether or not he/she has an accompanying spouse/partner, one can consider creating the profile as a single applicant and listing the partner as non-accompanying. Doing so may actually increase the applicant’s CRS score.
  • The spouse may actually have a stronger profile, if applied as a principal applicant. One can run through the exercise of trying to calculate the spousal points applied as a principal applicant (with/without partner accompanying).
  • Yet another way to increase chances of success is to submit profiles for both the partners separately, provided both are strong candidates.

SECURING CANADIAN JOB OFFER

This is yet another way to increase the CRS score. As an eligible job offer from a Canadian employer can get anywhere between 50 to 200 additional points, securing one can help the applicant increase his/her score. For this, one can spend time on the Canada Job Bank or private job boards and social networking sites to try to connect with Canadian employers in their field.

PROVINCIAL NOMINATION

The applicant gets 600 additional points if he/she receives a nomination from a province. As many provinces operate a nomination program aligned with the Express Entry, the candidate can check for their eligibility and process to apply. It should be noted that applying for a provincial nomination is a separate application process and doesn’t have much to do with Express Entry.

STUDY MORE

Improving educational qualification can fetch additional points for CRS. One can consider doing a short one-year post-secondary certificate program to get some valuable points. As Canadian educational credentials are highly valued in Express Entry, it can open a lot of doors to staying in Canada permanently.

Is There Any Age Limit to Apply for Express Entry?

Though there is no maximum age to apply for Express Entry, candidates between 20 to 29 years of age receive the highest points for age. The points for age start to decrease thereafter.
The applicants older than 35 with high level of education or connections in Canada can easily overcome points lost for age.

Can a Person Apply to Express Entry Twice?

No! The same applicant cannot have two Express Entry applications at the same time. However, married candidates can submit a separate application for their eligible spouse.

In case the applicant does not receive invitation after 12 months of submission, he/she can resubmit their profile to stay in the Express Entry pool for another 12 months. The process can be repeated as many times as required.

How to Correct Mistakes in Express Entry Profile

Corrections in the Express Entry profile can be made only under two conditions:

  • The applicant hasn’t received Invitation to Apply (ITA) yet
  • The applicant’s profile hasn’t been deemed ineligible

One can correct the mistakes, if any, or even add new documents to the Express Entry profile by following below-mentioned steps.

Step 1: Log into the Express Entry account welcome page. Next, select the option, “What would you like to do today?”
Step 2: Head to the section, “View my submitted applications or profiles” and click on the button “Check status and messages.”
Step 3: Hit the button “Update form.” Make sure you select the appropriate section for modification.
Step 4: Make all the necessary changes, scroll to the bottom of the pages, then click “Save and exit.”
Step 5: Look for the button “Continue” near the bottom of the page. Submit the newly-modified version of Express Entry profile.

It should be noted that if the profile doesn’t meet the criteria for one of the Express Entry programs, it will be refused and the applicant will not be able to update it. If the applicant only sees the option of “View profile”, it means that the profile has been reviewed and refused. The system will state that the profile was ineligible.

In such a case, the candidate can submit another (new) profile, but with updated information (education credentials, language proficiency score, etc.).
The profile cannot be edited after the candidate receives an Invitation to Apply (ITA). The candidate must make sure he/she doesn’t provide any false information in the application. Doing so, the applicant may be charged with misrepresentation, which may result in a 5-year ban from submitting any applications for Canadian immigration.