On November 10, 2016, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) announced that it will be implementing changes to the existing point distribution for applications for Permanent Residency status submitted under the Express Entry system.

These changes will come into effect on November 19, 2016.

The changes will particularly affect certain Canadian work permit-holders and graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions. The most notable changes include:

  • Removing the 600 points that were previously available to those with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) supported Offer of Employment. 600 points will still be granted to those in possession of a nomination certificate under a provincial nomination program.
  • Broadening the definition of an Offer of Employment to include certain workers on LMIA-exempt employer-specific work permits who have accumulated at least one year of full-time experience with their employer;
  • Distinguishing executive level workers from other high-skilled workers in the points distribution for qualifying Offers of Arranged Employment;
  • Additional points will be available for graduates of certain Canadian post-secondary programs;
  • Allowing the applicant 90 days to submit their supporting documents after they receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence, instead of just 60 days; and
  • Requiring language test results and Education Credential Assessments to be submitted at the outset with the Express Entry profile submission, instead of with the complete application submission.

What does this mean for Employers? The changes mean that those in executive-level positions, (i.e. those working in NOC 00 level positions), will no longer need an LMIA to be recognized as an Offer of Employment to be granted the additional points under the Express Entry system. The new system will award 200 points to those in executive-level (NOC 00) level positions, with an Employer specific work permit, and at least one year of work experience with the employer.

Further, under the new points distribution system, 50 points will be allotted to those with either an LMIA-supported work permit in a NOC A or B level position, OR to those with at least one year of work experience with the employer, and a current employer specific work permit that is for a NOC A or B level position.

As a result, all workers will need to make every effort to maximize their points eligibility under the education, language and work experience categories in order to ensure the highest score possible.