Express Entry is becoming more popular by the day. Just this year, IRCC invited 63,400 candidates to apply for permanent residence through the system.

At Green and Spiegel, we get asked questions about Express Entry every day. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions.

1. What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an immigration application management system. In other words, it is not an immigration program; rather, it is a system that allows you to make a profile and apply for permanent residence through some existing programs. Express Entry can be used to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and some Provincial Nominee Programs.

2. Do I qualify for Express Entry?

It depends. Each program has its own eligibility criteria. For example, the Federal Skilled Worker Program has minimum requirements for work experience, language skills, education, and settlement funds. If you meet these requirements, IRCC will assess your application and give you a score out of 100. Currently, you need a minimum of 67 points to be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

3. How do I enter the Express Entry system?

You start by creating an online profile. If you are eligible for one of the programs, you will be entered into a pool with other eligible candidates and get a score (called the Comprehensive Ranking System, or “CRS” score) based on factors like your age, work experience, education, and English or French language abilities.

4. How does IRCC choose people from the pool?

Every few weeks, IRCC invites the top-ranking candidates (those with the highest points) in the pool to apply for permanent residence. Keep an eye on our website or sign up for our E-lerts for regular updates about the Express Entry draws.

5. What is a good score for Express Entry?

It really depends. At the end of each Express Entry draw, IRCC posts the cut off score and the total number of applicants that were invited to apply in that draw. The cut off score changes depending on who is in the pool and how many applicants IRCC is inviting. For example, on September 4, 2019, IRCC invited 3,600 applicants with a score of 463 points or higher.

6. Am I too old to apply for PR via the Express Entry system?

No. However, if you are 45 years of age or older, you will not get any points under the age category of the point system. Depending on how you score in other categories (such as education, language abilities, and whether you have a job offer in Canada), you may still be a competitive candidate.

7. Will Canada recognize my non-Canadian university degrees?

It depends. IRCC uses something called an “Educational Credential Assessment” to determine whether to recognize a foreign secondary or post-secondary degree. The “Educational Credential Assessment” is a report by an independent company that evaluates your foreign degree. For Express Entry, IRCC will use this report to confirm whether your degree is equivalent to a Canadian degree.

8. English is my first language. Do I still need to take a language test?

Yes. No matter where you are from or what your language skills are, IRCC requires all Express Entry candidates to take a standardized English or French language test. Before you write the language test, make sure that it is approved by IRCC. Currently IRCC accepts the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (“CELPIP”) General Test, the International English Language Testing System (“IELTS”) General Test, test d’évaluation de français (“TEF Canada”), or test de connaissance du français (“TCF Canada”).

9. I don’t have enough points. Is there anything I can do to improve my score?

Sometimes. For example, a provincial nomination can make you extremely competitive in the Express Entry pool. If you accept a provincial nomination through one of the provincial Express Entry streams, you will be awarded 600 additional points. An offer of arranged employment in Canada could also make you a competitive candidate. Depending on the type of job you have been offered, you can earn between 50 and 200 bonus points. Finally, improving your language test scores to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 9 or more in each of the four language abilities can make a big difference in your overall points.

10. How long does the entire process take?

Express Entry is meant to be quick, but like all immigration programs it can be unpredictable depending on your circumstances. To give you an idea, the timeline works as follows: after you have created your profile and entered the pool, your profile will remain in the system for one year. Depending on your score, you may get invited to apply for permanent residence quickly or you may need to wait for the scores to drop. If you receive an invitation to apply, you have 60 days to submit your application for permanent residence. Once you have submitted the application, the estimated processing time for 80% of cases is 6 months, however it can take longer to process some applications.

More than four years since the Canadian Government launched the system, Express Entry continues to be a fast and reliable way to gain permanent residence. Green and Spiegel is committed to providing our Express Entry clients with all the support they need to successfully navigate the system.