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Canadian Citizenship

Express Entry

There will be no eligible occupations list

Whereas the current criteria for the Federal Skilled Worker Program includes a list of 50 eligible occupations, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has confirmed that, as of January 1, 2015, eligibility for the program will not include a list of eligible occupations. Instead, candidates will have to demonstrate that they have worked at least one year in a skilled occupation within the past 10 years. Jobs in Canada are classified by what are called National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes, which are divided by skill level and skill type. Similarly, the current list of ineligible occupations under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) will not be in place under Express Entry.

All eligible applicants enter the same pool

The Express Entry pool will include candidates who are each eligible for at least one of Canada’s economic immigration programs, namely the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class. It has been confirmed that, once eligibility for one of these programs has been confirmed, all eligible candidates will enter the same pool. There will not be separate pools for specific programs.

Express Entry is a fully electronic system

It has been confirmed that the entire Express Entry process, including steps one and two, will be conducted online.

Details of the Comprehensive Ranking System

The Comprehensive Ranking System is the government of Canada’s internal mechanism for ranking candidates based on their human capital, determined by factors such as age, level of education, language ability, work experience, and whether the candidate has received a job offer from a Canadian employer or a provincial nomination. This helps CIC to decide which candidates may be issued invitations to apply for permanent residence. Details of the ranking system were disclosed recently. There will be up to 500 points available for a candidate’s core human capital (candidates with an accompanying spouse or common-law partner may be awarded up to 460 points for their own core human capital, with a further 40 points available for the core human capital of the spouse or common-law partner), as well as 100 points for skills transferability based on specific combinations of a candidate’s core human capital. An additional 600 points will be awarded to candidates with a confirmed job offer (i.e. having received a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment) in a skilled occupation or a nomination from a Canadian province or territory.

Language testing will be required before going into the Express Entry pool

CIC has confirmed that candidates will have to demonstrate proficiency in an official language of Canada, either English or French, in order to enter the Express Entry pool. Language ability is determined by the candidate sitting a standardised language test, the most common of which are the IELTS or CELPIP for English and TEF for French. Candidates will not be able to enter the Express Entry pool without submitting language test results that meet the eligibility requirements for one of the federal economic immigration programs.

An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) will be required going into the pool for candidates eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program

Candidates eligible to enter the Express Entry pool under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) must get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) of their completed foreign educational credentials before making an expression of interest in immigrating to Canada. It was previously unknown whether an ECA would be required for step one, but it has now been confirmed that an ECA will be required from the outset in order for a candidate to prove eligibility for the FSWP and enter the Express Entry pool.

Candidates can update their profiles while in the Express Entry pool

One of the most beneficial recent pieces of news for potential candidates is that their profiles in the pool will not be “locked”. On the contrary, candidates will be able to maneuver within the Comprehensive Ranking System if they gain additional points, which they may do by, among other things: improving language test results, proving ability in a second official language, completing a diploma, or gaining additional work experience.

Penalties of up to five years for misrepresentation

The government of Canada has recently introduced new measures that aim to ensure the integrity of its immigration programs and processes. Among these measures are more severe penalties for misrepresentation than were previously in place, with the penalty for misrepresentation increasing from a two- to a five-year period of inadmissibility, as well as a five-year ban on applying for permanent resident status. Candidates who are found to have given false information during any stage of the Express Entry process, including step one, will be subject to these new penalties.

The first draw from the Express Entry pool is scheduled to take place before the end of January, 2015

CIC recently stated its intention to perform the first draw (i.e. issue the first invitations to apply) before the end of January, 2015. This is likely to benefit candidates who have prepared in advance, sat language tests, and gathered supporting documents, as they are the candidates most likely to be in a position to accept an invitation to apply, if offered one.

From the date that an invitation to apply is received, applicants will have only 60 days to file a complete application

CIC has confirmed that once an invitation to apply has been issued to a candidate, he or she will have only 60 days to file a complete application and all supporting documents. No extensions will be granted. Given this limited timeframe, applicants are encouraged to gather these documents in advance. Moreover, when taking the penalties for misrepresentation into account, it is important that the information provided and documents submitted are completely accurate.

If an applicant accepts an invitation to apply, but fails to submit a complete application and all supporting documents, the applicant will not have a second opportunity to file the an application under the same invitation to apply

If an invitation to apply is issued but the applicant subsequently submits an incomplete application or fails to submit an application, the applicant will not have a second opportunity to submit the application for permanent residence under the same invitation to apply. In addition, his or her expression of interest ceases to be valid regardless of the portion of the one-year period that remains and, as a result, he or she will no longer be in the Express Entry pool. This stresses the importance of preparation on the part of the applicant.

If a candidate declines an invitation to apply, he or she will re-enter the Express Entry pool until 12 months have passed since he or she was deemed eligible to enter the pool

Certain candidates, upon receiving an invitation to apply, may feel that they are not prepared to submit a complete application and all supporting documents within the 60-day timeframe set by CIC. As such, they may decline the invitation. If an applicant declines the invitation within the 60-day period, the remaining portion of the original one-year period of their inclusion in the Express Entry pool of candidates continues to apply. Candidate, however, should be aware that there is no guarantee of being issued a second (or third, etc.) invitation to apply. Potential candidates are encouraged to prepare well in advance so that they may be in a position to accept an invitation to apply, in the event that one is offered, and submit a complete application and all supporting documents within 60 days.

Candidates will know their Comprehensive Ranking System points total and what the points threshold was for the most recent draw, but will not know their specific ranking

Candidates in the pool will be able to see their points total under the Comprehensive Ranking System, but there will be no concrete pass mark to trigger an invitation to apply for permanent residence. The points total that a candidate may need in order to receive an invitation to apply can change fluidly as other candidates enter and leave the pool. CIC has confirmed, however, that candidates will be able to know the points that were required in order to receive an invitation to apply for the most recent draw from the Express Entry pool.

Provincial Nominee Programs will continue to exist outside the Express Entry system, but provinces will also be able to select a portion of candidates from the Express Entry pool

As has been the case in recent years, Canadian provinces and territories will continue to be able to craft their own immigration programs based on provincial labour market needs. These are known as the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Indeed, the federal government’s Immigration Plan for 2015, announced last month, gives a greater allocation to the PNPs than has been the case in recent years. We have known for some time that provinces and territories will also be able to select a portion of their PNPs from the Express Entry pool. What we can additionally confirm at this stage is that applicants with a provincial nomination certificate who also qualify in one of the federal economic immigration programs may enter the Express Entry pool and, having been awarded an additional 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System as a result of the provincial nomination, be invited to apply for permanent residence.

Quebec applications will not be conducted through Express Entry, except where the applicant will be working outside Quebec for a Quebec-based company

Under the Canada-Quebec Accord of 1991, Quebec chooses its own immigrants and sets eligibility criteria that are separate from the criteria set by the federal government. Because of this arrangement, Quebec will not actively participate in the Express Entry system for Canadian immigration. Instead, Quebec is scheduled to reopen its skilled worker stream in April, 2015. Candidates applying for one of these programs must have the intention to reside in Quebec. We recently learned, however, that candidates who indicate that they intend to live and work outside Quebec but have a job offer from a company based in Quebec will be able to participate in the Express Entry system. An example of this would be a company whose main headquarters and operations are based in Quebec, but who also have an office in another Canadian city. The territory of Nunavut will also not participate under the Express Entry system. The two other territories and nine other provinces (i.e. all provinces except Quebec) have indicated that they will participate in the federal Express Entry system.

The revised Canada Job Bank will be ready on January 1, but job matching with Canadian employers will not

Candidates who don’t have a confirmed job offer in a skilled occupation or a provincial nomination going into the pool will be required to register on Canada’s updated Job Bank, which is expected to be ready for this purpose when Express Entry launches on January 1, 2015. One of the main differences between the Express Entry system, compared with current and previous Canadian immigration systems, is that Canadian employers will play a greater role in the process. Under Express Entry, Canadian employers are scheduled to be able to identify candidates in the Express Entry pool and submit job offers to them. In communications throughout this year, CIC has likened the role of Express Entry in connecting skilled candidates with Canadian employers as ‘matchmaking’. It has recently been confirmed, however, that the job matching facility in Express Entry is highly unlikely to be fully operational when the system launches on January 1, 2015. For candidates who don’t have a job offer, this may serve as an incentive to prepare an application early.

The ages of dependent children will be determined only at the date the application for permanent residence is received, not at the date of entry to the pool

As is the case under existing immigration programs, successful applicants are entitled to bring their spouse or common-law partner, as well as dependent children, to Canada, once requisite medical and criminal background checks have been made. For the purposes of Canadian immigration, dependent children are defined as biological or adopted children under the age of 19. It was previously unknown whether the ages of dependent children would be determined when the candidate enters the Express Entry pool, or when the invitation to apply for permanent residence has been issued, or when the application has been submitted. CIC has since confirmed that the ages of dependent children will be determined only at the date the application for permanent residence is received.

The government of Canada aims to attract 181,000 new immigrants through economic immigration programs in 2015

The Canadian government’s immigration plan stated that the government aims to attract up to 285,000 new immigrants in 2015, around 181,000 of which are scheduled to be economic migrants (i.e. not under family sponsorship or refugee/humanitarian cases). The majority of these economic migrants are expected to immigrate to Canada under the Express Entry system and, while the government has indicated an allocation for each economic program, the specific number of invitations to apply that may be issued under each of the economic immigration programs may be flexible.

Candidates may hire an immigration lawyer or Certified Canadian Immigration consultant

CIC has confirmed that candidates may hire an immigration lawyer or consultant registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) to represent them throughout the Express Entry process.

Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System

Comprehensive Ranking System The Comprehensive Ranking System ranks eligible candidates for immigration to Canada through Express Entry under the following components:

There are a total of 1,200 points available under the Comprehensive Ranking System. For candidates without an accompanying spouse or common-law partner, there are:

For candidates with an accompanying spouse or common-law partner, there are:

Comprehensive Ranking System: Core Human Capital factors

For the purposes of this table, "PA" refers to the principal applicant and "spouse" refers to the spouse or common-law partner.

Age
Age (in years) With an accompanying spouse (maximum points available: 100) Without an accompanying spouse (maximum points available: 110)
under 18 0 points 0 points
18 90 99
19 95 105
20-29 100 110
30 95 105
31 90 99
32 85 94
33 80 88
34 75 83
35 70 77
36 65 72
37 60 66
38 55 61
39 50 55
40 45 50
41 35 39
42 25 28
43 15 17
44 5 6
45 or older 0 0

 

Level of education
Level of education With an accompanying spouse
(maximum points available: 140 for PA, 10 for spouse)
Without an accompanying spouse (maximum points available: 150)
Less than secondary (high) school credential 0 points 0 points
Secondary school credential 28 for PA; 2 for spouse 30
One-year post-secondary program 84 for PA; 6 for spouse 90
Two-year post-secondary program 91 for PA; 7 for spouse 98
Post-secondary program of 3 or more years 112 for PA; 8 for spouse 120
Two or more post-secondary programs, of which at least one was completed after a post-secondary program of three or more years 119 for PA; 9 for spouse 128
Master's or entry-to-practice professional degree 126 for PA; 10 for spouse 135
Doctoral Degree (PhD) 140 for PA; 10 for spouse 150

 

First Language Ability (English or French)
Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) With an accompanying spouse (maximum points available: 128 for PA; 20 for spouse) Without an accompanying spouse (maximum points available: 136)
For each language ability 32 points for PA; 5 points for spouse 34 points
CLB 3 or lower 0 0
CLB 4 6 for PA; 0 for spouse 6
CLB 5 6 for PA; 1 for spouse 6
CLB 6 8 for PA; 1 for spouse 9
CLB 7 16 for PA; 3 for spouse 17
CLB 8 22 for PA; 3 for spouse 23
CLB 9 29 for PA; 5 for spouse 31
CLB 10 or higher 32 for PA; 5 for spouse 34

*Points in the above chart are for each language ability: speaking, writing, reading and listening, respectively.

Second Language Ability (English or French)
Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) With an accompanying spouse (maximum points available: 22) Without an accompanying spouse (maximum points available: 24)
For each language ability 6 6
CLB 4 or lower 0 0
CLB 5 or 6 1 1
CLB 7 or 8 3 3
CLB 9 or higher 6 6

 

Canadian Work Experience
Number of years With an accompanying spouse (maximum points available: 70 for PA; 10 for spouse) Without an accompanying spouse (maximum points available: 80)
Less than 1 0 points 0 points
1 year 35 for PA; 5 for spouse 40
2 years 46 for PA; 7 for spouse 53
3 years 56 for PA; 8 for spouse 64
4 years 63 for PA; 9 for spouse 72
5 years or more 70 for PA; 10 for spouse 80

Comprehensive Ranking System: Skill Transferability Factors

A maximum of 100 points are awarded for a candidate's skill transferability factors. There are five combinations of such skill transferability, with a maximum of 50 points awarded for each combination. Even if a candidate scores more than 100 points in total, only 100 points will be awarded under the Comprehensive Ranking System. Candidates with or without an accompanying spouse or common-law partner are awarded points for skill transferability in exactly the same way. There are no points available for the skill transferability of a candidate's spouse or common-law partner.

For the purposes of this table, "CLB" refers to Canadian Language Benchmark.

Education and Language Ability
CLB 7 or higher on all language abilities, with at least one of these CLB 7 or 8 CLB 9 or higher for all language abilities
No post-secondary education 0 0
Post-secondary education of 1 year or longer 13 25
Two or more post-secondary credentials,
the first of which was 3 or more years in duration
25 50

 

Education and Canadian Work Experience
1 year of Canadian work experience 2 or more years of Canadian work experience
No post-secondary education 0 0
Post-secondary education of 1 year or longer 13 25
Two or more post-secondary credentials, the first of which was 3 or more years in duration 25 50

 

Language Ability and Non-Canadian Work Experience
CLB 7 or higher on all language abilities, with at least one of these CLB 7 or 8 CLB 9 or higher for all language abilities
No non-Canadian work experience 0 0
1 or 2 years of non-Canadian work experience 13 25
3 or more years of non-Canadian work experience 25 50

 

Canadian and non-Canadian Work Experience
1 year of Canadian work experience 2 or more years of Canadian work experience
No non-Canadian work experience 0 0
1 or 2 years of non-Canadian work experience 13 25
3 or more years of non-Canadian work experience 25 50

 

Certificate of Qualification in a Trade and Language Ability
CLB 5 or higher on all language abilities, with at least one CLB 5 or 6 CLB 7 or higher on all language abilities
Certificate of qualification in a trade occupation issued by a province 25 50

 

Comprehensive Ranking System: Additional Points

Additional points All candidates
For a nomination certificate from a Canadian province (except Quebec) 600 points
For a qualifying job offer of arranged employment from a Canadian employer 600 points

 

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