The Express Entry visa is introduced by IRCC/ Canadian Immigration authorities in order to process and manage immigration applications for skilled workforce. It is an electronic system that allows individuals from all nationalities to apply for Canadian Permanent Citizenship.

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There are three immigration programs that fall under express entry which are - the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP); Canadian Experience Class (CEC); and, the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

The article below explains the different types of this VISA entry program, its application procedure, eligibility criteria, and the selection process in detail.

Understanding the three Immigration Programs for Express Entry VISA

The three Immigration Programs for Express Entry Visas can be understood as follows –

The Canadian Experience Class [CEC] Program –

This visa category is for skilled workers with experience working within Canada and now seeking permanent residency. To be eligible for this visa program, the most important condition is that any applicant must hold at least a year of skilled work experience in Canada. Also, to note that this experience needs to be gained within a 3-year period right before the application is made, under the status of a Temporary Resident.

You must, however, ensure that the job that you pursue should fall in line with one of the mentioned job roles within the National Occupation List (NOC) for Canada, falling under TEER 0, TEER 1, TEER 2, or TEER 3 categories.

You can access the complete list by clicking on the button below –

There are certain limitations on the type of duties one can perform in order to qualify for this visa program. One must note that any work conducted as a voluntary service, unpaid internship, self-employment, or as a full-time student does not count towards this visa program. Further to it, if you do not hold a temporary resident status and still perform any work duties within the NOC list, they will not be eligible to be considered for this visa category.

In addition to the conditions related to work, other criteria for eligibility include things such as language proficiency results and education qualifications (no specific requirements but points can be earned for gained qualification based on an assessment report).

The full limitations regarding who can apply and who cannot, along with the eligibility criteria can be referred from the below link –

Also, you need to note that Quebec has its process of selection for skilled individuals.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program [FSWP] –

Those who wish to apply for a Canadian Permanent Residency under the Federal Skilled Worker Program [FSWP] must possess the relevant foreign work experience and meet the required criteria for education and language ability.

Once the candidates meet all the minimum requirements for this program, the application is further assessed based on additional selection factors. Once again, your foreign work experience must align with those mentioned under the National Occupation List (NOC) Teer categories 0,1,2, and 3.

In addition to that, you need to make sure that while employed in your primary occupation, you need to take care of key responsibilities as set out in the occupation description within the NOC. The job should be of a similar nature as the one you wish to use for your immigration application, and you should have attained this experience within the last ten years, either within Canada or abroad.

The important aspect for the same is that unpaid work of any nature is not accounted for towards your application, and you should have worked for at least 01 year or 1,560 hours in a continuous fashion.

To meet the aforementioned criteria, you can either work full-time in a single job, in multiple jobs of a part-time nature [paid employment], or in multiple jobs full-time for at least 12 months.

You can choose your weekly part-time hours flexibly, whether it's more or less than 15 hours, as long as you accumulate a total of 1,560 hours. You can even consider juggling multiple part-time jobs to meet this requirement.

An important thing as a student, that you must take into consideration is that if you worked during your academic studies, it may be counted towards the requirements elaborated above, only if you were paid a salary for the same, the work undertaken was continuous in nature, and meets all the other requirements of the program. 

Other documentation that needs to be submitted during the initial phase of application is the proof of language ability and educational qualifications along with an Educational Credential Assessment that can be used by immigration authorities for assessing your abilities. 

You can review the entire eligibility criteria by visiting the link below - 

Lastly, once all the minimum requirements are fulfilled by the candidate, the application is further assessed for the program based on age, education, work experience, language skills, your offer of job from a sponsoring organization in Canada, and your ability to adapt to new country and you are scored out of 100.  

The minimum eligibility marks currently is 67 points. 

Understand how points are calculated for federal skilled workers' selection factors by visiting the link below -

•       The Federal Skilled Trades Program [FSTP] -

This program is for workers who are skilled in a specific trade and wish to become permanent residents of Canada. 

The basic requirements which are needed to be eligible for this program are the skilled trades work experience, an offer of a job or qualification certificate, and proof of language proficiency. No mandatory education requirement is posed for this program. 

The condition for work experience is that one must hold at least two years of full-time employment or an equal amount of part-time employment in a skilled trade as outlined in the NOC list, within five years before the application is being made. Some skilled trades include roles such as transportation officers and controllers, supervisors in natural resources, cooks and bakers, and aircraft assemblers among others. 

The NOC groups that list skills trades can be confirmed by visiting the link below - 

Only paid work experience, which meets the description within the NOC list, and aligns with your qualifications to independently practice that trade will be considered for this program. 

Lastly, you require a Certificate of Qualification which assures that you are certified to work in a certain skilled trade in Canada. This is obtained through the province or territory wherein you wish to practice your trade via a federal authority or provincial body. 

How to improve your ranking within the Express Entry pool

There are two definite ways in which a candidate can improve their rank within the Express Entry pool. 

The first way one can do it is by showing that a candidate went to a school in Canada at a secondary or a post-secondary level. Moreover, if you have foreign education, points will be awarded if the education is complete and is equivalent to a Canadian Education framework, and a credential assessment report is provided to the immigration authorities. 

The second important documentation evidence needed is proof of sufficient funding to represent that you and your family have enough funds to settle in Canada unless you have a valid job offer from a Canadian sponsor or are legally able to work in Canada immediately. 

Stepwise Process to Apply for Express Entry Program for Canadian Immigration 

Step 1: Check If You Qualify

Start by making sure you meet the requirements for Express Entry. You must be eligible for at least one of three programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, or the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Check your eligibility through the link below – 

Step 2: Language and Education

Next, find out how good your language skills are and, if necessary, get your education credentials evaluated.

Step 3: Create Your Profile

Go to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and fill out your Express Entry profile. This is the first thing you need to do.

Visit the link below to create your profile

Step 4: Wait for an Invitation

Now, be patient. Wait for an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from IRCC for permanent residence. When you get this invitation depends on your qualifications and ranking.

Step 5: Apply for Permanent Residence

Once you get the ITA, carefully complete your Permanent Residence application and send it to IRCC within the given time. Don't forget to include your medical checkup results and police certificates. After you apply, you'll get an Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR).

Step 6: Give Your Biometrics

When IRCC asks, provide your biometrics, like fingerprints and photos.

Step 7: Decision and Confirmation

Now, wait for IRCC to make a decision on your application. They try to finish it in 6 months or less. When your application is approved, you'll get a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and, if you need one, a permanent resident visa. With these, you can travel to Canada and become a permanent resident.

The Express Entry Timeline 

Express Entry profiles are valid for up to one year. Successful candidates can expect their permanent residence applications to be processed within six months. 

If no ITA is received within a year, candidates can resubmit their profiles if they remain eligible.

Some key things to keep in mind while applying for Express Entry Visa for Canada are:

A candidate must plan to live outside Quebec province, as it has its own selection criteria for skilled workers. However, if you are looking ahead to live in Quebec, you need to visit the Quebec-selected skilled workers list from the link below-

    The province that you mention in the application form as a response to where you plan to settle in Canada, does not necessarily need to be the territory you eventually settle in. 

However, if you are a Provincial Nominee, you need to settle in the province that nominated you. 

Eligible candidates for Express Entry are provided a score based on certain selection criteria such as age, education, language proficiency, and work experience. 

After your online profile is submitted, and the eligibility is determined by the federal government, you will be ranked as per the guidelines stated within the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). 

The highest scoring candidates from the pool are then selected and provided with an Invitation to Apply [ITA] for permanent residency. Please visit the link to know more 

There are three different draws for the Express Entry program which are - 

1. General Rounds of Invitation where the highest CRS score holders are invited to apply for a PR. 

2. Program-Specific Rounds of Invitation where individuals with highest CRS Scores for a specific Express Entry program are invited by IRCC. 

3. Category-Based Rounds of Invitation where the IRCC asks people with the best CRS scores, who also meet certain criteria set by IRCC to support specific economic objectives.

Targeted Express Entry Draws: IRCC conducts targeted draws for candidates who meet specific category criteria set by Canada's immigration minister. These draws complement other Express Entry draws. CRS scores are still considered, and candidates must meet the minimum CRS score for the draw.

One of the advantages of the Express Entry Program is that it does faster processing of immigration applications, with successful candidates getting a visa well within 6 months as compared with the previous timeline of 6 years within the old system. 

Additionally, its Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) allows immigrants with higher levels of education, professional work experience, and better language skills in French and/or English become successful within the Canadian job industry. 

On the contrary, within this system the candidates are not assured of receiving an invitation for permanent residency. When compared with the previous system, candidates were sure of receiving a PR invite as long as they met all the admissibility and eligibility criteria. 

You don't need to hold a job offer to do well with Express Entry. Having a job offer doesn't guarantee success, but it can boost your score in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Getting a valid job offer can give you either 50 or 200 extra CRS points.

A 2020 study by IRCC found that Express Entry immigrants do really well in Canada's job market. They earn higher salaries, have high employment rates, and low unemployment rates. This trend is expected to continue as Canada relies on immigration to address its aging population and low birth rate challenges.

Canada evaluates skilled worker candidates solely on their ability to integrate into the Canadian job market, without regard for their country of origin. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) assesses factors like age, education, language skills, work experience, and other human capital aspects to make this determination.

It's impossible for anyone, even IRCC, to predict if Express Entry CRS cut-off scores will go up or down because Express Entry is always changing. The scores depend on how many high-scoring candidates there are. When there are many, the cut-off is high, and when there are fewer, it's low. 

How much does it cost to apply for Express Entry Visa? 

Please note that submitting an Express Entry profile to the government's pool of eligible candidates comes at no cost. 

However, candidates may need to bear certain expenses prior to submitting their Express Entry profile, which could encompass:

Taking an English or French language examination administered by an accredited language-testing organization approved by the Canadian government.

Obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment.

Covering fees for document translation into either English or French.

Considering the engagement of an immigration professional, such as a law firm. 

Subsequent to receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA), candidates will encounter government fees and other expenses, including:

Canadian government fees for processing permanent residence applications.

Medical examinations.

Police background checks.

Biometrics fees.

Canadian government permanent residence fees specific to Express Entry, effective as of April 30, 2022. These fees include:

Application processing fee ($850) and right of permanent residence fee ($515), totaling $1,365.

Spouse or partner processing fee ($850) and right of permanent residence fee ($515), also totaling $1,365.

Adding a dependent child incurs a fee of $230 per child.

Can I include my family under Express Entry Program? 

In Express Entry, you can include your spouse, children, and even some extended family members. If your application is approved, they'll also get permanent residence.

Dependent children are:

Under 22 and not married.

22 or older, relied on their parents' support before 22, and can't support themselves due to a health issue.

Different Immigration Schemes offered by Canada for Skilled Workers 

Canada provides many ways for skilled workers to become permanent residents. You can choose from various options:

1. Express Entry: This is the main route for most skilled workers to come to Canada.

2. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP): It's another way for skilled workers to move to Canada.

3. Quebec: Quebec has its own system for bringing in skilled workers.

4. Other Federal Programs: Besides Express Entry, there are other ways to immigrate as a skilled worker. You can consider options like moving to Canada's Atlantic provinces, rural or northern areas, working as a caregiver, joining the agri-food sector, starting a business, or being self-employed.

5. Study in Canada: Going to an educational institute in Canada can lead to permanent residency through these immigration routes.

6. Work in Canada: If you have a job offer in Canada, you can start by working on a permit and then transition to permanent resident status through the options mentioned above.

Calculating and improving your CRS Score

The tool to calculate your CRS Score can be accessed via the link provided below –


While you're in the Express Entry pool, you can boost your chances by improving your CRS score. You can do this by retaking your language test, gaining more work experience or education, or working and studying in Canada.

While you're in the pool, you might get an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination, which almost guarantees you an invitation to apply (ITA) for a Canadian permanent resident visa.

You could also get a job offer in Canada while in the pool. If it raises your CRS score enough, you could get an ITA for permanent residence.

Securing a provincial nomination ensures an impressive increase of 600 points in your application score, virtually guaranteeing an invitation to apply for permanent residence from IRCC.

Additionally, if you obtain a valid job offer through Express Entry, you can receive either 50 or 200 extra points, further enhancing your application.

Maximizing your performance on the English or French language test is also crucial for improving your Express Entry score, as language proficiency plays a significant role in the evaluation process.

Express Entry v/s Provincial Nominee Program: Understanding the Difference

In Canada, there are two main ways to become a permanent resident: Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Express Entry is like a manager for three special immigration programs run by the federal government. This manager helps select people who can become permanent residents.

The PNP is a way for provinces and territories to tell the federal government that they want a specific person to come live in their area because that person can help with their economy. If the federal government agrees, that person gets a special note from the province or territory saying they can apply for permanent residency.

Ways to obtain an Educational Credential Assessment for the Express Entry Program

To ensure that your educational qualifications are properly evaluated for immigration purposes, you must obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from an organization that has been approved by IRCC.

Here are some recognized options for obtaining your ECA:

1. World Education Services

2. Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies

3. International Credential Assessment Service of Canada

4. International Qualifications Assessment Service

5. International Credential Evaluation Service

6. Medical Council of Canada (for doctors)

7. Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (for pharmacists)

Choose one of these organizations to assess your educational credentials for your immigration application.

Lastly once you receive an ITA for permanent residency for Canada, you need to provide the required documentation to IRCC, pay any requested fee, and submit the application

Requested documentation by IRCC may include -

1. A valid passport

2. Your birth certificate

3. Results from a language test

4. An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

5. Police clearance certificates

6. Medical records

7. And other relevant documents

You can find a comprehensive list of all the documents you need to submit to IRCC if you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) on this page

Express Entry results can for the previous years and the cut-off scores can be found by accessing the below link – 

Commonly asked questions about Express Entry Program can be accessed through the below link – 

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