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Express Entry System

As of January 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has a new electronic system called Express Entry to manage applications for permanent residence under certain economic immigration programs.

The Express Entry system is the first step to immigrate to Canada under these programs. Potential candidates can complete an Express Entry profile at any time. Note that there is no deadline to complete a profile and there are no caps on the number of candidates that will be accepted to the pool.

Anyone who is accepted into the Express Entry pool could get an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. Rounds of invitations to invite candidates to apply will take place regularly over the course of each year. We will only pick the top ranking candidates no matter when they were accepted into the pool.

If you are invited to apply, you will have 60 days to submit a complete Application for Permanent Residence online.

In 2015, Canada will welcome between 260,000 and 285,000 new permanent residents. The 2015 Immigration levels plan supports the government’s economic growth strategy by addressing labour and skills shortages, reuniting families sooner and reducing backlogs. The economic immigration category will account for the largest segment of the 2015 levels plan, at almost 65 percent of overall admissions.

As of January 2015, skilled foreign workers have access to Express Entry – a new electronic application management system – which applies to Canada’s key economic immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)***********;
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP);
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC); and,
  • A portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).

Express Entry does not change or replace the requirements of these immigration programs.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The FSW category is prescribed as a class of persons who are skilled workers, who may become permanent residents on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada, and who intend to reside in a province other than Quebec.

Minimum requirements

Skilled work experience

Your work experience must be:

  • at least one year (1,560 hours total / 30 hours per week), continuous full-time or an equal amount in part-time,
  • paid work (volunteer work, unpaid internships do not count),
  • in the same NOC skill type (0, A or B) ,
  • within the last 10 years, and
  • at skill type 0, or skill levels A or B of the 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Full Time

30 hours/week for 12 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)

Part time

15 hours/week for 24 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)


30 hours/week for 12 months at more than one job = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)

You must show that you did the duties set out in the lead statement of the occupational description in the NOC, including all the essential duties and most of the main duties listed.

If you cannot show that your work experience meets the description in the NOC, you are not eligible under this program. Find out the NOC code, title and skill type or level for your job.

Language ability

You must:

  • meet the minimum language level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7, and
  • take a language test approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that shows you meet the level for speaking, listening, reading and writing.
  • You must show that you meet the requirements in English or French by including the test results when you complete your Express Entry profile. Your test results must not be more than two years old on the day you apply for permanent residence.


You must have:

  • a Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree,
  • OR
  • a completed foreign credential, and
  • an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from an agency approved by CIC. [The report must show your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree.]

Six selection factors

If you meet all the conditions set out in the minimum requirements, we will assess your application based on the selection factors in the federal skilled worker points grid.

The selection factors are:

  • your skills in English and/or French (Canada's two official languages),
  • your education,
  • your work experience,
  • your age,
  • whether you have a valid job offer, and
  • your adaptability (how well you are likely to settle here).

To see how many points you might get, read about the selection factors.

If you have skilled work experience and want to live in Canada permanently, use our Come to Canada tool to see if you are eligible for the Express Entry pool.


  • English and/or French Skills
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Age
  • Arranged Employment in
  • Canada
  • Adaptability


IELTS: International English Language Testing System

IELTS has two options for the reading and writing tests: “General Training” and “Academic.”
You must take the “General Training” option.
First official language (Maximum 24 points)





You will need to show proof to the Canadian visa office in your home country that you have enough money when you apply to immigrate. The amount of money you need to support your family is set by the size of your family. We update these amounts every year.

Express Entry: Changes how Canada selects skilled immigrants

Moving from the old system…

  • First applicant in, first to be processed
  • Difficult to navigate the immigration system due to multiple players
  • Recruitment of global talent at employer time and expense
  • Average of 12-14 months to process an application

…to Express Entry

  • CIC selects candidates that are most likely to succeed in Canada, rather than the first in line
  • Express Entry candidates with a valid job offer or P/T nomination will quickly be invited to apply (ITA) for permanent residence
  • Later in 2015 (exact date TBC), the new Job Bank will connect Canadian employers with a pool of skilled foreign national candidates if they can’t find Canadians or permanent residents to do the job
  • Express Entry candidates will benefit from processing times of six months or lessFootnote1.

The New Two-Step Application Process: Candidate

Text version: The New Two-Step Application Process

Step 1: Express Entry Profile

Candidates can promote themselves:

  • They are encouraged to signal their presence in the Express Entry pool to recruiters, on private sector job boards, participate in job fairs, contact Canadian employers directly, etc.
  • Registration with Job Bank is required unless a candidate has a valid job offer or PT nomination

Express Entry Pool

  • All candidates in the Express Entry pool are assigned a score according to their skills, education and experience
  • Candidates profiles can remain in the pool for up to 1 year
  • At the one year mark, candidates will be asked if they would like to resubmit their profile
  • Candidates can update their profiles at any time if their circumstances change, which may change their score
  • Candidates in the pool are ranked against others in the pool according to their score
  • CIC will regularly issue Invitations to Apply to those candidates ranked highest from the pool

What is the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and why is it necessary?

  • The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a scoring mechanism tied to best predictors of economic success
  • The CRS allows CIC to rank and sort submissions within in the Express Entry pool to identify the candidates mostly likely to achieve high employment earnings based on their profile (age, education, language skills, Canadian work experience) and/or a job offer or provincial/territorial nomination
  • CRS ranking allows the highest scoring Express Entry candidates to be invited to apply regardless of when they entered the Express Entry pool, instead of processing on a first-come, first-served basis.

Step 2: Invitation to Apply (ITA)

Text version: Step 2: Invitation to Apply (ITA)

Job OffersFootnote2 in Express Entry:

  • Candidates with a job offer or a provincial/territorial nomination are given additional points to ensure they are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA)
  • They will quickly be offered an ITA for permanent residence (PR);
  • Candidates will have 60 days to submit their complete electronic application for permanent residence
  • At application, CIC will verify candidate eligibility and admissibility criteria
  • Express Entry candidates will benefit from processing times of six months or less.Footnote1

Invitation to Apply Mechanics

  • Whether an Express Entry candidate is issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) is determined using a transparent, public and objective methodology: The Comprehensive Ranking System.
  • Ministerial Instructions will be posted online and will contain the date and time of each round of invitations, the number of candidates that receive an ITA, and if it applies, which specific immigration program(s) were included in the round.
  • All rounds of invitations will be based on candidates’ rank in the pool whether the round is for a specific immigration program or simply the top ranked candidates in the pool overall.
  • After each round of invitations, CIC will communicate the lowest points score included in the round.
  • If a candidate does not receive an ITA, they will be able to visit the CIC website and see how they fared against the cut off score.

Invitation to Apply Timing

  • Rounds of invitations will be held as needed to meet annual levels targets.
  • Initial expectations are that rounds of invitations will occur regularly throughout the year with approximately 15 to 25 taking place overall.
  • It should be noted that the timing and the number of candidates invited in each round of invitations may vary, allowing CIC to take into account fluctuations in the labour market or the number of candidates in the pool etc.

Provinces and Territories = Key Partners

  • Provincial and territorial (P/T) nominations continue under the new system.
  • P/Ts are able to nominate candidates who meet their unique regional labour market needs.
  • When an Express Entry candidate is identified through a PNP, they receive additional points in the ranking system and will be quickly invited to apply for permanent residence.
  • CIC will process most applications in six months or less

Express Entry – Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Criteria

Summary of points per factor for Express Entry candidates

A. Core/human capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner factors = Maximum 500 points (with OR without a spouse or common-law partner)

Points breakdown, section by section

CRS – A. Core / human capital factors

  • With a spouse or common-law partner: Maximum 460 points total for all factors.
  • Without a spouse or common-law partner: Maximum 500 points total for all factors.

Official languages proficiency - first official language

Maximum points for each ability (reading, writing, speaking and listening):

  • 32 with a spouse or common-law partner
  • 34 without a spouse or common-law partner

Subtotal: A. Core / human capital factors

  • With a spouse or common-law partner – Maximum 460 points
  • Without a spouse or common-law partner – Maximum 500 points

CRS – B. Spouse or common-law partner factors (if applicable)

Spouse's or common-law partner's official languages proficiency - first official language

Note: (n/a) means that this factor does not apply in this case.

Note: (n/a) means that this factor does not apply in this case.

Subtotal : A. Core / human capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner factors = Maximum 500 points

CRS – C. Skill transferability factors (Maximum 100 points for this section)


Foreign work experience – With good official language proficiency (Canadian Language Benchmark Level [CLB] 7 or higher)

Foreign work experience – With Canadian work experience

Subtotal: A. Core / human capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner + C. Skill transferability factors - Maximum 600 points

Grand total: A. Core / human capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner + C. Skill transferability factors + D. Additional points = Maximum 1,200 points

Provincial Nominee Program

Most provinces and territories in Canada can nominate immigrants through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). These immigrants must have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of that province or territory, and must want to live there.

Each province and territoryFootnote* has its own “streams” (immigration programs that target certain groups) and criteria for their PNP. For example, in a program stream, provinces and territories may target students, business people, skilled workers or semi-skilled workers.

Since January 1, 2015, many provinces and territories have launched new Express Entry streams. Check their websites to learn more about which streams they offer.

The province or territory

To be nominated by a province or territory, you must follow the instructions on their website and contact them directly:

British Columbia
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island