Updated: Oct 22, 2019
What kind of candidate is ideal for immigration under Express Entry?
We often get inquiries from would-be immigrants who are excited by the prospects of this relatively new platform. On January 1st, 2015, the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada or IRCC, launched Express Entry as the platform that must be used in order to apply for permanent residency using one of the following three federal immigration programs: Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Class and Federal Skilled Trades (FST) Class. In addition to the requirement to meet the eligibility factors of at least one of the three programs mentioned, the applicant must be aware of how Express Entry works to begin with.
The candidates in the pool are ranked according to a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. The score comes from several factors such as the candidates age, level of education, work experience, language skills, family in Canada, education and work in Canada, as well as arranged employment or job offer. The scores in each section are subsequently added up for a total candidate rank.
Every month, and sometimes multiple times per month, there is a draw which leads to a letter of invitation to apply for permanent residency under one of the three programs that you were selected under. Each invitation round has a set of instructions that are posted online at the time of the invitation round and used by the Express Entry system to invite candidates from the pool. As such, we always pre-qualify a candidate for Express Entry by calculating their CRS score and then comparing it to the minimum draw points during previous rounds of invitations. The previous rounds of invitations are published online and available for viewing on the IRCC website.
We would like to emphasize that the likelihood of being successful in obtaining permanent residence through Express Entry is a predictable outcome and not everybody is going to have a realistic chance. Seventy five percent of the new immigrants to Canada are aged 25 to 34 according to Statistics Canada in 2019. It also follows that most people who have a decent CRS rank are within this age group.
In addition to age, having a recognized master's degree or higher, at least one year of work experience, advanced language scores in either English or French or intermediate in both, could lead to enough points to get a selection without arranged employment. As such, somebody possessing all of these characteristics could potentially be invited to apply without ever having been to Canada.
Others who have been successful on Express Entry are those who have studied in Canada or worked in Canada or both. Studying at a designate learning institution (DLI) leads to a post graduate work permit that is an open work permit. This would allow an individual to maximize their CRS rank.
On the side of skilled trades workers who have a separate draw and rounds of invitations from time to time, for best outcome, one must have a certificate of qualification from the province for regulated occupations, intermediate language scores, be within the ideal age range or close to it, do an evaluation of your highest level of education, have prior Canadian work experience and/or arranged employment on an LMIA work permit and/or have family members in Canada.
There are many factors that contribute to the CRS rank and these factors have changed multiple times since the program was first introduced. For instance, back in 2015, 600 CRS points were awarded for arranged employment or qualified job offer which effectively meant that everybody who was already in Canada on a skilled work permit and could pass an English test was invited. Then the arranged employment factor changed and more points started to be awarded for education in Canada and work experience in Canada. More recently, knowing French language and/or both English and French has been highly rewarding in terms of CRS scores.
At the end of the day, provincial nominee programs sometimes are better suited for candidates with low CRS ranks on Express Entry. One must explore all their options and select the one that will lead to their ultimate goal the fastest.