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Canada Immigration

Express Entry

 ♦ Canada Immigration Overview

 ♦ Express Entry

 ♦ Federal Skilled Worker

 ♦ Federal Skilled Trade Class

 ♦ Provincial Nominee Program

 ♦ Quebec Immigration

 ♦ Immigration Pilot Programs

 ♦ Family Sponsorship Class

 ♦ Canadian Experience Class

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Introduced in January 2015, the Express Entry (EE) system was developed to allow Canada to meet its future labour market needs in order to maintain long-term economic growth. The system has held more than 93 draws, and in 2018 over 39,700 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) have been issued so far. This number is expected to significantly increase as the year continues.

The system was introduced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and it is used to select candidates for immigration to Canada through many of the Federal Economic Immigration programs. Candidates who intend to apply for immigration through the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class are required to do so through the system.

As the main driver of economic migration to Canada, it is seen as a flagship program providing a fast-track route to Canadian immigration. This article takes a look at how far the system has come, whether it is fulfilling its objectives and what this means for you as an applicant.


The program was launched in January 2015 to help people apply for Canadian permanent residence, under three categories:

    ♦ Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP);

    ♦ Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP); and

    ♦ Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Early Rounds

In the beginning of 2015, the majority of admissions came from applications submitted before January 1. These early draws included a large number of applications from foreign nationals who already worked in Canada. Many of those immigrants were given ITAs because they had job offers supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

In the first ten draws, which took place over six months, a total of 11,353 ITAs were issued to candidates. Since the first draw on January 21, 2015, the system has developed into one of the most efficient immigration programs in Canada.

Remember that the number of invited candidates can be lower than the number of invitations sent. This happens when some candidates receive more than one invitation or when invitations are declined.

System Improvements

Over time, the number of ITAs issued under the system have continued to rise, because of Canada’s growing market. Due to this upwards trend, improvements were made to the system in the fall of 2016.

These changes came into effect on November 19, 2016. Aimed at creating a fair immigration system, the changes address human resource needs, while ensuring long-term economic growth for the country.

The improvements include awarding points for job offers made to eligible candidates already in Canada with LMIA-exempt work permits and to international students who have completed their education in Canada. In addition, more time is now allocated for candidates to submit applications for permanent residence once they have received ITAs.

From Nov 19, 2016, Points Awarded by the CRS for a Job Offer Changed in Three Basic Ways:

  Points will be awarded for job offers made to eligible candidates who are on LMIA exempt work permits. Many foreign workers in Canada who are temporarily on an employer-specific LMIA-exempt work permit, but who want to stay in Canada permanently, will no longer need to get an LMIA to be awarded job offer points by the CRS. This includes candidates who are here under the North American Free Trade Agreement, a federal-provincial agreement, or who are intra-company transferees. For the points to be awarded, the candidate must meet certain criteria, such as having at least one year of work experience from the same employer who is providing their job offer.

 Job offers will only need to be a minimum of one year in duration once they receive permanent residence. Changing the job offer requirement from permanent to one year, means that more highly skilled candidates working in contract-based industries will have a higher likelihood of receiving an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence.

 Points awarded for job offers will be reduced. A total of 50 points will be awarded to candidates with a valid job offer in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) 0, A or B occupation, while a total of 200 points will be awarded to candidates with a valid job offer in a NOC 00 occupation.

80% of EE candidates in 2017 got ITAs, even without a job offer. This means that even without a job offer it is still possible to qualify for this program.

Why the Program Is Popular

Applications can take as little as six months to process, making this program one of the fastest immigration programs in Canada. Only immigrants who have the right skills required in each province can qualify, unlike the Green Card Lotteries used in the U.S.

Applicants who are successful with the program can eventually apply for permanent residence in Canada.