Express Entry System

What is the Canadian Express Entry System?

The Express Entry system was started in 2015 by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) – a division of the government of Canada which handles all Canadian immigration as a means of enabling skilled foreign workers and their families to become permanent residents in Canada as soon as possible. Because the Express Entry processing time is as little as six months, the Canadian economy desperately needs skilled workers in many occupations and industries throughout Canada.

According to its website, the Government of Canada is currently on track to meet its annual target of presenting 465,000 immigrants with permanent residency by the end of 2023. A significant portion of these was presented through the Express Entry system.

How Does the Canada Express Entry System Work?

To gain permanent residency via Express Entry Canada, applicants must create an Express Entry profile. To make this profile, they need to enter the following specific details about themselves:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Language Skills
  • Work experience
  • Marital Status
  • Links to Canada

These details are calculated through the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to produce a CRS score. This score is out of 1200 and is calculated based on the above factors, as well as:

  • Skills Transferability
  • French Language Skills
  • If any of their post-secondary education was in Canada
  • If they have a Canadian job offer
  • If they have a Provincial Nomination

Once an applicant’s score is determined, they enter an Express Entry pool. Every two weeks, there is an Express Entry draw where all applicants with a score higher than a certain number are presented with an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency in Canada.
The minimum requirements change with each draw, depending on the size and strength of the Express Entry pool at the time of the interest.

Keep Up To Date With The Latest Express Entry Draw

It’s of the utmost importance that all applicants keep up to date with the results of the most recent Express Entry draws. This is not only a means to help alert applicants to the status of their Express Entry profile but also helps to isolate the direction the score requirements are going.

Once an applicant gets their ITA, they will have 60 days to submit their supporting documentation, pay their processing fees and submit their final Canada Express Entry application to become a Canadian permanent resident. If there are no issues, the applicant should receive their permanent residence card in as little as six months.

What are the Express Entry Programs?

The Express Entry system is made up of three programs. These programs are as follows:

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The FSWP is specifically for skilled workers with a degree or equivalent from a recognized tertiary educational institution.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The FSTP is specifically for skilled tradespeople with a recognized diploma or certified job-specific training.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The CEC is specifically for skilled workers living and working in Canada for at least 12 consecutive months via a study permit, work permit, or Working Holiday Visa.

How to Apply for Express Entry Canada

Your journey to permanent residency can be broken down into five steps.

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

The first crucial step of your Canada Express Entry application process is ensuring eligibility for your chosen program.

Each of the Express Entry Programs has its specific requirements, but to be considered for any Express Entry Program, there are a few immovable requirements.

Work Experience

To be eligible for an Express Entry Program, an applicant must have at least one year of continuous full-time (or the equivalent hours in part-time) professional work experience.

Often, for the IRCC to consider an applicant’s work experience valid, the applicant must get a National Occupational Classification (NOC). Every occupation has a different NOC code.

As specific jobs are in very high demand in Canada, the IRCC tends to offer ITAs to those with in-demand jobs, even if they have slightly lower CRS scores than those whose jobs aren’t in demand. For your convenience, here’s a directory of the top in-demand jobs in Canada.

Language Ability

Express Entry applicants must demonstrate a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of seven in one of the Canadian official languages – English or French.

The CLB accepts several tests for each language. Therefore, an applicant’s CLB is determined based on their language test results.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) for English exist.

For French, there are the Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) and the Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF).

Both tests cover four significant pillars of language:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking

What is IELTS?

The IELTS is the world’s most recognized English language testing system – it is not only a valid test for entrance to Canada. Still, it can also be required for specific jobs and educational institutions.

If you feel IELTS is the direction for you, look at our IELTS Course to help you get the best possible result from your language test.

What is CELPIP?

While CELPIP isn’t as widely recognized, it’s far more accessible. You can sit the test online from any country, and the Canadian government fully accepts it.

Tertiary Education

The applicant must have completed a post-secondary qualification equivalent to Canadian standards via an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

The FSTP participants and those planning to work in regulated occupations like medicine – these participants may need their skills and training assessed by a Canadian government agency.

Criminal Record

Applicants must have no criminal record, as shown by obtaining a clear police background check. Here’s a simple breakdown if you want to know what crimes will make you entirely inadmissible to Canada.

Medical Certification

Applicants must be in good health, as shown through a medical exam by a certified medical professional. This is done to ensure that excessive pressure is not being placed on Canada’s public health system.

If you’re wondering what medical issues could cause you to be inadmissible to Canada, look at this article.

Travel Documents

All applicants must have a legitimate and valid travel document, such as a passport, to submit an Express Entry profile.

Applicants must ensure all their documents remain valid throughout the Express Entry process. The IRCC will ask the applicant for valid documentation if a document is invalid. This will massively extend the length of the Express Entry processing time.

If you fulfill these requirements, you’re starting on the right foot. However, you still need to satisfy the requirements of your Express Entry Program.

Step 2: Calculate Your CRS Score

Once you’ve ensured your eligibility, working out your CRS score is an excellent idea before submitting your application. Knowing your CRS score will give you a clear picture of how well you’ll likely do in the coming Express Entry draws. The best way to do this is via our CRS calculator.

However, a CRS calculator is only an educated estimate of your CRS score. If you want the most accurate estimate of your CRS score and advice to help you get it to the level you need, your best choice is still working with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). An RCIC can help determine your eligibility for Express Entry by assisting you in creating an Express Entry profile using an online platform that identifies your skills and qualifications. They can also guide you through the eligibility requirements for the Express Entry programs.

If you want to ensure the best score possible before applying, here’s a guide on improving your CRS score and all the major and minor ways to ensure you have the best chance to move to Canada.

Step 3: Gather Your Documents

Once you’ve ensured your eligibility and maximized your CRS score, it’s time to create your Express Entry profile. However, you need to assemble many documents to represent your details accurately. Therefore, it also helps to have your documents sourced before you apply. Once you get your ITA, you will only have 60 days to source all of them. The documents needed are as follows:

  • Passport
  • National Occupation Classification (NOC)
    • This is the Canadian classification for your current job, explicitly referring to the type and level of your employment.
  • Education credential assessment report
    • This assessment is done on your education to ensure it matches Canadian standards.
  • Recent language tests;
  • Proof of funds showing sufficient settlement funds
    • To know how much money you need to get permanent residency, look at this step-by-step breakdown.
  • Police certificates;
  • Results of a medical exam from certified health professionals;
  • Job letters from past employers legitimize your work experience.
  • Canadian job offer (If you have one)
  • Provincial Nomination (If you have one)

Note that applicants must remain honest in the information they provide. Failure to do so will result in the application being delayed and rejected.


What are the Best Ways to Validate Your Documents for Canadian Immigration Applications?

You should send them to an RCIC to check if the documents you have are suitable for the immigration program you’re applying for.

Step 4: Create Your Express Entry Profile

Once you have all your documentation and are satisfied with your CRS score, create your Express Entry profile on the Canadian government website.

Step 5: Get an ITA, Pay Your Fees, and Apply

Once your Express Entry profile is complete, you must monitor every Express Entry draw to see the minimum requirement and whether you’ll be eligible to get your ITA. You’ll be notified on your profile if you receive an ITA.

Once you’ve received your ITA, you’ll have 60 days to pay your processing fees and submit corroborating documentation.

The processing fees are as follows:

Fee CA$
Application Processing Fee 850
Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) 515
Include a dependent child (per child) 230

Keep in Mind

Each adult has to pay their fees: you need to pay processing fees for yourself and your partner if you bring a partner.

Also, how long your application takes will vary wildly depending on your chosen program, eligibility, and country of origin. Learn more about Canadian immigration processing times here.


What is a Provincial Nominee Program?

A Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is both an immigration program in its own right and a means of potentially adding up to 600 points to your CRS score. This will essentially guarantee you receive your ITA at the next draw.

In Canada, different provinces require foreign workers with different skill sets as Canada’s workforce in certain areas can’t provide for some of the gaps in the labor market. As a result, 11 out of Canada’s 13 provinces offer PNPs. Each nomination program has different requirements. For example, some provinces require you to live in the province to apply. It is best to check each province’s requirements online before deciding which PNP To apply for. Getting a nomination largely depends on your occupation and whether or not it’s in demand in that province. Consult the map below to see where your skills are needed most.

To apply for a provincial nomination, you need to submit an expression of interest for the province you want to live in when you create your Express Entry profile or use it directly to that province.

To see how to get your PNP, here’s a full explanation and step-by-step guide on how to apply.

What are the Pros and Cons of the Express Entry System?


  • It’s the fastest way to gain Permanent residency in Canada
  • It’s relatively inexpensive compared to other immigration programs
  • Bringing your family with you is not only possible but recommended
  • The process is entirely online and can be done anywhere in the world
  • You don’t necessarily need a Canadian job to apply


  • Applicants need a certain level of education to apply
  • Applicants need a specific amount of work experience to apply
  • Applicants need to be of a certain wage bracket to apply
  • Regardless of the CRS score, certain occupations are prioritized over others in the Express Entry draw.

Is Express Entry Canada Open?

Yes, the Canadian Federal Government did restrict it at the beginning of the pandemic due to the excessive backlog of applicants that needed to be cleared. However, Express entry draws were reopened on July 6, 2022, occurring approximately every two weeks since. To keep an eye on the latest attractions, have a look at this page.


All Aboard The Canadian Express!

Now you have everything you need to start your journey to getting permanent residency in Canada. If you’re eligible, getting on board with the Express Entry program can be a fast and relatively painless process. The most important thing is to ensure you’re well-prepared to move to Canada before you apply. To help ensure your eligibility, validate your documentation, improve your CRS score, and benefit through every step of your Canada Express Entry application process, you should talk to an RCIC. Using an RCIC can help simplify obtaining permanent residency in Canada through Express Entry by providing expert guidance and support throughout the process.

Express Entry System FAQ

Your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is based on the following factors:
  • Provincial Nomination;
  • Offer of employment;
  • Core capital factors;
  • Your common-law partner or spouse;
  • Skill transferability;
  • Previous Canadian study experience;
  • Siblings in Canada; and
  • French and English Ability
Provincial Nomination (600 Points) 600 points are awarded for an enhanced Nominee certificate from a province in Canada through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Job Offers (50-600 Points) A Canadian job offer will also earn you points; the number of points is based on the NOC level of the particular job. Core Human Capital Factors (600 Points) These take into account your level of education, for example:
  • Certificate;
  • Diploma; or
  • Degree
If you intend to gain higher qualifications, your score will increase. This same point system applies to your legal partner or spouse if you applied together. Language (150 Points) Improving your language skills in either English or French through a recognized Canadian institution can also raise your CRS score. Work Experience The more experience you have, the more points you earn. This also applies to your legal partner or spouse.

You must:

  • Meet all the requirements of the:
    • Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC);
    • Federal Skilled Trades Class; or
    • Canadian Experience Class

You must register with the Canadian Job Bank within 30 days unless:

  • You have arranged employment from a Canadian employer; or
  • You have received a nomination through the Provincial Nominee Program

You must have a Labour Market Impact Assessment in order to earn Comprehensive Ranking System points, unless you:

  • Have worked full time for an employer with a work permit for a least one year (or a part-time job for an equal amount of time);
  • Have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer that is for at least one year in duration; or
  • Have a valid employer specific temporary work permit exempt under code R204 (a), (c) or R205

If you qualify for any of the Federal Programs, you have 30 days from when you submit your profile to complete the rest of the requirements like registering with the Job Bank. If you do not, your Express Entry profile cannot be activated.

There are three programs to apply for under Express Entry:

  • Skilled Federal Worker Program (SFWP);
  • Skilled Federal Trades Program (SFTP); or
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The following factors affect your eligibility:

Work Experience

You must:

  • Have gained relevant work experience for a job listed in the National Occupation Classification (NOC). Note: Work experience gained in another occupation you have not applied for does not apply;
  • Have gained work experience in the past 10 years;
  • Have received payment for your work;
  • Have a job at skill level 0, A or B;
  • Have a year’s worth of work experience (minimum 1,560 hours); and
  • Prove that your work experience fits the requirements of the NOC

Language Ability

You must:

  • Meet the minimum language level set by the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB);
  • Take a language proficiency test That is approved by IRCC;
  • You must meet the language requirements for either French or English; and
  • Your language test results must not be more than two years old when you apply


You must:

  • Have completed canadian secondary education; and a tertiary certificate, diploma or degree;
  • Have completed foreign credentials; or
  • Have an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) approved by IRCC

Proof of Funds

You must prove you can support yourself and your family financially, unless:

  • You are working in Canada; or
  • You have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer

Additional Factors to Be Considered

  • Age;
  • Valid job offers; and
  • Adaptability

Read more about the Skilled Federal Worker Program

This program is aimed at people who wish to become permanent residents (PR) of Canada. This only applies to people who qualify in a skilled trade.

Minimum Requirements

You must:

  • Plan to live outside of Quebec (The province has its own Quebec Skilled Worker Program);
  • Meet the language requirements for English and French;
  • Have two years’ work experience in a skilled trade (or equal amount of experience in a part time position;
  • Have work experience within the past 5 years;
  • Meet the job requirements in the National Occupational Classifications;
  • Have a full-time job offer from a Canadian employer for a minimum of one year; or
  • A certificate of qualification for that skilled trade that is confirmed from the Canadian provincial or territorial government authority

Skilled Work Experience

These skilled trades are involved in the Federal Skilled Trades Program as ranked by the National Occupational Classification.

Group Number Job Description
72 Industrial, construction or electrical trades
73 Equipment operation and maintenance
82 Technical and supervisors in:
  • Agriculture
  • Natural resources
  • Production
92 Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisor
Central control operators
632 Cooks and chefs
633 Bakers and butchers


You do not need a specific qualification for this program, but you can earn more CRS points if you have:

  • Foreign qualifications;
  • An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) approved by IRCC;or
  • A Canadian certificate, diploma or degree

Language Ability

  • Pass the Canadian Language Benchmark test at minimum language level;
  • The language test must be approved by IRCC; and
  • Your test results must not be older than two years when you apply.

Be assessed by the province or territory

Each of the provinces or territories have different requirements for the skilled trade industry.