5 Things to Know about Canada’s Express Entry Program

Canadian Express Entry - Airplanes connected to the bridge at Toronto Pearson international airport

The Canadian Express Entry Program was first launched in 2015. To this day, its status remains incredibly popular globally for people who are looking for an efficient way to become a permanent resident of Canada.

Since you are here, it’s safe to assume that you might be interested in how the program works, what the benefits  and potential flaws of it are, and what is the best way to apply.

This guide introduces 5 things to know about Canadian Express Entry Program, carefully curated so that they cover all the essential information.

1 – The Basics

The Express Entry is actually the name of an immigration system that ranks all eligible candidates hierarchically, in an organized manner. It is employed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Its core is accepting immigrants as skilled workers through three main federal economic programs (they will be explained a bit later).

The candidates who rank the highest are welcome to apply for the permanent resident status of Canada.

2 – Determine Eligibility

The three aforementioned federal economic programs are:

  • FSCW (Federal Skilled Worker Class)
  • CEC (Canadian Experience Class)
  • FSCT (Federal Skilled Trades Class)

Candidates who are eligible under one of these three programs can make it to the Express Entry pool.

Federal Skilled Worker Class

This program is aimed at skilled workers who want to move to Canada permanently.

It doesn’t require a Canadian job offer or working experience, but there are some obligatory minimum requirements:

  • 1 year of working experience
  • Education that equals a High-school diploma in Canada
  • Desired language ability – Canadian Language Benchmark 7
  • Minimum of 67 FSW points:


Language (English or French)28
Work experience15
Employment in Canada10

Canadian Experience Class

This immigration program differs in that it requires a Canadian working experience.

The minimum eligibility requirements for this program are:

  • 12 months of skilled working experience in an occupation at National Occupational Classification level 0 (managerial), A (professional) or B (technical occupations and skilled trade) in Canada in the last three years
  • Language proficiency – Canadian Language Benchmark 7 or 5

Federal Skilled Trades Class

The final immigration program is for experienced tradespeople who want to immigrate to Canada.

Candidates who want to apply under these accounts must meet the following requirements:

  • Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for speaking & listening, Canadian Language Benchmark 4 for reading & writing
  • Two years of working experience in a skilled trade in the last five years
  • An offer of employment in Canada in the skilled trade in question (alternatively, a certificate of qualification in the trade awarded from a Canadian authority)

3 – Calculating the CRS Score

If all the requirements for one of the three programs described above have been met, the candidate enters the Express Entry pool.

This is where competition plays a huge role. 

Each candidate is given a CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) score, based on the following factors:

Age, level of education, language, work experienceA Canadian degree or diploma; strong French language skills
The same as above for the spouse/partnerA job offer in Canada (or a nomination from a province/territory)
How “transferable” are the skills to Canadian conditions (education, foreign work experience, certificate of qualification)Sister or brother who is a permanent resident of Canada

The sum of these two (CP + AP) is one’s total CRS score, and the highest CRS score an individual can achieve is 1200.

All the candidates who have been labeled eligible and made it to the pool are then graded against each other (regardless of the program under which they applied).

The candidates with the highest scores are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence status. Hence, the threshold isn’t pre-determined and depends on the candidates at the given moment.

4 – How to Lift Your Chances?

Now that it is established how important it is to have a high CRS score, the question that naturally poses is: How to improve it?

The easiest way is to maximize language test scores, as the language ability is the most valued factor under the core points.

For English, the tests that are valid are IELTS or CELPIP, and for French, TEF. All four skills are graded (listening, speaking, reading, writing).

Another way to improve your CRS score is to gain additional work experience, which will boost up the score under the “skills transferability” section.

Alternatively, you can look for a job offer in Canada. This may seem difficult, but diligence is the key to success. 

5 – The Duration

The “Express” part of the name is there for a good reason. The whole process takes just a couple of months:

  • Getting the Express Entry profile. When the documentation is sent to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, it usually takes around a few months to process it and calculate the CRS score.
  • Receiving an ITA. When your profile is submitted, it is taken into account for the next 12 months, and if the CRS is high, you may receive the ITA (Invitation to Apply) soon. If you do, in the next 60 days, you are required to submit the final application.
  • Processing the application. The most successful applicants who have made it to this stage are then further processed, which takes less than six months on average.

Do you remember all 5 things?

These 5 things to know about Canadian Express Entry program should offer an insight into how the program functions. 

It is one of the most efficient ways to immigrate for people who are determined to work on their skills, and ready to apply their knowledge in Canada.

In case you are a future participant, fingers crossed!

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