Express Entry: For Candidates [Explained in 6 easy steps]

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Express Entry is a selection system used by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to select candidates (skilled workers and professionals) for economic immigration to Canada. It involves the federal government, the provincial governments and Canadian employers.


Note: If you are a Canadian employer looking to hire Express Entry candidates, click here.


Express Entry came into effect on 1 January 2015, with a goal to make immigration to Canada faster and simpler. Three economic Canadian immigration programs, and a section/portion of Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs) are managed through this selection system.


They are:

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC; formerly the Federal Skilled Worker Program)
  2. Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC; formerly the Federal Skilled Trades Program)
  3. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  4. A portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)


Complete Express Entry Process Explained in 6 Easy Steps


Step 1: Determining your Eligibility


Only candidates who are eligible for Express Entry can enter the Express Entry pool, from where they are selected for Canadian immigration through periodic draws. Because of this, the very first step towards your Canadian immigration goal is determining your eligibility. There are over 68 different pathways available for immigration to Canada. At Owlspriority Immigration, our FREE online assessment will tell you if you are eligible for Express Entry. In case if you are not eligible, our team of dedicated Canadian immigration experts will guide you on the best immigration program available for you and your family.


Step 2: Completion of Language test(s), ECA, and other documentation


Once you are eligible, the next step is to work towards the essential requirements for you to enter the Express Entry pool of eligible candidates. This is a crucial step because only candidates with high-ranking Express Entry profiles will get selected for immigration to Canada. Language test report(s), ECA (Educational Credential Assessment) from an IRCC designated organization, and other mandatory documents need to be made available at this stage. At Owlspriority Immigration, our team of dedicated Canadian immigration experts will guide you step-by-step on every aspect so that you will not miss out on any area where you are eligible to claim points.


Language Training: Only 3 language tests are recognised by IRCC (Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada) for immigration to Canada. They are International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), and Test d'Evaluation de Français (TEF). Whilst IELTS and CELPIP are the only language tests to substantiate English language proficiency, TEF is the only language test recognised by IRCC for a candidate to substantiate his or her French language proficiency.


Owlspriority Immigration, through its partnership efforts with the British Council and IDP Education, has created a unique training program designed specifically for Canadian immigration purposes. Our IELTS training program is CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) targetedTo know more about our IELTS services, click here.


ECA (Educational Credential Assessment) Guidance: Educational Credential Assessment is a mandatory requirement for Canadian immigration if you completed your graduation/diploma/certification from a college/university/institution outside Canada.


At Owlspriority Immigration, our team of dedicated Canadian immigration experts will guide you on your ECA process end-to-end, no matter which college/university/institution you passed your exams from. Below is the complete list of organisations designated by IRCC (Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada) to perform Educational Credential Assessments:


  • World Education Services (WES)
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS)
  • Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
  • International Credential Evaluation Service
  • Medical council of Canada
  • Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada


To know how we can help you on your ECA procedures, contact us.


Step 3: The Express Entry Pool


Once you have your language test result(s), your ECA report (only for non-Canadian education), and all the other essential documentation, we are ready to place you in Express Entry pool. It is from the Express Entry pool that the government of Canada selects candidates through selection draws that happens usually once in every 2 weeks. However, it is not necessary that the draws should happen once every 2 weeks. The timing of the draws, as well the cut-off CRS scores in each draw are at IRCC’s (Immigration Refugees and Citizenship) sole discretion. To know about Express Entry selection/draw logic, click here.


Every candidate in the Express Entry pool will have a CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) score. The selection of candidates from the pool is purely based on the candidates’ CRS score. In other words, in every draw, candidates whose CRS scores are equal to or greater than the announced score will receive the Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency. The CRS score of each candidate will depend on two factors:

  • Your credentials: These would be your education qualification(s), language test score(s), total years of work experience, etc.
  • Your circumstances: These would be your age, marital status, medical condition, number of children (dependents), etc.


To know more about the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), click here.


As of 6 June 2017, it is no more mandatory for a candidate to register in the Canadian Job Bank to be an eligible candidate in the Express Entry pool. However, apart from Owlspriority Immigration’s Jobs & Career services offered through our network of private as well as government-funded companies and organizations, the Job Bank increases the candidate’s visibility to various Canadian employers. To learn more about the Canadian Job Bank, click here.


Step 4: Improving your CRS score (if applicable)


Once you are in the Express Entry pool, you are starting to await an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from the government. Only candidates selected through the draws will receive the Invitation, and only the invited candidates will be able to apply for permanent residency. Whilst certain candidates will have highly potential CRS scores capable enough to secure an ITA, some candidates may not. And for them, improving their Express Entry profile is of high importance. "Improving your Express Entry Profile = Increasing your CRS score"


There are various ways to improve your CRS score in the Express Entry pool. Quite often, we find that many potential candidates are unaware of the easiest and fastest ways by which they may increase their CRS scores. If you are unsure how you may increase your CRS score in the Express Entry pool, contact us. We will be happy to assist you with your Canadian immigration goals.


Step 5: Receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA)


The Federal and Provincial governments, as well as Canadian employers can select candidates from the Express Entry pool. Every 2 weeks (it need not necessarily be bi-weekly), IRCC conducts draws to select candidates from the Express Entry poolAll the candidates with a CRS score equal to or above the draw score will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian Permanent Residency. From this point onwards, the candidates will have exactly 90 days’ time to file their application for permanent residency. IRCC strives to finish the processing of Express Entry applications within 6 months or less, from the date of submission of the application. Sometimes, not all the candidates with the lowest announced CRS score will receive the ITA. This specific situation is called a “Lock Score” situationTo learn more about the lock score situation, click here.


At Owlspriority Immigration, our team of Canadian immigration experts make sure that each application is complete and accurate. Further, our legal representation of your application adds value to its authenticity. If you have already received an ITA and would like us to provide legal representation for your Permanent Residency application, contact us.


Step 6: Filing your Application for Permanent Residency (APR)


Every candidate who receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) has 90 days’ time to file his or her application for permanent residency to IRCC. No extensions will be granted with respect to the deadline. At this stage, it is very crucial that the application is submitted in the-most accurate way IRCC has stipulated under its regulations. Incomplete applications may be rejected, and applications where claims and documentation doesn’t match will get rejected under the clause, ‘Misrepresentation’. Misrepresentations, once substantiated, will lead to the applicant getting banned from making another application for a period of 5 years.


Authorized representation for your immigration application not only mitigates chances of human errors, but also adds value to your immigration goals. At Owlspriority Immigration, our team of Canadian immigration experts make sure that each application is complete and accurate.

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