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How to apply for Canada’s express entry program

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Looking to immigrate to Canada? If you’re a skilled worker, the Express Entry system might be the best way to secure a Canadian PR. The system works on the basis of a ‘score’ that is calculated according to several predefined variables. 

It is recommended to discuss your application with an experienced Canadian Immigration Lawyer to ensure that you get a positive outcome. The system then filters candidates with the highest CRS score till a certain score cutoff and invites them to become permanent residents in Canada.  There are three types of immigration programs within Express Entry:

  1.  Federal Skill Trades Program: Must meet minimum criteria and have a qualification certificate or valid job offer.
  2. Canadian Experience Class: The primary criteria of this category is to have Canadian Work Experience (within the past 3 years).
  3. Federal Skilled Worker Program: This program is the most popular out of the three where skilled workers with work experience can apply for a skilled worker visa if they meet other requirements.

How to Start Your Application

Eligible candidates are required to set up a profile in the online portal, where they would have to add details about their skillset, work experience, education, proof of funds, language proficiency, age and more. 

Canada Immigration Consultant Guide

These details are then evaluated and candidates are ranked according to preselected criteria. Candidates are then sorted on the basis of the highest chances for economic success. Individuals with valid offers for employment or nominations by provinces are automatically ranked higher.

By sorting out these candidates on the basis of their ‘potential success’ within Canada, the Canadian government is able to ensure that they bring in top tier talent to fulfill local needs. If a candidate does not have a valid job offer, they can sign up for the Job Bank set up by Canada to connect with qualified employers.

Qualified employers will have to submit an impact assessment for PR applications. It is important to remember that simply filling out an express entry profile does not guarantee permanent residence. There are thousands of applicants and the process can be extremely competitive.

Obtaining Invitations

Once successful applicants are invited, the process of permanent residency will take a maximum of 6 months. Applicants with high scores based on their prior skills, experience and other factors will receive an “ITA” (Invitation to Apply). The deadline for electronic application submission is 60 days. 

Applicants who did not receive an invitation to apply may reapply for permanent residency after a year, if they still fit the eligibility criteria. This is set to avoid long processing times and reduced backlogs. According to the Canadian Immigration Council, this process would help immigrants settle faster within Canada and also gives the government a chance to respond quickly to changing skill requirements, thus increasing flexibility.

It does not matter if you’re applying through Express Entry or PNP, there will be a minimum CRS score that you would have to meet. Those with higher scores will receive an invitation and will have to submit supporting documentation to apply to become a permanent resident.

If you are applying with your spouse and/or child, you would have to meet certain requirements such as proof of funds, educational background and more. Your educational documents would have to be verified by a third party such as World Education Services (WES). The third party will verify if your educational background meets the criteria set by Canada.

Obtaining an AOR

An Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) is provided to applicants after their PR application has been reviewed. This serves as a file creation confirmation, and applicants are provided a date on when your application will be processed.

Understanding Express Entry Processing Times

Many individuals are complaining about long processing times due to COVID, which is why it is important for individuals to understand the process. Each ‘draw’ has a CRS score cutoff, after which candidates with low scores are not invited. If candidates do not respond within 60 days to ITA’s their slot is forfeited. It is recommended to have all the documents ready beforehand to respond as soon as you get the invitation. You also have a chance to deny the ITA, but to be eligible again, your application will have to be submitted from scratch. 

Financial Documentation

When submitting your proof of funds, the documentation must be attested from your financial institution. This financial institution must be where your funds are kept. The document must be printed on an official letterhead that contains the telephone number, address, email address and other important information for the financial institution. Your name must also match the documents exactly, and the document should list out all pending debts and loans, for e.g. credit card debts, car payments etc. It is also important to ensure that the bank statement is recent and provides information for at least 6 months.

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