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Express Entry Canada Requirements and Processing Times For 2021

Contrary to the understanding of many prospective immigrants to Canada, the Express Entry system is itself not a visa or a permit; rather, it is the online system through which skilled workers can gain the permission they need to work in Canada and gain permanent residence. The Express Entry system allows foreign workers to apply under one of three federal worker programs, as outlined below. In this article, we will explain how the Canadian Express Entry system works, the federal economic immigration programs available through Express Entry, the eligibility requirements, and the processing times for 2021.

How does the Express Entry system work?

The Express Entry system handles applications for three different federal immigration programs. Eligible applicants first have to create an online profile by answering a series of questions. If eligible, applicants are held in a pool of suitable candidates, with the highest scoring individuals later being invited to apply for permanent residence. As such, this is rather like the Expression of Interest (EOI) model and points-based system used in Australia.

What are the Express Entry federal programs and requirements?

There are three Express Entry federal worker programs available in Canada, as follows:

· Federal Skilled Worker Program

This program is intended for skilled workers with foreign skilled work experience. Applicants must score at least 67 points when completing their Express Entry profile in order to be considered. Points are awarded for factors such as age, education, work experience, whether they have a valid job offer, English and/or French language skills, and adaptability (how well they are likely to settle)

· Federal Skilled Trades Program

The federal skilled trades program is for foreign nationals with experience and the necessary qualifications in a skilled trade who wish to secure permanent residency in Canada. Suitable applicants under this program must meet the required language levels, have at least two years of relevant paid full-time work experience in the last five years, meet the job requirements for the skilled trade, and have a job offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year.

· Canadian Experience Class Program

The Canadian Experience Class program is for foreign skilled workers with work experience gained in Canada who wish to secure permanent residence. Suitable candidates for this program must meet the language requirements, have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada in the last three years before applying, and have gained work experience by working in Canada while under temporary resident status with authorization to work.

How do I apply using Express Entry in Canada?

There are three main stages to the Express Entry application system, as follows:

  1. Create your online profile and answer a series of questions. The answers you provide will help the IRCC to determine your eligibility and provide you with an overall score. If you are deemed eligible, you will be added to the pool of candidates.
  2. Wait to be invited to apply by the IRCC. Those with the highest number of points tend to be invited first.
  3. Apply for permanent residence. If invited to apply, you will have 60 days to complete and submit your application. To apply, you will need to log in to your IRCC online account and click the link to apply for permanent residence under Express Entry. It should be noted that IRCC has recently reduced the window of time to apply from 90 days; the IRCC website states, “If you receive an invitation to apply on or after June 29, 2021, you must submit your application for permanent residence within 60 days”.

You will need to scan and upload several documents to support your application (IRCC will advise you which documents to upload); these typically include:

  • your passport or travel document
  • language test results
  • proof of Canadian education or an educational credential assessment report
  • a written job offers from an employer in Canada (if you have one)
  • proof of work experience
  • certificate of qualification in a trade occupation issued by a Canadian province or territory (if you have one)
  • proof of funds

You will also need to pay the required application fee.

Once you have applied, IRCC will check that you have filled your application for permanent residence correctly, paid your processing fee, met all the requirements, and uploaded all the documents required. You will then be contacted through your IRCC online account regarding:

  • providing your biometrics
  • updates on the status of your application
  • requests for more documents, if necessary
  • setting up an interview, if necessary
  • what will happen next

What is the processing time for Canadian Express Entry applications?

Applicants who have been invited to apply can expect to receive a decision within six months. The IRCC website states, “We’ll process most complete applications that have all the supporting documents in 6 months or less”. This emphasizes the importance of submitting all of the required information and documents as early as possible. Any delays in doing so will add to the processing time for your case.

How much does it cost to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry?

The application fee for permanent residence (As of August 2021) for the main applicant is CAN$1,325. The fee for a spousal application is also CAN$1,325, and for a dependant child is CAN$225.

Final words

The application process for skilled workers using the Canadian Express Entry system is efficient and straightforward. It is always recommended that you take your time when applying (as long as you submit your application within the 60-day window) to ensure that all of the information and documents requested are complete. If you would like any assistance with your application, whether to handle the whole process on behalf of you and your family or to check an application you have already prepared, speak to immigration lawyers as early in the process as possible.

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