The Canadian government recognizes that not all the workers it needs can be sourced from existing Canadian citizens. A certain amount of the talent needed in Canada comes from other countries. In fact, some of that skilled labour has already gained work experience in Canada and may be eligible for Canadian Express Entry also known as CIC Express Entry (Citizen and Immigration Canada).
The Express Entry program has some specific criteria to meet. Not everyone who has worked in Canada, or who wants to work in the country will be eligible to apply.
Eligibility for Express Entry
The Express Entry system offers three programs to individuals wanting to apply for the federal Express Entry: Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class. Each has its own requirements to meet program standards. Find out more about the eligibility for express entry through the immigration section of the Government of Canada website.
Each of the programs will depend heavily upon the type of work the applicant does (or has done) and the type of work they will do in Canada. For example, with the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the job noted as your primary National Occupation Classification (NOC) must be the same as the type of job the applicant has done for the equivalent of at least one full-time year in the last 10 years.
Similarly, in the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the applicant must have the equivalent of at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade and be able to meet the job requirements set out in the NOC for the trade in Canada.
Language skills are key
Certainly the Express Entry system can seem complex, but by visiting the Government of Canada Immigration page about the Express Entry Program, it will become easier. The first step is to determine which of the three categories (Federal Skilled Worker Program Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class) applies best to your experiences. If one of the Express Entry programs is a match, you will need to complete a language test. Both the CELPIP General exam (which has a number of preparations courses available to help) and the IELTS General Training exams are accepted for the Express Entry program. No other tests will meet Canada Immigration standards through the Express Entry System.
Express Entry is based on the CIC Points Calculator
Being eligible for Express Entry involves a variety of aspects of your life which will contribute to the CIC points used to assess and score your immigration profile. One of those contributing factors is your ranking on the language test. Other aspects include skills, education, work experience and other factors.
You can use the CIC points calculator at any time to see what your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score is. The results from your CELPIP General exam or IELTS General Training exam must be less than two years old at the time you apply for permanent residence. If you’ve already taken the exam, but results will expire before you can apply, it is recommended to take the test again. Input the scores you received from the exam into the calculator to help determine your score.
Once the calculator is complete, you will receive a score out of 1,200 possible points. This is not a “pass” or “fail” situation. You want to achieve the most points possible to improve your chances of coming to Canada on the Express Entry program.
If you are eligible for Express Entry, you will be added to a pool of immigration candidates. Those who score the highest on the CRS will be the first asked to apply for permanent entry status if they meet the eligibility criteria of that round of invitations.
No matter whether you are applying for Express Entry through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Canadian Experience Class, achieving the highest possible score on all aspects of your profile is essential to being selected.
Improve the areas you can control
While some areas on the CRS are outside your control, there is one where you can make a great deal of improvement. That is with the language skills component. Certain baseline levels of language skills must be met in order to reach the minimum requirements for Express Entry.
These levels are noted on the Canada Immigration website and depending upon the program being applied for will have varying minimums for each of: English speaking and listening and English reading and writing. For those doing the English language test, there are extra points awarded for skills in French language. The test can also be done for French speaking and listening and French reading and writing and extra points are available for strong English skills for those who take the French language test.
There is no need to do all of this alone. Immigration can be a very complex process and has a number of demands of people who wish to come to Canada. You can achieve help on the language test portion of your requirements through one of the many institutions who offer training and practice to help improve these skills and achieve the highest scores possible. <insert link to Ashton>
The Government of Canada also offers CIC Customer Care to help potential new residents with the process. Here a number of tools are available to answer questions online as well as contact information to reach customer care by telephone.
If you prefer to have help with your application in person, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Offices are located throughout the world in Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates. This can include help with Express Entry applications. Within Canada, applications are not taken in person, but can be mailed to one of the five application processing locations.
For more information, the Immigration tab at the Government of Canada website is the best source of detailed information.