Posted on - Mar 26, 2015

By Catherine Sas, Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

Canada’s new immigrant selection system for economic immigrants, Express Entry came into effect on January 1, 2015 and has dramatically changed our immigration program. What used to be an immigrant driven self selection model is now a government driven selection model. The government will only choose the very best applicants and offer them an “invitation to apply” – an ITA. Without an ITA, a prospective immigrant can not apply for permanent residence to Canada. The basis upon which Citizenship and Immigration Canada ( CIC) selects which applicants to provide with an ITA, is the information contained in a profile that a potential applicant submits to the government. The higher the score an applicant receives on the ranking of their profile, the more likely they will receive an ITA. Obviously, the temptation to enhance one’s profile is very real. Resist that temptation! Inaccurate information that is provided in your profile could result in a finding of misrepresentation and a five year bar to ANY application to Canada – permanent or temporary!

We recently reviewed the new Express Entry program in detail in our article of Feb. 11, 2015, entitled “Express Entry is not Easy Entry”. EE covers four of Canada’s economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTW) and some portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). It is highly recommended that BEFORE you start the application process, you determine that you meet the selection criteria for one of these programs. The next and pivotal step is to register your profile with CIC (or have your immigration representative register it for you!). Based upon the information that you provide in your profile, you will be ranked on CIC’s “Comprehensive Ranking System” (CRS) and given a score. Your CRS score is based upon such things as your education, work experience, language proficiency, work or educational history in Canada, the work and educational history or language proficiency of your spouse or whether you or your spouse have close relatives in Canada. You need a high enough CRS score in order for CIC to give you an ITA. This is NOT determined by you – it is determined by CIC based upon the information that you provide in your profile.

The profile you submit to CIC is crucial to this process as it is your profile which determines whether CIC gives you an ITA. Obviously the higher your CRS score; the more likely you are to receive an ITA. The temptation to embellish or enhance your profile is significant. Don’t succumb to this temptation! The penalty for a finding of misrepresentation has recently increased to a five year ban on any future application to Canada. You will not be able to make any application to come to Canada for a period of five years from the time of the misrepresentation determination. You need to treat your profile very carefully and only provide accurate information that can be verified with supporting documentation. What does this mean? Well – your education can be confirmed by your diplomas or degrees. Your work experience can be confirmed by letters of reference from previous employers. Your language proficiency is assessed based upon scores of a CIC recognized language testing service. Be precise in providing the information in your profile.

In the early days of the New Year, many were sceptical about the scores that would be necessary to earn an ITA. Many felt that good applicants, including students or persons already working in Canada, would be shut out of the process. Let’s look at the Express Entry history in making offers to potential immigrant applicants. Canada’s Minister of Immigration makes periodic announcements on the ITA’s issued under Express Entry called Ministerial Instructions. So far there have been five sets of Ministerial Instructions issued regarding the Express Entry program:

  1. January 31, 2015 – 779 applicants with CRS scores of 886 or higher;
  2. February 7, 2015 – 779 applicants with CRS scores of 818 or higher;
  3. February 20, 2015 – 849 applicants with CRS scores of 808 or higher;
  4. February 27, 2015 – 1187 applicants with CRS scores of 735 or higher
  5. March 20, 2015 – 1620 applicants with CRS scores of 481 or higher.

These figures are very telling of the ongoing trend in the EE process. There is a progressive increase in the number of invitations provided to applicants and there is a progressive decrease in the necessary CRS scores to receive an ITA. This supports having patience with the process as well as no need to enhance or embellish the information that you provide in your profile. It is also important to understand that your profile can be updated. As you obtain more work experience, improve your language ability or have a close relative who becomes a permanent resident, you can update your profile and increase your CRS score. As your CRS score increases so do your chances of receiving an ITA and being eligible to apply for permanent residence under one of the Express Entry streams.

Registering your profile with Canada Immigration is now the mandatory first step on your journey to permanent residence to Canada. The information in your profile is what Canada Immigration uses to rank you against other applicants. It is crucial that you provide accurate information as the consequences for embellishing your personal information is a five year ban on any type of application to Canada! Profiles can be updated as your circumstances change and improve. Also the number of ITA’s being issued are increasing and the CRS scores required to obtain the invitation are decreasing which bodes well for having patience with the selection system. Without question, registering your profile is the most important step in the entire application process. Be sure to err on the side of caution and provide accurate and verifiable information to avoid the pitfalls of a misrepresentation finding against you and a five year ban on future applications to Canada!

Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 6 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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