Posted on - Jul 06, 2017

By Faisal Al-Alamy

Faisal Al-Alamy

Patience. In today’s digitally dependent society, patience seems like a lost art. We are easily frustrated when a website takes longer than a minute to load, or when someone fails to return a text message in a split second. But for those individuals hoping to immigrate to Canada, patience is a necessity, especially when faced with the routine, lengthy delays that accompany Canada’s permanent residency application process. Fortunately, the Ministry of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced programs in the last five years that aim to reduce these delays. One such program is Express Entry, the government’s fast-track process to permanent residency to Canada.

Express Entry was introduced on January 1, 2015, with the intention of accelerating the permanent residency application process for economic immigrants. Under Express Entry, applicants can obtain permanent residency in a matter of months, as opposed to years under the previous system. The Express Entry system contains four distinct immigration streams: (1) Federal Skilled Worker; (2) Federal Skilled Trades; (3) Canadian Experience Class; and (4) the Provincial Nominee Program. An applicant must satisfy the criteria for one of these programs in order to be eligible to apply under Express Entry.

There are two steps to the Express Entry application process. First, applicants fill out and complete an online profile. Submitting the profile requires applicants to describe their age, education, work experience and language proficiency. Those who meet the criteria of one of the four economic immigration streams will be accepted into a pool of candidates. Those accepted into the Express Entry pool are then ranked based upon their profile information, via a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). CRS points are awarded for factors such as age, education, language proficiency in English and French and for foreign and Canadian work experience. Those candidates with the highest CRS scores in the pool are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Candidates who receive an ITA have 90 days to submit an online application for permanent residency.

Of course, even the Express Entry program requires a degree of patience. Although the IRCC finalizes the majority of completed applications within six months, delays can still occur. Candidates are able to remain in the Express Entry pool for up to 12 months while awaiting an ITA. Candidates who do not receive an ITA within 12 months of submitting a profile may submit a new profile and re-enter the pool as long as they still meet the program criteria. In cases of similar or identical CRS scores, earlier applications are given priority over later ones, making it important to keep your Express Entry status current at all times.

Canada’s Express Entry program is still relatively new so ongoing changes are to be expected. Formal guidance from an immigration professional experienced in the ins and outs of Canada’s immigration process may go a long way in navigating the waters of the Express Entry program.

Pro Tip: the Express Entry process is relatively fast and so it is essential to have all the proper documentation at hand before submitting your online profile for an ITA. Failing to do so may result in processing delays or your application being rejected.

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