Posted on - Nov 24, 2016

By Victor Ing

Victor Ing

The Minister of Immigration recently announced changes to the Express Entry system that will help certain skilled immigrants, especially those that have completed post-secondary studies in Canada, obtain Canadian permanent residence. Starting November 19, 2016, additional points will be granted to candidates who are former international students and who have job offers that are not supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

In early 2016, the Minister of Immigration spoke about his plans to overhaul the Express Entry system. He felt that too many points were being given to workers with LMIA-based job offers to the disadvantage of other highly skilled workers. Under the previous system, workers with LMIA-based job offers received 600 points towards obtaining permanent residence – enough points to secure an invitation to apply no matter the person’s age, language ability or other qualifications. The granting of 600 points for these job offers inflated the minimum scores needed to receive an invitation to apply, and many otherwise qualified candidates were not given opportunities to apply for permanent residence.

Here are the key changes to scoring that you should know about:

  1. LMIA-based job offers no longer grant 600 points.
  2. Job offers are now worth 50 points or as much as 200 points if working in a senior managerial capacity under the ’00’ major group contained in the National Occupational Classification. Workers with certain LMIA-exempt work permits, such as intra-company transferees and NAFTA professionals, can now receive 50 or 200 points for having a Canadian job offer if they have already worked for the employer for at least one year.
  3. Former international students who completed a post-secondary educational credential will now receive additional points in their Express Entry profile: 15 points for a 1-2 year credential and 30 points for a 3+ years credential, or for completing a Master’s or doctoral level credential.
  4. Due to these changes, obtaining a nomination from a provincial or territorial nominee program becomes the only remaining way to score 600 additional points towards your Express Entry profile.

The LMIA-based work permits now grant a maximum of 200 points – as a Vancouver immigration lawyer I expect to see in the coming months that the overall points necessary to receive an invitation to apply will fall. Furthermore, some workers may find that they no longer score enough points to receive an invitation to apply without 600 points. This may lead to an increased demand from certain workers to apply under provincial or territorial nominee programs for the full 600 points, and perhaps a slight decrease in demand from international students who may now score enough points on their own to qualify for permanent residence.

These new changes should encourage candidates to revisit their profiles if they previously fell just below the threshold to receive an invitation, and candidates who had been discouraged from creating a profile should consider how these new changes will affect their scoring.

Former international students and other candidates may now find that they will score enough points to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. With increased immigration levels for skilled workers already planned for next year, 2017 may be a very good year for many permanent resident hopefuls.

Victor Ing is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada, and provides a full range of immigration services.

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

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