Are You Ready for The New Changes Coming to Express Entry?


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Nancy Elliott

Barrister and Solicitor at Canadian Immigration Alliance
Nancy Myles Elliott is a business person and lawyer, focusing on solutions for individuals and companies seeking to invest or relocate in Canada. Ms. Elliott leads her own law firm, focusing on immigration and citizenship law, as well as advising on corporate legal matters relevant to new immigrants.
Nancy Elliott
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Express Entry – There are Changes Coming

Changes are coming soon to Canada’s Express Entry system. Express Entry is the electronic management system designed to selected skilled workers for immigration to Canada, in force since January 2015.

  • Any person applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program,
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program,
  • Canadian Experience Class must apply through Express Entry.

Several Canadian provinces also participate in Express Entry and nominate qualified, skilled workers for it. Based on an online profile created by the user, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) awards points for a variety of factors, including age, education, language ability, employment experience, Canadian employment experience, adaptability (including a job offer from a Canadian employer) and similar factors for an accompanying spouse.

Applicants are ranked and placed in a pool, and the Canadian government issues Invitations to Apply (ITAs) on a regular basis, allowing applicants to submit a complete application for permanent residence then. To date, the lowest score of a person issued an ITA was 450.

On November 19, 2016, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) will award points differently for several factors.

Most notably, applicants who have a job offer from a Canadian employer approved by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), known as a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), will no longer receive 600 points. Instead, they will receive 50 points for most occupations, and 200 points if they will work in an executive position. The Comprehensive Rankling System severely impact applicants who were relying heavily on points achieved due to a positive LMIA.

On the positive side, applicants who have a work permit issued under international agreements or Canadian interests may now be eligible for points based on arranged employment without their employers needing to apply for an LMIA.

If they have employer-specific work permits, are currently working for that employer and have accumulated at least one year of full-time work experience (or the equivalent in part-time employment) over a continuous period of work for that company, they are eligible for the 50 or 200 points referred to above.

However, this can is extremely helpful for applicants in Canada under NAFTA or other free trade agreements, intra-company transferees, and other special work permits. Unfortunately, international students working under post-graduation work permits will not benefit from this change.

As before, applicants who receive a nomination from a Province under a Provincial Nominee Program will continue to receive 600 points.

Happily, for students, a new factor has been introduced to award additional points to Express Entry candidates who have Canadian education credentials. This factor will award 15 or 30 points, depending on the type of diploma or degree, to candidates who have eligible credentials from a post-secondary program.

Finally, changes have also been made on Invitations to Apply (ITA). Candidates will now have up to 90 days to prepare their permanent residence applications, up from 60 days in the past. TInvitations to apply (ITA) allows applicants extra time to prepare the numerous documents to support their requests for permanent residence.

Candidates who are already in the Express Entry pool are highly recommended to review and update their profiles, and they, along with prospective applicants, should urgently check how the changes on November 19th will affect their ranking, and therefore their chances for immigrating to Canada.

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