Express Entry Immigrants

Express Entry Immigrants to Canada: Who Are They, and Where Are They Going?

On January 1, 2015, the Government of Canada implemented the Express Entry Immigration system under the Economic Class including the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Under Express Entry, Federal Skilled Workers across 347 eligible occupations who meet minimum entry criteria, submit an expression of interest profile to the Express Entry Pool.  The profiles of candidates in the pool are ranked under a Comprehensive Ranking System.  The highest ranked candidates will be considered for an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Candidates receiving an invitation must submit a full application within a delay of ۹۰-days.

Federal Skilled Workers are persons with suitable education, work experience, age and language abilities under one of Canada’s official languages and who are selected under the Express Entry Immigration system to apply for permanent residence.
To qualify for admission to the Express Entry Pool as a Federal Skilled Worker, applicants must meet the following conditions:
Essential Conditions:

  1. Possess one-year of continuous full-time paid work experience or the equivalent in part-time continuous employment within the previous 10 years in one of 347 eligible occupations listed under the applicable National Occupational Classification system; AND
  2. The work experience must be classified within Skill Type 0 (Managerial Occupations), Skill Level A (Professional Occupations), or Skill Level B (Technical Occupations and Skilled Trades) within the meaning of the National Occupational Classification system; AND
  3. Score sufficient points under the skilled worker point grid comprising of six selection factors. The current pass mark is 67 points;
  4. Undergo language testing from a recognized third party and demonstrate intermediate level language skills in English or French corresponding to the Canadian Language Benchmark of 7)
  5. Possess suitable settlement funding;
  6. Undergo a successful security background and medical examination.

Qualified applicants are evaluated against six factors to determine their eligibility for immigration to Canada. Applicants must obtain a total of 67 points out of a possible 100 in order to qualify. The selection factors are:

  • Education;
  • Language;
  • Employment experience;
  • Age;
  • Arranged employment;
  • Adaptability;

The new program seeks to select candidates with the highest probability of economic settlement success and contribution to Canada.  It maintains previous criteria with modification to the relative importance and point structure for each selection factor.

Selection Factors:

To be selected under the FSW program, applicants who possess sufficient work experience and language proficiency must accumulate a minimum of 67 points on the skilled worker selection grid, which allocates points for education, language, employment experience, age, arranged Canadian employment and adaptability.

Education – Maximum of 25 points

Factor Score Final
(Canadian equivalence established by a designated third party)
Doctorate ۲۵
Master’s or professional degree ۲۳
Two or more post-secondary degrees, of which one is three years or longer ۲۲
A three year or longer post-secondary degree ۲۱
A two-year post-secondary diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship ۱۹
A one-year post-secondary diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship ۱۵
Secondary School Educational Credential ۵
LANGUAGE (Abilities: Speak, Read, Write, Listen) Max. 28
۱st Lang Very high proficiency (per ability) (CLB 9) ۶
High proficiency (per ability) (CLB 8) ۵
Intermediate proficiency (per ability) (CLB 7)*
*Minimum threshold required to apply
Basic or no proficiency ۰
Possible maximum (all four abilities) ۲۴
۲ndLang Basic proficiency or higher (per ability) ۱
No proficiency ۰
Possible maximum (all four abilities) ۴
EXPERIENCE (NOC Skill Level O,A,B) Max. 15
One year*
*Minimum threshold required to apply
Two to three years ۱۱
Four to five years ۱۳
Six years or more ۱۵
AGE Max. 12
۱۸ to 35 years ۱۲
۳۶ years ۱۱
Less one point per year until 47 years
HRSDC-confirmed permanent offer of employment ۱۰
Applicants from within Canada holding a temporary work permit that is:
Validated by HRSDC, including sectoral confirmations ۱۰
Exempt from HRSDC validation under international agreements (e.g., NAFTA) ۱۰
Applicant has a minimum of 1 year skilled Work experience in Canada ۱۰
Applicant has previously studied in Canada ۵
Spouse has previously studied in Canada ۵
Spouse has previously worked in Canada ۵
Family relation over the age of 18 in Canada ۵
Arranged employment ۵
Spouse is proficient in an official language ۵
Total ۱۰۰

The maximum number of points awarded for education is 25, with maximum points awarded to applicants with doctoral degrees. Foreign credentials will be evaluated by a designated third party to determine their Canadian equivalent and points will be awarded based on that equivalence. At this time, organizations designated for credential evaluation are:

  • Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies;
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada;
  • World Education Services;
  • Medical Council of Canada.

Language – Minimum threshold of 16 points, Maximum of 28 points

Only applicants capable of demonstrating an intermediate to high level proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages, English or French, will be considered. Applicants who meet the minimum threshold must score at least 16 points under this selection factor. Higher language proficiency can lead to an allocation of up to 24 points.

The benefits of bilingualism are considered marginal to an individual’s successful economic establishment in Canada and the new point system limits points for a second official language to a maximum of 4.

Employment Experience – Minimum of 9 points, Maximum of 15 points

The new program requires a minimum of 1-year to qualify and the maximum consideration is 6-years.

Age – Maximum of 12 points

Up to 12 points will be allotted to candidates between the ages of 18 and 35 years. Each year above the age of 35 will reduce the allocation by ۱, with no points being awarded as of age 47.

Arranged Employment – ۰ or 10 points

Points are allotted to individuals with a validated offer of employment in Canada. In an effort to streamline labour market related processes and reduce processing times for employers and their potential employees, the Arranged Employment Opinion process will be replaced with the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) employment validation process which is generally used in processing applications for Canadian work permits.

In order to validate an employment offer and obtain points for this selection factor, a candidate’s proposed employer must demonstrate to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada that the hiring of a foreign worker will have neutral or positive economic effects on the local labour market.

Candidates with a validated employment offer will gain 10 points under this factor, and an additional 5 points in the Adaptability selection factor for a total of 15 points.

Adaptability – Maximum of 10 points

Applicants who have at least 1 year of full time Canadian work experience in a managerial, professional, technical or skilled trade occupation will be awarded maximum points. As mentioned above, a validated offer of employment will provide 5 adaptability points. Other considerations awarding points under this selection factor include: A close adult relative living in Canada; Applicant or spouse has studied in Canada; Spouse has previous Canadian work experience; Spouse has knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages.

CIC policy confirms that the Federal Skilled Worker Program, while well-tailored to select highly educated individuals, does not favour applications from the skilled trades. In an effort to ensure the Canadian labour market attracts sufficient trades workers, qualified trades’ candidates may now apply for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

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