Last Updated on January 24, 2019
Express Entry is an immigration system implemented by Canadian immigration authorities (“CIC”) on January 1, 2015 which manages skilled worker applications under Federal Economic programs. This includes the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Skilled Trades Program, the Canada Experience Class and certain parts of the Provincial Nominee Program.
Through December 18th, 2015, CIC conducted 23 draws, issuing 31,018 invitations to apply for permanent residence. Read how the system has fared during its first year.
How does express entry operate?
Colin Singer: Under Express Entry, qualified applicants across many occupations are invited to submit their profile to an Express Entry Pool and to the Canada Job Bank.
Employers across Canada are encouraged to consult the Canada Job Bank and provide a job offer to the candidate of their choice.
Applicants with an approved job offer or those selected by a province or with provincial nomination under a PNP program are considered a “match” and will be invited to formally apply for Canadian permanent residence.
The profiles of the remaining applicants will be ranked for consideration without a “sponsor” or hiring employer. Using a point system according to a number of selection factors such as Age, Education, Language, Experience and other factors, the highest ranked candidates will be considered for their potential “human capital” contribution to Canada.
Immigration authorities will then decide which of the highest ranked applicants will be invited to apply for permanent residence, through periodic draws. Candidates who are issued invitations (ITA’s) are given a delay of 60-days to perfect their application.
It appears candidates who were selected during the first draws had very high comprehensive ranking scores. Why is this?
Colin Singer: We believe that during the initial stages, CIC aimed to set the bar as high as possible. It wanted to showcase its new Express Entry Immigration system as a successful program that brings candidates to Canada with a strong likelihood of integrating fully and quickly into the Canadian labour market.
Studies show that applicants with a valid job offer (LMIA) or having Provincial Nomination (PNP), have the highest chances of meeting these objectives. During the first 4 draws only applicants with an LMIA or Provincial Nomination received ITA’s. It is no surprise that CIC set the bar as high as it could for the first series of draws.
Candidates who were selected from subsequent draws still had strong comprehensive scores. What does this mean?
Colin Singer: We can observe that after the first 4 draws, the minimum CRS scores averaged 465 in 18 of the 19 subsequent draws, through December 18th 2015. The lowest CRS score was 450. Many candidates received an invitation without LMIA or PNP nomination.
Annual levels for 2015 have been raised to between 260,000 – 285,000 which will represent Canada’s highest immigration levels in 5 years. Canada’s annual admissions this year will derive significantly from the Express Entry system. Beginning in 2016, the majority of economic class admissions to Canada will derive from this system.
We expect that in order for CIC to reach its annual immigration levels, CRS scores will significantly decline, possibly into the 300’s in future draws. This will favor candidates without an LMIA or PNP.
The mid-year report indicates that 85 per cent of successful applicants were already living in Canada as temporary workers. What does this mean?
Colin Singer: At the early stages, it appeared there was a move toward a “two-step” immigration system where individuals first come to Canada temporarily and then transitioned to permanent residence. However, figures subsequent to the mid-year report indicate that only 25% of invitations issued to candidates listed Canada as their current place of residence. The majority of applicants selected under express entry in future draws, will reside outside of Canada.
Under express entry, are candidates required to obtain a job offer from a “sponsor” Canadian employer?
Colin Singer: An approved job offer (LMIA) from an employer in Canada is a significant benefit but it is not a requirement.
Is express entry the only way to immigrate to Canada?
Colin Singer: There are many other streams of immigration that do not fall under the federal Express Entry system. Each of the provinces promotes its own immigration programs (PNP’s) outside of Express Entry. Quebec also has a robust skilled worker program and a Quebec Experience Program which does not fall under the Express Entry system.
Family sponsorship applications are also excluded from the express entry system.
Temporary immigration programs such as the temporary resident visa, work permit and study permits are also excluded from the system. Candidates must follow the procedures for applying under such programs and not the Express Entry system.
What are some of the flaws with the Express Entry system?
Temporary Foreign Workers – Employers who are interested in permanently retaining a foreign worker already working in Canada must still undergo an evaluation for a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment confirming that no Canadian is available and pay a $1000 government fee. This makes no sense because that confirmation was already rendered when the worker initially began working in Canada. The government is encouraged to consider waiving the LMIA requirement for temporary foreign workers with valid LMIA’s working in Canada as the impact of these hires has already been assessed. Moreover, long term retention is an important component of Canada’s immigration policies and such individuals have proven abilities to secure employment and contribute to the Canadian economy.
International Students – Before Ottawa’s points-based Express Entry system was introduced earlier this year, international students with a year of Canadian skilled work experience were guaranteed a pathway to permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). However, under Express Entry it is now nearly impossible for most international student graduates to become permanent residents unless their employers can prove that no Canadians are available for the position.
The Express Entry system requires students to compete under the points-based system with everyone in the express entry pool. Applicants receive points for a number of factors including education, age, work experience and language abilities in English and French. Applicants who reach the minimum score under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) set by government will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Students with only a few years of experience in the pool cannot score sufficiently high to receive an invitation to apply. The system in its current format unnecessarily deprives Canada of highly skilled candidates who will contribute significantly to its human capital.
Job Matching – The Express Entry system features a job matching functionality which attempts to link registered candidates with employers advertising job vacancies. However many of the job postings are frequently out of date. More importantly, there are ongoing systemic flaws which bring into question the viability of a nation-wide on-line service of this nature including excessive processing delays to obtain an LMIA and work permit, (often exceeding 6 months), unreasonable government fees and a lack of consistency to secure recognition of foreign credentials between the provinces for regulated professions.
Is express entry a success?
Colin Singer: Express Entry is a success to the extent that the inventory of potential candidates and the processing of applications for permanent residence by immigration authorities are easier to manage than previously.
How is immigration.ca positioned for Canada’s express entry immigration system?
Colin Singer: We strongly believe that employment recruitment and individualized search consulting assistance is an important consideration for all immigrant applicants to Canada as well as Canadian employers. In 2007, we acquired Global Recruiters of Montreal (www.grnmontreal.com) an independently owned franchise of Chicago based Global Recruiters Network. GRN Montreal provides search consulting expertise that applicants and employers require. We provide all our immigration clients with invaluable, search consulting services from our in-house trained recruiters. We regularly provide search consulting and immigration services to Canadian employers. A number of our clients have settled in Canada via express entry.
We believe our clients have the best chances to succeed in their immigration projects under Canada’s Express Entry immigration system.
Express Entry – The Numbers*
- 36.57% – Percent of active candidates in the Express Entry Pool relative to the number of Express Entry Profiles submitted.
- 61% – Percent of applications for permanent residence received by CIC relative to the number of invitations issued.
- 87% – Percent of active candidates in the Express Entry Pool with CRS scores of 300-450.
- 44% – Percent of invitations issued to Indian Nationals representing the first source country of nationality.
- 25% – Percent of invitations issued to candidates who list Canada as their current place of residence.
- 16% – Percent of applicants admitted to Canada annually under the Quebec skilled worker program.
- *Statistics compiled from data issued by CIC
Colin R. Singer is immigration counsel for www.immigration.ca and Managing Partner of Global Recruiters of Montreal. He is one of Canada’s foremost senior corporate immigration attorneys. Colin is internationally recognized as an experienced and recommended authority on Canadian immigration and foreign recruitment. In addition to being licensed human resources professional, he is a licensed Canadian lawyer in good standing with the Quebec Law Society for more than 25 years and is authorized by the Canadian government in all immigration matters.
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