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In January 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will launch a new electronic system called Express Entry to manage applications for permanent residence under certain economic immigration programs.

The Express Entry system will be the first step to immigrate to Canada under these programs. Potential candidates will be able to complete an Express Entry profile at any time once the system is online. Note that there will be no deadline to complete a profile and there will be no caps on the number of candidates that will be accepted to the pool.

Anyone who is accepted into the Express Entry pool could get an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. Draws to invite candidates to apply are expected to take place at regular intervals over the course of each year. We will only pick the top ranking candidates regardless of when they were accepted into the pool. If you have been invited to apply, you will have 60 days to submit a complete Application for Permanent Residence online.

Express Entry will launch at 12 noon EST January 1st, 2015. The first draw for an invitation to apply is planned for the last week of January.

The new program will involve many improvements to Canadian immigration, including quicker processing times, greater accessibility to applicants from a wider variety of different fields, and a greater focus on the quality of applications.

How will the program work?

First, all potential candidates will create an Express Entry profile using an online platform that identifies their skills and qualifications. Applicants to the program without a job offer from a Canadian employer will be required to register with the newly upgraded Canada Job Bank. The Job Bank is a platform where individuals can post their credentials and Canadian employers seeking workers can search for an applicant who meets the requirements of their position in order to offer them a job.

Once the application is selected through the Job Bank, the applicant will be issued an “Invitation to Apply,” and will have 60 days to apply for permanent residence. The successful candidate will then apply for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker program (FSW), or through a Provincial Nomination Program (PNP). After being offered an invitation to apply applicants will still be required to meet the criteria of the program they are applying under. The entire process of applying for permanent residence will be online.

After an individual has recieved an Invitation to Apply (ITA), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has committed to processing these applications in six months or less.

Who can apply?

Under the new Express Entry program, anyone will be able apply. Instead of needing to have experience in an occupation on a strict list of eligible occupations as with many other immigration programs, Express Entry will have no occupation list and applicants can present their credentials regardless of what industry or profession they are in.

Unlike the restrictive FSW program, the new Express Entry program allows people from all occupations to apply without limiting availability to those fortunate enough to have their occupation included on a small list.

Getting prepared for Express Entry

There are many measures that prospective applicants can take to prepare for Canadian immigration through the Express Entry program. Below are some of the many steps that prospective applicants need to take:

  • IELTS: a language test is required for almost every immigration stream that leads to a Permanent Resident visa. Documenting one’s language ability may help them immigrate, and even if an IELTS is not required for Express Entry, the score may still help an applicant convey their English language proficiency to a potential employer.
  • Credential assessment: Under the current FSW programs, foreign diplomas are given an equivalent value in Canada. The credential assessment can also be an important first step towards licensing or certification in their field in Canada.
  • Resume and reference letters: Many people do not have an up to date resume and have not needed to ask their employer for reference letters. Beginning to update and edit a resume, as well as starting to determine how to obtain references may be useful for job searching or immigrating to Canada.

Use our free service to find out whether you could qualify for this visa. Fill out the assessment form. Make sure that all information provided is authentic in order to make a proper assessment.