Deciding to leave your home country and immigrate to another is a life-altering decision. If you chose Canada as your new home, there are several immigration pathways to choose from.
Canada is always seeking the best and brightest talent from around the globe, with a particular emphasis on skilled workers. It follows that Express Entry programs, such as the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilld Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) are among the most prominent options for immigration to Canada.
Express Entry candidates are ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Once an Express Entry candidate self-evaluates if they are eligible for one of the programs and uploads their profile on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, they will be given a number score known as a CRS score. The higher the CRS score, the more likely a candidate is to receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residency.
Another factor that can maximize your CRS score is having a sibling already living in Canada. A sibling over the age of 18 who lives in Canada as a citizen or permanent resident can add 15 points to your CRS score.
Federal Skilled Worker Program
Under FSWP you must meet a baseline of eligibility criteria related to your work experience, education, language abilities and human capital factors such as your age.
As with all Express Entry programs, the first step to becoming a FSWP candidate is to self-evaluate if you meet the minimum eligibility requirements.
- At least one year of skilled work experience
- A minimum Canadian Language Benchmark of 7 on their English or French language test
- At least one educational credential
- Demonstrate proof of funds (if applicable)
- Get at least 67 out of 100 points on the FSWP scoring grid
How to apply for Express Entry
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can begin your application by creating and uploading your profile on the IRCC website. Once your profile has been uploaded, you will get your CRS score and be entered into the pool.
Once you are in the pool and have your CRS score, you will be ranked against other candidates and the highest scores will receive ITAs through regular rounds of invitations
IRCC has resumed Express Entry draws as of July 6 this year. Typically, there are draws every two weeks. The CRS score changes with every draw so even if you are not invited in one draw, you may still be invited in the next. IRCC has a processing standard of six months for all applications.
If you receive an ITA, you will have 60 days to submit your application for permanent residence to IRCC.
You can also increase your CRS score by getting nominated by a province. This will add 600 points to your overall CRS score and make it very likely you will receive an ITA from IRCC.
All provinces and territories, except for Quebec and Nunavut, have Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). These programs allow provincial governments to select the candidates they feel are the best fit for the province.
Provinces can invite candidates from the Express Entry pool whom they feel best suits the province to apply directly to the provincial government for nomination, a process known as enhanced nomination. Candidates who may not be in the Express Entry pool can submit an application to directly to the province to be considered.
If you do not have a high enough CRS score to be considered for Express Entry, depending on your situation, coming to Canada as an international student can help you gain valuable experience that you can use towards your application for permanent residency.
While you are in Canada as a student, you may work up to 20 hours a week during the academic year and fulltime during any study breaks, provided you are still enrolled in your program at a designated learning institution.
Once your program is complete, you may apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which will allow you to live in Canada and work for any employer for a period of up to three years. The length of your visa will depend on the length of your program and work experience you gain on a PGWP counts towards your CRS score in Express Entry. If your program is two years or longer, you can work for the full three years. Programs less than eight months are not eligible for the PGWP.