Occasionally, a candidate’s Express Entry profile, and therefore their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, changes after receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence (PR).
If this happens, they must ensure they remain eligible for PR until their electronic Application for Permanent Residence (eAPR) has been submitted.
Express Entry is the name of the system used by Canada’s federal government to cumulatively manage immigration applications from three programs – the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skills Trade ]Program (FSTP). According to Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025, Canada is aiming to welcome at least 82,000 new immigrants through the Express Entry system in each of the next three years.
To successfully immigrate to Canada through Express Entry, candidates must enter the pool and upload their profile to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. At this point, they must wait until they receive an ITA. It’s not possible to apply for PR without an ITA. All ITA recipients will have 60 days to submit their eAPR.
Still, a common question among Express Entry candidates is: “what happens if my Express Entry profile changes after I receive my ITA?”
What follows will answer the above question and provide further guidance on ensuring a smooth immigration application process via Express Entry.
Types of profile changes and consequences for an inaccurate profile
Following an Express Entry draw, during which a number of candidates are issued ITAs for Canadian PR, it is still possible for an ITA recipient’s profile to change.
Note: Such changes could have notable impacts on one’s CRS score because CRS scores only “lock” once a candidate submits their eAPR (more on that later)
For example, a candidate may receive an ITA and then go through a career/education change, get married, have a birthday or have their language test results expire, all before they submit their eAPR.
If your profile changes, whatever the reason, it is important to maintain an accurate profile with up-to-date information. This is because “false information [or the omission of] important details” is grounds for IRCC to refuse immigration applications, find applicants inadmissible to Canada and/or completely bar applicants from applying to come to Canada for up to five years.
Updating an Express Entry profile after receiving an ITA
To avoid the consequences for inaccurate/false profile information, candidates applying to any of the three programs managed under Express Entry can use the following guide to update their Express Entry profile after receiving an ITA.
Essentially, prior to receipt of an ITA, candidates can make changes to their Express Entry profile without explanation. However, this is no longer possible once an ITA is issued because this is the moment when candidates have their profiles officially recorded in the Global Case Management System (GCMS).
Therefore, at this time, applicants must either:
- Upload additional supporting documents to verify the change in circumstances (marriage, career change etc.) and ensure continuing profile accuracy or
- Send a letter of explanation (LOE) to the government when it is not possible to gather the required supporting documents
An LOE allows applicants to explain that, although they attempted to gather all required documents within the 60-day time frame (before their ITA expired), they were unable to do so.
Note: LOEs are assessed individually on a case-by-case basis and approved or denied at the individual discretion of the reviewing immigration officer
The impact of profile changes on a candidate’s CRS score
Another impact of post-ITA profile changes is that they can alter a candidate’s CRS score, which can effect an individual’s chances of receiving an ITA in an upcoming Express Entry draw.
A candidate’s CRS score can go up or down in a number of ways based on different elements of their profile. For instance, those who obtain a valid job offer or increase their language test scores/education/relevant work experience on their profile will earn more points and subsequently improve their chances of being invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Profile changes and eligibility for Canadian permanent residence
Certain profile changes, even those that occur after receipt of an ITA, can make previously eligible candidates now ineligible for permanent residence Again, this is important because a candidate’s Express Entry profile is not locked until they submit an eAPR to IRCC.
As an example, language test results are valid for two years. If that two-year period ends prior to submitting an eAPR, a candidate would become ineligible for permanent residence in this country. The same would be true if a candidate no longer meets the income requirements outlined by IRCC regarding their proof of funds, which “are altered every year based on 50% of the low-income cut-off totals.”
Managing profile changes and potential processing time delays
Naturally, profile changes at any stage will require that IRCC takes time to reassess a candidate’s eligibility and fit for permanent residence to Canada via Express Entry. Therefore, it is possible that post-ITA profile changes can add to the total processing time of a candidate’s PR application.
Accordingly, it is crucial that Express Entry candidates make every effort to submit required documents and profile updates in a timely manner, as this will help minimize application processing delays that may occur.
Mitigating the negative impact of profile changes
The key to handling profile changes after receiving an ITA is ensuring that information is updated promptly and that any communication with immigration authorities is done proactively when possible. In other words, if there is ever a situation where an immigration candidate can foresee a change to their profile that requires communication with Canadian immigration officials, they should make every possible effort to inform the proper authorities of the impending change as soon as possible.
The particular steps that an Express Entry candidate can take to update their profile of any changes that occur after receiving an ITA are detailed above.
Beyond this, it may be worthwhile to seek the professional advice or assistance of a certified Canadian immigration lawyer.
An experienced immigration lawyer can:
- Help immigration candidates fully and accurately complete required forms and applications
- Communicate with the Canadian government on behalf of the applicant
- Use their expertise to ensure crucial mistakes during the immigration process are avoided