Am I eligible for Express Entry?

The Express Entry system serves as Canada’s primary avenue for economic immigration, set to welcome 110,770 new immigrants to the country this year. This figure is projected to rise to 117,500 in both 2025 and 2026.

Given this trajectory, newcomers and prospective immigrants may find it crucial to assess their eligibility for programs within the Express Entry system. This involves not only determining current eligibility but also strategizing how to enhance it in the years ahead.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an application management system that oversees three federal Canadian economic immigration programs. These are:

All three programs have distinct eligibility criteria that applicants must fulfill to qualify.

Once candidates meet the eligibility requirements for one of the Express Entry programs, they can enter the Express Entry candidate pool. At this stage, they receive a point score under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which takes into account various human capital factors such as work experience, language proficiency, education, and marital status. Interested individuals can calculate their CRS score using our interactive calculator here.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducts regular draws for Express Entry candidates throughout the year. Candidates who meet the minimum CRS cut-off score are invited to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence (PR). Additionally, IRCC has introduced category-based draws targeting individuals with specific professional experience or language ability in demand in Canada. Candidates from any of the three Express Entry programs may be eligible for these draws.

After receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and submitting their application, a candidate (now an applicant) undergoes necessary checks and must meet all criteria outlined in their application. If successful, they are granted PR status, allowing them to reside in Canada permanently and enjoy the freedom to live, work, and study in the country.

What are eligibility requirements for the FSWP?

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) stands as one of Canada’s primary pathways for skilled economic immigrants.

To be eligible under the FSWP, candidates must meet minimum requirements for the program and score at least 67 points based on their human capital factors, as outlined in a specific scoring grid for the FSWP. It’s important to note that this score is separate from the CRS score assigned to candidates of all three Express Entry programs upon entering the Express Entry pool.

In addition to scoring at least 67 points under the FSWP selection factors scoring grid, candidates must:

  1. Possess at least one year of full-time or equivalent work experience within the last 10 years in a skilled occupation classified under the National Occupation Classification (NOC) as a Training Education Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) level 0, 1, 2, or 3*.
  2. Demonstrate language proficiency in either English or French equivalent to a level 7 under the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) for English or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) for French. A level 7 must be achieved in all four language abilities (writing, reading, listening, and speaking).
  3. Meet settlement funds criteria based on the number of direct family members (spouse, common-law partner, and/or dependent children), even if they are Canadian permanent residents and will not accompany the applicant to Canada. This requirement can be waived if the applicant is currently authorized to work in Canada and has arranged employment in the country.

*Canada employs the NOC system to classify all jobs, while the TEER system, used in conjunction, helps determine the level of eligibility based on the required training, experience, education, and responsibilities of the job

What are the eligibility requirements for the CEC?

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) offers a pathway for skilled workers and international students who are currently residing in Canada, or have previous work experience in Canada, to pursue permanent residency and remain within the country. These individuals often score highly under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) due to their past Canadian experience and education, as well as their enhanced official language ability, typically acquired over time in Canada.

To be eligible for the CEC, candidates must:

  1. Have acquired at least one year of skilled, professional, or technical work experience in Canada within the 36 months (three years) preceding the date of application.
  2. Possess a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) level of 5 for National Occupation Classification (NOC) TEER category 2 or 3 level jobs, or a CLB/NCLC level of 7 for NOC TEER 0 or 1 level jobs.
  3. Intend to reside and work outside of Quebec.

CEC candidates are not required to demonstrate proof of settlement funds as part of their application

What are eligibility requirements for the FSTP?

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) offers an economic pathway for newcomers with experience in an eligible skilled trade.

To be eligible under the FSTP, candidates must:

  1. Possess at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade within the five years preceding the date of application.
  2. Meet the job requirements for the skilled trade as defined by the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
  3. Hold a valid job offer of continuous paid, full-time employment (at least 30 hours per week) from up to two employers in Canada for a minimum duration of one year OR possess a certificate of qualification* issued by a provincial or territorial body in Canada.
  4. Provide evidence of basic language proficiency, achieving at least a level 5 in the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) for speaking and listening, and at least a CLB/NCLC level 4 for reading and writing.
  5. Demonstrate the skills, experience, and performance of essential duties of their occupation.
  6. Show proof of funds for settlement in Canada, unless currently authorized to work and employed in the country.

*Note: A certificate of qualification is issued by a provincial or territorial body in Canada and validates the candidate’s skills and proficiency in their respective skilled trade.

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