Canada PR Express Entry (EE) Programs: EE Stages and Process

Since January 2015, skilled foreign workers seeking to immigrate to Canada have been able to use the Express Entry system — Government of Canada’s electronic system for managing permanent resident applications filed under various economic immigration programs of the country. These programs include:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program,
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program,
  • The Canadian Experience Class program, and
  • Many parts of the Provincial Nominee Program.
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What is Canada Express Entry?

The etymology of the term “Express Entry” is very simple; under this system, processing time for applications has been significantly reduced compared to those for previous similar economic immigration programs. Currently, the processing time averages only 6 months; previously, applications could take several years to process.

The Express Entry system is used by the Government of Canada to centralize the intake of permanent residence applications under its various economic immigration programs. It is used to implement a single, coherent national immigration strategy by creating a common pool of approved candidates who are most likely to succeed in Canada. Without Express Entry, each immigration program could adopt differing qualification criteria and procedures, leading to inefficiency and confusion.

person who got canada pr express entry

Express Entry is a management system, not an immigration program

Express Entry is not an immigration program in itself, but rather a way for IRCC to manage applications online. The term “Express Entry programs” refers to the various programs that use this system such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and part of the Provincial Nominee Program. To avoid confusion, this article will use the term Express Entry system when referring to Express Entry.

Canada PR via Express Entry

The Express Entry system manages applications for three economic immigration programs that lead to the Canadian Permanent Residency. Each of these EE program has its own eligibility criteria:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program is for skilled employees with foreign work experience in professional, managerial, or technical fields, who want to immigrate to Canada permanently.
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program is for skilled tradespersons who wish to become permanent residents and are qualified in a skilled trade.
  • The Canadian Experience Class is designed for skilled employees who have previously worked in Canada and now wish to become permanent residents. This program is often used to transition from temporary resident status to permanent status.

In addition, the EE system is used by some Canadian provinces and territories to find candidates who meet their regional labour market needs under the Provincial Nominee Program.

Eligibility Requirements For an Express Entry

To apply as a skilled worker for any of the Express Entry immigration program, you must meet the set of basic requirements:

    You must demonstrate good language skills in either English or French.
    You must plan to live outside the province of Quebec, which does not use EE and instead manages its immigration programs differently.
    You must have at least 1 year of experience as a skilled worker.
    However, you should also meet the specific requirements of the particular immigration program for which you apply.

    What’s the Simplest Way to Apply for an Express Entry Program?

    With tighter controls and important documents to keep track of, the easiest way to obtain an approval of your EE application is to work with an immigration services. offers expert guidance throughout the entire application process. Contact us now if you need help filing for an Express Entry application for yourself or your family members.
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    Express Entry Programs

    As we say, the Express Entry system manages applications for three federal economic immigration programs. Below are the descriptions of these EE programs.
    brief description of express entry (ee) programs

    What is a Federal Skilled Worker Program?

    The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is the most popular pathway for Canadian Permanent Residency (PR). This program is suitable, if you are specialist in

    • A management job (such as restaurant managers, mine managers, or shore captains etc.);
    • A professional job (such as doctors, legislators, or architects etc.); or
    • A science job (such as biologists or chemists, etc.).

    persons discussing express entry stages

    Requirements to Federal Skilled Worker Program

    To be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) you must:
    list of express entry requirements
    Possess language proficiency in English or French and score at least 7 on the Canadian Language Benchmark test (CLB) (Find minimum Express Entry IELTS, CELPIP, TEF Canada, and TCF Canada score in the equivalency charts).
    Have graduated from a secondary or post-secondary institution in Canada or provide an Education Credential Assessment for immigration purposes to prove that his or her education is equivalent to the Canadian one.
    Have skilled work experience totalling at least 1 year of continuous employment within the last 10 years (combination of part-time, full-time, or more than 1 job in his or her primary occupation).
    Provide proof of funds to support him or her and any accompanying family members.

    If the individual meets all of the above requirements, his or her application will be assessed based on the following factors and receive a point rating (between 0 to 100). Please note that this system is different from the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) which is used at the later stages.

    If an applicant scores 67 points or higher, he or she is qualified for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

    Points are awarded based on 6 factors, including:

    • Language skills:
    • Education and training;
    • Work experience;
    • Age;
    • Arranged employment in Canada;
    • Adaptability.

    All documents to support information related to the eligibility criteria must be submitted to an Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada office.

    Pre-selection criteria for Federal Skilled Worker Program
    Max Points


    Language Skills

    Up to 24 points for skills in the first official language (English or French): maximum 6 points for each area (Speaking, Listening, Writing, and Reading) based on applicant’s CLB results;

    At most 4 points for skills in a second official language if an applicant has a score of at least CLB 5 in each area of the second language.


    Education and Training


    The number of points awarded is determined by the level of education and field of study.
    Work experience
    More years of experience as a skilled worker earn more points, up to a maximum of 15.
    This category is applicable to persons 18 to 47 years old. The older an applicant is, the lower the score he or she will get.
    Arranged employment in Canada
    An applicant can score points if he or she has a job offer for at least 1 year of employment from a Canadian employer. To get 10 points, one of four situations must apply.
    An applicant can earn up to 10 points by combining specific elements that demonstrate prior connection with Canada.

    person thinking of canada express entry

    Federal Skilled Trades Program

    This program is suitable for you if you are a specialist in:

    • Industrial, electrical and construction trades;
    • Maintenance and equipment operation trades;
    • Supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production; or
    • Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators.

    Or you work as a

    • Chef and cook; or
    • Butcher and baker.
    • Meet the required language requirements (obtain at least CLB 5 for speaking and listening, and at least CLB 4 for reading and writing);
    • Have at least 2 years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in a skilled trade within the past 5 years;
    • Possess a valid job offer of full-time employment for a period of at least 1 year or have received a certificate of qualification in a skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority;
    • Have sufficient funds to start life in Canada (currently set at CAN$12,960 plus CAN$3,492 for each dependent).
    girl looking at the express entry fees

    Canadian Experience Class

    This EE immigration program is the most common way of transition from temporary resident status to permanent resident status in Canada. The largest number of people immigrate to Canada under this program. It is also used as a final step for students who work on temporary visas to obtain a permanent residency in Canada.

    To apply for the Canadian Experience Class, you must:

    • Have work experience of at least 1 year in Canada in the last 3 years (may be a combination of full-time or part-time work);
    • Gained the above work experience in Canada under temporary resident status;
    • Demonstrate good language skills in English or French (obtain at least CLB 7 if working at managerial or professional jobs, and at least CLB 5 if working at technical jobs and skilled trades).
    persons getting canada permanent resincy via express entry

    Express Entry for the Provincial Nominee Program

    The Express Entry system is also used by some provinces and territories to find candidates who meet their regional labour market needs. They can nominate potential candidates to Express Entry under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). If you are nominated under PNP, you automatically get 600 additional points in your EE Comprehensive Ranking System score. This bump is usually sufficient to put you ahead of most other applicants in the EE pool.

    Express Entry Stages

    There are two Express Entry stages. During these stages your economic potential of skilled workers will be assessed.

    First Stage

    During the first stage, an applicant creates an online Express Entry profile. To ensure a higher chance of success, consider using our services to help you complete the required form. You must provide the following information in this form to complete your profile:

    • Language test results;
    • Proof of Canadian education or an educational credential assessment report for immigration purposes (only for applicants for the FSWP);
    • Proof of funds; and
    • Proof of work experience.

    After this, the system assesses whether you are eligible for any of the three federal programs described above. If you meet all requirements, you are placed in the Express Entry pool and are assigned a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on the profile information. You can find more information on how the Comprehensive Ranking System works and how the CRS score is calculated in our article.

    Second Stage

    Periodically, Canadian government conducts Express Entry Draws. Note that you may find information about the “IRCC or Express Entry Draw” on various websites, but there is no mention of this term on the official government website because the Canadian legislation uses the more precise term “Rounds of Invitations.” EE draw is just another name for a round of invitations. You are welcome to learn more about the Express Entry Draws and the its latest result in our article.

    During this draw, you may be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. If you receive an ITA, you have 90 days to submit your second stage application for permanent residency in one of the EE immigration programs.

    What is an Invitation to Apply (ITA)?

    An ITA is an auto-generated letter issued to Express Entry candidates via their online EE account. The ITA confirms that an applicant may now proceed with filling his or her application for permanent residency under one of the EE immigration programs.

    The ITA invites the candidate to apply under a specific class among the Express Entry immigration programs or under the Provincial Nominee Program if an applicant has received a provincial nomination. The ITA is issued to a group of candidates with the highest score in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

    Express Entry Application Process

    Here you may find the step-by-step guide for application process at the second stage:

    Documents Required for Express Entry Application

    To apply for any of the EE immigration program in Canada, IRCC requires clear copies of each of the following documents:

      • Valid passport;
      • Birth certificate;
      • Documentation that proves your skilled work experience;
      • Valid language test results (Note that IRCC accepts only IELTS, CELPIP, TEF Canada, or TCF Canada language tests);
      • Police certificate indicating that you do not have a criminal record;
      • Results of medical exams.

    Note that all documents must be in English or French or translated into English or French.

    documents required for express entry

    Do you qualify for Express Entry to Canada?

    The Express Entry system is the most suitable pathway for skilled immigrants. It uses the Comprehensive Ranking System to award a score to a candidate’s profile in order to rank the candidate in comparison to other applicants in the Express Entry pool.
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    help immigrating to canada via express entry

    How We Can Help?

    The importance of providing clear, complete, and accurate information throughout the whole process of applying for immigration can not be overstated. First, you should fill out the Express Entry online profile form in hopes of getting an ITA. Second, you must prepare a set of documents necessary to apply for permanent residence under one of the EE programs. You have only 90 days to complete the application, so it’s best to start collecting documents in advance.

    Our well-experienced team can be your guide and advisor in your quest for Canadian permanent residence. We will help you to prepare necessary documents and assessments, as well as help you prepare applications for both stages. We can also assist you in registering with the Job Bank to increase your chance of receiving a job offer that can dramatically increase your CRS score. In any case, we hope this article has given you a good overview of the Express Entry system. If you still have any questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

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