Express Entry: Minister Alexander Announces New Details

Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister, announced a number of important details about the highly anticipated Express Entry immigration program opening in January of 2015.

Prospective applicants have been speculating about which programs may fall under the new Express Entry system since the immigration program was originally announced, and Minister Alexander’s office clarified on July 14th which existing immigration programs will use Express Entry.

Alexander confirmed that the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades (FST) programs will use Express Entry to select immigrants for permanent residency. Interestingly, the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) will also make use of Express Entry. Canada’s provinces and territories will be able to recruit candidates from the Express Entry system for a “portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs.” This seems to suggest that the PNP programs will continue to exist and select their own nominees and also be able to use Express Entry as a resource.

Along with providing clarification about which programs will use Express Entry, the announcement also provided some new details about the system that will be implemented.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has revealed the process by which candidates will be chosen for the new Express Entry program. After completing an online profile and providing information about their work experience, qualifications, and credentials, the system will place candidates in a pool and rank them against each other. This process is consistent with CIC’s claims that the new program will “select the candidates who are most likely to succeed economically in Canada, rather than passively process all applicants in a queue.” Applicants who already have a job offer from an employer in Canada or who have been nominated by a province or territory will receive higher rankings in the system. With each applicant being ranked against all other applicants in the pool, it becomes even more important that applicants begin preparing their application as soon as possible to ensure that only the highest quality application is submitted.

For applicants applying to Express Entry without a job offer, CIC also recently announced that these applicants will be required to register with the federal government’s newly upgraded Job Bank, which will allow Canadian employers to select qualified candidates from the Express Entry pool for jobs in Canada, fast-tracking their permanent residence applications. The positions obtained through the job bank will in most cases be subject to the new Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), although they will be exempt from the usual $1,000/person LMIA fee.

Alexander also confirmed that all applications under Express Entry will be processed in six months or less, which is a significant improvement from the current system that often leaves applicants waiting well over a year for a decision. Express Entry also is not expected to develop the massive backlogs that come with many of Canada’s other immigration programs, as candidates who have not received an invitation to apply for permanent residence after 12 months will be removed from the system and will need to re-apply and re-enter the candidate pool to continue to be considered. Additionally, it appears that after recieving a invitation to apply for permanent residence, successful candidates will only have 60 days from the date their invitation is issued to apply for permanent residence through one of Canada’s immigration programs participating in Express Entry before their invitation expires. This 60 day limit will also help to ensure that the program does not develop a backlog and will maintain the efficiency of the new system.

For the latest news about Canada’s Express Entry program launching in January 2015, see FWCanada’s Express Entry webpage.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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