It seems like every U.S. presidential election uncovers a new batch of Americans who say they want to move to Canada. It’s a realistic exit strategy for many Americans who are fed up with the politics in their country. In fact, The Guardian says that the number of Americans who have applied for Canadian citizenship has tripled in the past two decades. Whatever the reason, if you’re considering moving to Canada, you might want to look into Express Entry.
Express Entry was launched in 2015 as a way to boost Canada’s economy through immigration. It’s a completely electronic system that handles applications that are submitted through the country’s economic immigration programs. Moving 2 Canada says that it’s one of the most popular immigration systems in the world.
Canada has three federal programs to attract people with unique skills, experience or value. By doing this, the government hopes to bring in skilled immigrants who can contribute to the country’s developing economy.
People who are accepted into any of these programs are granted a Canadian Immigrant Visa. This permanent resident visa allows the individual to move to Canada.
To qualify for Express Entry into Canada, you must qualify for one of the following programs:
The Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) is for people with specific types of work experience who want to live anywhere outside of Quebec. There is a Quebec Skilled Worker Class program for people who want to live in Quebec. These programs are for individuals who do not yet live or work in Canada.
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is intended for people who already work in Canada. It takes into account the fact that you may have already set up social networks and have Canadian work experience. There is an equivalent Quebec Experience Class for people who want to live in Quebec.
To be eligible to apply for this program, you have to have worked for at least one year in a skilled, professional or technical position at a Canadian company. You must also pass a language test.
You don’t qualify for the CEC if you’re self-employed. Some foreigners who attend university in Canada gain experience working at a coop or interning. Those positions don’t count as skilled, professional or technical positions within the Canadian workforce.
However, the CEC is ideal for people who graduate from a Canadian university or college. Those people are usually allowed to stay in the country temporarily with a postgraduate work permit. After one year of working in a qualified field under that permit, you may become eligible to apply for Express Entry under the CEC.
The Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) is similar to the FSWC except that it targets people in specific occupations, including:
If you currently work in one of those categories, to be eligible for the FSTC you must also:
In other words, you can bypass the need for a Canadian job offer if you have a certificate of qualification. If you go that route, you must also demonstrate that you have enough settlement funds. The requirement is at least CAD $12,465 for individuals.
The price goes up if you have a family. A family of four must show proof that they have CAD $23,181 in the bank before they can apply.
Sometimes, a territory or province doesn’t offer certificates of qualification in a certain field. In that case, you must have a qualifying employment offer in your skilled trade from a Canadian company.
To grant you a valid job offer, most Canadian employers also have to submit a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), or confirmation letter. This proves that the employer has looked for a suitable Canadian candidate without any luck before looking abroad to fill the position. These job offers are exempt from the LMIA.
Canadian provinces and territories can nominate people who want to immigrate to Canada. They work with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to choose immigrants who meet certain requirements.
Each province and territory offers a different program that’s customized for its specific needs. You can obtain a “base” provincial nomination, in which case your application wouldn’t go through the Express Entry system. Alternatively, you can obtain an “enhanced” provincial nomination, which would allow your application to be submitted to the Express Entry pool.
In most enhanced provincial nomination situations, you must already be in the Express Entry pool before you can apply for a provincial nomination certificate. Therefore, you must be eligible through the FSWC, CEC or FSTC anyway.
Once you have met all of the qualifications for express entry through one of the Canadian immigration programs, you can create a profile for the Express Entry pool. At that time, your qualifications are ranked by the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).
This system assesses your value to Canada’s economy based on three factors:
This refers to your age, education level, language ability and Canadian work experience. People between the ages of 20 and 29 get the most points for the age category. You also get a point boost if you have a university, master’s or doctoral degree. Speaking fluent English and French will raise your value, and you get additional points if you have 1 to 5 years of Canadian work experience.