top of page

How Express Entry Works

Express Entry is an online immigration system which manages skilled workers applications for permanent residence to Canada under

federal and certain provincial economic programs. It is not an immigration program, but a method for selecting the best candidates for Canada’s existing skilled worker immigration programs.

Which Programs Are Covered by Express Entry?

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program

  2. Federal Skilled Trades Program

  3. Canada Experience Class

  4. Select streams under Provincial Nominee Programs

What Is the Express Entry Process?

Candidates submit a self-assessed profile online to the Express Entry Pool which is scored using a Comprehensive Ranking System

What Are Some Advantages of Express Entry?

  • Points are awarded based on core factors such as age, education, work experience and language ability.

  • Significant points are also available for a qualified job offer and a provincial nomination.

  • The top-scoring candidates are issued Invitations to Apply for permanent residence via periodic immigration draws, usually every two weeks.

  • Once issued a coveted ITA, the candidate has 60 days to perfect their application for permanent residence under one of the programs above.

  • If they fail to make the 60-day deadline, the ITA becomes invalid.

  • The target processing time for applications received via Express Entry is six months, which is achieved 85 per cent of the time.

What Are Some Advantages of Express Entry?

  • Ability to alter the program quickly and efficiently based on Canada’s economic needs.

  • Better aligns Canada’s immigration intake with labour market requirements.

  • Candidates can improve their scores whilst in the pool, meaning they can work towards achieving an Invitation to Apply.

  • Offers a clear and realistic picture of a candidate’s Canada immigration prospects.

  • Dramatically reduced processing times by prioritizing those more likely to be successful.

  • Gives government flexibility on immigration through CRS changes and program-specific draws.

How Can We Help You?


Have our team he the one to help you start your Canadian immigration journey now!


Find out how to increase your ranking score, if you have already submitted your profile under Express Entry.


Find out how to apply for permanent residence, if you have already received an invitation to apply.

Why Did Canada Launch Express Entry?

Express Entry is considered an example to the world of how to run a fluid and flexible economic immigration system. With simple changes to the Comprehensive Ranking System, the Canadian government can use immigration to respond to economic and labour market changes.

Does Express Entry Apply to Quebec?

Express Entry does not apply to Quebec, but the French-speaking province has its own version of the system.

Quebec’s Expression of Interest operates similarly to Express Entry. The highest-scoring candidates from an Expression of Interest Bank will be invited to apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ).

Express Entry for Skilled Immigration

Overview of Express Entry for Skilled Immigration

Skilled immigrant applicants can use Canada’s Express Entry system to become permanent residents of Canada. The Express Entry system manages skilled immigration applications and accepts the applications of those who are most likely to successfully settle in Canada and contribute to Canada’s economy.

Immigration authorities intend that 80 percent of applications under the Express Entry system are processed within six months. Further, there is no deadline by which applicants must complete their profiles. There is also no cap on the number of Express Entry applications that will be accepted. However, the numbers selected each year will depend on Canada’s annual immigration levels.

Skilled immigration applicants can use the Express Entry system to apply for permanent residence under one of four economic immigration programs.

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program

  • Federal Skilled Trades Program

  • Canada Experience Class Program

  • Provincial Nominee Program (Certain components)

Applying for permanent residence through the Express Entry system consists of two steps.

Step 1: Create an Online Express Entry Profile

Applicants will use their online Express Entry profiles to provide information to Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada regarding their:

  • Work experience

  • Education

  • Language abilities

  • Skills

  • Other personal information relevant to the assessment of their application

Those who successfully meet the criteria of one of the three skilled immigration programs mentioned above will be accepted into a pool of candidates. It is important to note that successful admission to the candidate pool does not automatically result in an invitation to apply for permanent residence (ITA). Receiving an ITA will depend on the factors listed below.

Applicants who already possess a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), will have a greater chance of obtaining an ITA. Those who have been nominated for permanent residence by a provincial government will also have an increased chance of success. Candidates who do not have a job offer, LMIA or provincial nomination can register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s Job Bank, however, this is not mandatory. The Job Bank will help put candidates in touch with employers. Candidates should also use other independent means to seek employment while in the candidate pool.

Step 2: Obtain an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence (ITA)

All applicants in the Express Entry pool will be ranked against each other using a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Under the ranking system, applicants are awarded points based on.

  • Their skills

  • Their work experiences

  • Whether they have a job offer

  • Whether their job offer is supported by a LMIA or meet the alternative requirements

  • Whether they have been nominated for permanent residence by a provincial government

Candidates who receive the highest CRS scores will be offered an ITA. Once a candidate receives an ITA, he or she will have 60 days to submit an online application for permanent residence. Candidates who do not receive an ITA may remain in the candidate pool for 12 months. After 12 months in the pool, candidates must create a new online Express Entry Profile. Candidates will only be allowed to create a new profile if they continue to meet the relevant criteria for their chosen skilled immigration program.

Express Entry Immigration Draws

Express Entry is an online application management system which aims to ensure faster processing and better economic outcomes for permanent residence to Canada under federal and certain provincial programs. Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria will submit a profile in the Express Entry pool, known as an Expression of Interest (EOI).

How does Express Entry work?

  • Create an Express Entry Profile

  • Submit the profile in the Express Entry pool

  • Receive an invitation to apply

  • Apply for permanent residence

Rounds of invitations under Express Entry

Candidates are ranked under a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranking profiles are selected from the Express Entry Pool and receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. The federal government issues invitations at regular intervals during the year.

Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)

All the skilled immigration applicants that are eligible for the Express Entry System will be placed into a pool of candidates. Candidates in the Express Entry pool are then ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS is used to determine which applicants in the pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence.

The CRS is a points-based system that gives a score to a candidate based on the information in the candidate’s profile. These scores allow candidates in the pool to be ranked against each other.

Applicants are given points based on the following factors:

  • Age

  • Education

  • Language proficiency

  • Canadian work experience

  • Language proficiency, education and Canadian work experience of the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner

  • Arranged employment (validated job offer)

  • Provincial government nomination for permanent residence

  • Sibling in Canada

  • Certain combinations of language skills, education and work experience that result in a higher chance of the applicant becoming employed (skill transferability).

Using these factors, applicants will be given a score out of a maximum of 1,200 points. The highest-ranked applicants will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence (ITA) during period draws.

The CRS prioritizes applicants who are likely to successfully settle and have a positive economic impact within Canada. For this reason, having an approved job offer or a provincial nomination for permanent residence will have a very positive impact on an applicant’s score.

Having an approved job offer in a managerial field (National Occupation Classification TEER 0 Major group 00) is worth 200 points, while all other job offers (NOC TEER 1, 2 or 3, or any TEER 0 other than Major group 00) are worth 50 points. Both points allocations will serve to significantly strengthen a candidate’s profile.

A provincial nomination will automatically result in 600 points being given to an applicant. This allocation of points will almost always guarantee that a candidate will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

Invitations to Apply for Permanent Residence (ITAs)

Applicants who receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) will become eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada. Applicants who receive an ITA will also receive a message from Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) indicating which skilled immigration program they should apply under and how to apply for permanent residence. It is important to note that receiving an ITA DOES NOT automatically mean that an applicant will be accepted as a permanent resident. After receiving an ITA, an applicant must submit a fully completed application for permanent residence. This application will be accepted or rejected depending on whether the applicant meets relevant criteria.

Note: Applicants who receive an ITA may be asked to prove that the information they entered their Express Entry profile is accurate. If it is found that the applicant gave false information in his or her profile, the application will be refused and the applicant may be subject to further punishment such as:

  • Being deemed inadmissible to Canada

  • Being barred from entering Canada in any way for five years

Applicants who receive an ITA will have 60 days to apply for permanent residence. During the 60-day period, it is recommended that applicants be sure to complete the following:

1. Check Language Test Results

Applicants should check to make sure that their language test results will still be valid on the day that they submit their permanent residence application. Language test results are valid for two years. If the test results will expire before application submission, applicants should either.

  • Be tested again, or

  • Make sure to submit their application before the results expire, or

  • Decline their invitation to apply

2. Get a police certificate

Permanent residence applicants must obtain a police certificate for themselves and all family members over 18. Further, each family member must get a police certificate from each country in which they lived for more than six months while older than 18. It may take a long time for these police certificates to be processed, so applicants should begin obtaining the certificates as soon as possible.

3. Check program requirements

Once applicants have determined which skilled immigration program they will be applying to, they should confirm that they meet the requirements for that program:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program requirements

  • Federal Skilled Trade Program requirements

  • Canada Experience Class requirements

4. Update Personal Information

Applicants whose personal situation has changed since receiving an ITA should recalculate their Comprehensive Ranking System score using our online tool. If an applicant’s new score is lower than the minimum score selected in the same draw, it is recommended that the applicant deny the ITA.

If an applicant applies for permanent residence and it is discovered that their score is no longer high enough, the application will be refused and the application fee will not be refunded. Changes that can lower an applicant’s score include:

  • The loss of a job offers

  • The loss of provincial nomination for permanent residence

  • Expired language test scores

  • New language test results that are lower than prior results

Note: Adding a spouse or common-law partner can increase or decrease the applicant’s score based on the spouse or partner’s:

  • Language skills

  • Education

  • Chances of becoming successfully established in Canada

Applicants with an ITA who fail to apply for permanent residence within 60 days will be removed from the candidate pool. Applicants removed from the pool will have to make a new Express Entry profile and be accepted into the pool again in order to receive a new ITA.

Find out how to create an Express Entry profile.

5. Declining an Invitation to Apply

As seen above, in some cases, applicants will be better served by declining their ITA. Applicants who decline their ITAs will be placed back in the pool of candidates as long as they are still eligible for the Express Entry system. While in the pool, applicants should be sure to keep their personal information up to date.

Candidates in the pool should also seek opportunities to increase their Comprehensive Ranking Points Score score by:

  • Obtaining a job offer

  • Obtaining nomination for permanent residence by a provincial government

  • Improving their language test scores


Declining an ITA does not, in and of itself, have a negative effect on an applicant’s chances of getting another ITA in the future.

Candidates who fail to respond to an invitation to apply by either accepting or declining the invitation will be removed from the Express Entry pool.

Worldway Migration Services

bottom of page