Express Entry - The New Immigration Management System Introduced By Canada
Effective this past January 1, 2015, Canada introduced a new immigration management system called Express Entry. What it is, is a new 2-step, expedited, electronic immigration management system, to speed up the administration of processing permanent resident applications to Canada under either the Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trade, Canadian Experience Class, or a Provincial Nominee Program.
To be able to use Express Entry, all applicants must first register and set-up an account at myCIC. Then using your myCIC log-in you can then create an Express Entry profile - this profile includes human capital factors such as age, level of education, language proficiency (in English and/or French), and Canadian work experience along with personal information such as marital status, family composition, foreign work experience, etc. Applicants profiles are then assigned a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, with a maximum possible score of 1200 points, 500 are allocated to human capital factors, 100 on the basis of skills transferability factors, and 600 on the basis of possessing either a positive Labour Impact Market Assessment (LMIA) and a full-time permanent job offer, or a Provincial Nominee Program nomination.
Then every month, the Government of Canada conducts draws based on the highest ranking candidates, and issues Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to these individuals or primary applicants, to apply for permanent residency.
At this point (Step two), upon receipt of an invitation, the applicant would submit their official application for permanent resident status, along with all supporting documents and material. From the time of receiving an ITA, invitees have a maximum of 60 days to complete their application and submit it electronically. If invitees do not meet this 60-day deadline, then the candidate is deemed to have withdrawn their interest in immigrating, and their Express Entry profile expires. To participate in future Express Entry draws, the applicant would have to resubmit a new Express Entry profile in order to enter new draws from the candidate pool.
If invitees do meet the 60-day deadline, then the applicant’s application is processed. The Government of Canada has publicly committed to a timeline of 6-months to process and approve permanent residency applications, but at this early stage, it remains to be seen whether they will be able to meet this commitment. Once the applicant’s package has been processed and the information validated and verified, they will be issued visas to take to a Canadian port-of-entry, in order to be admitted as permanent residents – however, all approved applicants still need to meet admissibility requirements at the port-of-entry.
Clearly, this is a much more efficient system compared to prior to January 1, 2015, but certain biases have also developed under this new system.
Under the previous system, qualification under one of the four immigration programs mentioned above, and applying before the program thresholds were reached, gave a reasonable degree of success of that applicant’s permanent resident application status. However today, qualification under one of the four programs is only the first screening step – all applicants still need to set up an Express Entry profile, and be ranked amongst all other applicants amongst the total Express Entry applicant pool. Acceptance is also not assured merely by submitting an Express Entry profile.
Furthermore, the Express Entry profile introduces a bias towards younger skilled workers, who have a higher than average language proficiency in either English or French, and who have either Canadian work experience or arranged employment when completing their profile. These factors raise the applicant’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, as well as their chances of having their names drawn for an ITA. Applicants over the age of 45 years now score a zero in the age category, as would any applicants without Canadian work experience or having arranged employment. This represents missing out on 770 of a possible 1,200 points for just those factors alone.
Just lacking a job offer alone is discouraging many new potential immigrants to Canada. Although younger applicants, such as international students with Canadian university degrees, and at least one year of Canadian work experience gained under a post-graduate work permit could qualify under the Canadian Experience Class program, others are finding getting enough points very difficult.
This position is being supported by the program’s statistics, as published in the Express Entry Mid-Year Report. The system recorded 112,700 people creating Express Entry Profiles, but 48,723 were deemed ineligible, and 6,441 were withdrawn after being created. As of July 6, 2015, 12,928 invitations to apply for permanent residency were issued, but only 7,528 applications (principal applicants) were received, 655 (principal applicants) have been approved and 411 principal applicants and dependents were admitted to Canada.
It may be interesting to note that at the start of 2015, there were still some 239,000 economic class permanent residency applications already in process before Express Entry was launched. The annual target at the start of the year was set to be approximately 181,000 new permanent residents – by processing those already in the queue, Canada could already have filled their 2015 targets. It remains to be seen what the composition of the current fiscal year’s target will be, between the old system and new Express Entry applicants.
There are clearly challenges with the implementation of the new expedited electronic immigration system this year. Six months is a short time frame to accurately assess the success of the program, but it offers the promise of clear benefits once fully realized. In the meantime, retaining the services of an expert immigration professional may offer some benefits to someone unfamiliar with the Canadian immigration system.
About The Author:
Matt Bomer is an expert in immigration law who also likes to write many interesting articles and blogs, helping people understand many aspects of these regulations and make the right decisions.
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