Express Entry: Determining Your Eligibility to Immigrate to Canada

Express Entry

Are you eligible? Determining whether you can apply under the Express Entry System can be confusing, but here are some of the basics.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Express Entry is a system put in place to “manage applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs.” These economic immigration programs include the Federal Skilled Workers Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canada Experience Class.

Requirements for eligibility vary depending on the class you wish to apply under, though for all programs you must be legally admissible to Canada and be intending to live in a province or territory other than Quebec. Candidates also have to achieve a minimum score on the Comprehensive Ranking System. Points can be scored based on age, education, language ability, certifications, and Canadian and non-Canadian work experience.

Here are some of the major requirements for each of the three economic programs:

Federal Skilled Workers Program

As CIC explains, if you’re hoping to become a permanent resident through the Federal Skilled Workers Program, you must first meet the minimum requirements for work experience, language ability, and education.

Work experience must be a year of full-time or equivalent part-time paid work in the same job within the last 10 years, and the job must be of skill type 0 or skill levels A or B of the 2011 National Occupational Classification. The language requirements include proof of Canadian Language Benchmark 7 in the form of CIC-approved language test results from within the last two years. For education, applicants need either a Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree, or a completed foreign credential and an assessment of that credential from a CIC-approved agency that shows that the completed education is equivalent to a comparable Canadian credential.

Applications are also assessed based on federal skilled worker points. CIC will assign points based on the following factors:

  • skills in English and/or French
  • education
  • work experience
  • age
  • presence/absence of a valid job offer, and
  • the applicant’s perceived adaptability to live in Canada.

Furthermore, applicants need to be able to prove that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their family, unless they can already legally work in or have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada.

Federal Skilled Trades Program

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, skilled workers must fulfill minimum work experience and language ability requirements.

Work experience must include at least two years of full-time work experience (or equivalent part-time work experience) within the last five years in a skilled trade. Applicants must also show that they have experience performing the duties for an eligible skilled trade outlined by the National Occupation Classification (NOC) in Major Group 72, 72, 82, or 92, or Minor Group 632 or 633.

Language ability scores can be lower than those for the skilled workers program: Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for speaking and listening, and Canadian Language Benchmark 4 for reading and writing. Satisfactory results from a CIC-approved language test are also required.

Applicants must also have either an offer of full-time employment for a full year minimum or be certified in their skilled trade by a Canadian provincial or territorial authority. Individual provinces /territories have specific requirements regarding trades qualifications and the process for assessment, so finding out how the program works in the province/territory where you wish to live is important.

Canada Experience Class

To be eligible under the Canada Experience Class, CIC specifies that you must meet the minimum work experience and language ability requirements.

Minimum work experience is 12 months of skilled work experience (or equivalent part-time) in Canada, with the proper authorisation, within the three years prior to applying for CEC. This work must fit the requirements of the National Occupation Classification for one of the following: managerial jobs (NOC skill level 0), professional jobs (NOC skill type A), or technical jobs and skilled trades (NOC skill type B). The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that their work experience includes having fulfilled the duties detailed by the NOC.

Minimum language levels are Canadian Language Benchmark 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs or Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for NOC B jobs, with results proven by a CIC-approved language test.

We can help you with your application.

The explanation of the requirements for each economic program listed here is not comprehensive, and every case presents its own challenges. We’re up to the task of helping you navigate the system by guiding you through the complexities and issues you may face.

Our lawyers and their staff are experienced independent practitioners affiliated with registered law firms. They have been carefully selected by VisaPlace to help you based on their experience and client service approach in Canadian and U.S. immigration law.

Click here to book a 1 on 1 consultation, or call us at 1-888-317-5770.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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