Express Entry is an online application management and processing system through which Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), previously known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), can assess and select skilled workers who are seeking to become Canadian permanent residents. In order to apply through the Express Entry system, an applicant needs to be eligible in at least one of the following federal economic immigration streams:

  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC)

In addition, Express Entry system is also used by some provinces and territories of Canada to administer their ‘enhanced’ Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams.

In order to use the Express Entry system, there are two steps:

Step 1. Applicant creates his/her Express Entry profile

This step is initiated by the applicant. It requires the applicant to fill out information such as his/her language score, skilled work experience, education history and many other details. His/her profile will be created and placed in a pool of candidates, if he/she meets the eligibility criteria of one of the aforementioned federal economic streams (CEC, FSWC or FSTC).

Applicants receive score using an elaborate point grid system known as comprehensive ranking system (CRS), based on the details they have entered in their profile. Applicants who have higher score will rank higher in the pool of candidates and hence, may have high chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

It is important to note that, there is no guarantee that the applicant will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) after their Express Entry profile is accepted and scored.

Step 2. IRCC issues Invitation to Apply (ITA) to selected applicants

This step is initiated by the IRCC, meaning an applicant with an Express Entry profile will not be able to submit their PR application for consideration, unless they receive an ITA.

ITA’s are issued to the applicants after the IRCC conducts “draws”. At times, “Draws” conducted by IRCC, can be focused at certain immigration programs such as CEC, FSWC, FSTC, or PNP. IRCC also sets the number of applicants who will receive an ITA.

After receiving an ITA, the applicant has 60 days to submit their application which should include all the documentation to support the details they have entered in their profile.

If the applicant does not receive an ITA for 12 months, their profile will be removed from the pool and they will have to re-submit their profile to enter the pool of candidates, pending they still meet the eligibility criteria of either one of the CEC, FSWC or FSTC.