Canada’s New Express Entry System: Impacts to the Permanent Residence Process for Foreign Nationals

Canada’s New Express Entry System: Impacts to the Permanent Residence Process for Foreign Nationals

On January 1, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) announced the new Express Entry (“EE”) Program, a new permanent residence (“PR”) system that aims to provide greater access for foreign nationals seeking PR and benefits for employers seeking workers.

The EE program has several new features. In terms of process, eligible applicants will be entered into a pool with other candidates and CIC will then choose candidates from that pool and invite them to apply for PR. It also introduces a Comprehensive Ranking System (“CRS”) that gives each applicant a score (up to a maximum of 1200) that will factor into them being selected.

Arranged Employment or Provincial Nomination Required

Applicants must fall under one of the existing federal economic programs (i.e. Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Provincial Nominee Program), but that is not enough on its own. In addition, they must register a Job Seeker profile on the Job Bank to be matched with an employer or:

1) currently have a Labour Market Opinion/Labour Market Impact Assessment-based work permit with a Canadian employer (worth 600 points); or

2) have an employer willing to make a full-time permanent job offer and obtain a LMIA BEFORE they are allowed into the pool of candidates (worth 600 points); or

3) have an employer willing to make a full-time permanent job offer and obtain a Provincial Nomination Certificate BEFORE they are allowed into the pool of candidates (worth 600 points).

Without a LMIA, provincial nomination, or Job Bank registration, applicants will not be able to enter the pool of candidates, and will not be eligible to receive an invitation to apply for PR. This includes foreign nationals presently in Canada on LMIA-exempt work permits, like intra company transferees, NAFTA work permit holders and students with post-graduate work permits.

Regular Draws from the Pool of Candidates

CIC has indicated that they will draw candidates from the pool and invite them to apply for PR regularly (about once a month). The Minister of CIC will issue instructions on the type of draw and number of applicants chosen before each draw; however, there is no way to know exactly when or how the draws will take place in advance.

The first draw was announced a few seconds before midnight on January 31, 2015 and the draw ended on February 1, 2015; so, not a long window. The first draw saw 779 applicants picked, all of which had 886 points or more.

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If you were preparing an application to file before the change, you will need to reevaluate. Express Entry will likely require you to submit additional documentation and education assessments that you may not have needed before the change.

Dale & Lessmann LLP invites you to contact our experienced Immigration Practice Group for assistance in navigating the complex new requirements of the Express Entry System.