What Express Entry program is the most suitable for me?

A brief explanation of the Express Entry process for potential Canadian immigrants

The Canadian government primarily accepts immigrants from lower socioeconomic classes through Express Entry.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class applications are managed by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) via the Express Entry system (CEC).

Before submitting an Express Entry profile to IRCC's website, a candidate must first achieve the minimum eligibility requirements for each of the three programs. A candidate's score will be determined by the Comprehensive Ranking System after they have expressed interest in becoming permanent residents of Canada (CRS).

The CRS is designed to discover prospects for skilled workers who will have the most success in the Canadian labor market. It assesses each applicant and assigns a score based on their human capital, taking into account factors like age, education, language proficiency, and work experience, among others.

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The Canadian government performs Express Entry lotteries regularly every two weeks, inviting applicants with the best CRS scores to apply to become permanent citizens.

Federal Skilled Workers Program

The FSWP is intended for foreign professionals with international work experience.

The following minimum requirements must be met: 

  • One year of continuous full-time employment or equivalent paid work experience, in a skilled occupation with a National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level of 0, A, or B within the previous ten years;
  • Language proficiency in either English or French that meets the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7;
  • An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report and a Canadian or international educational credential (certificate, diploma, or degree);
  • Satisfy the requirements for settlement money, demonstrating that the applicant has sufficient savings to support themselves in Canada; and
  • Score at least 67 points out of a possible 100 on the FWSP grid, which takes into account criteria including age, education, work experience, and more.

Federal Skilled Trades Program

An immigration route for experienced skilled trades workers, the FSTP is comparable to the FSWP. Given that there is no need to demonstrate educational levels, the FSTP may be a useful choice for some applicants. You need to have two years of experience in a skilled occupation, a full-time job offer from a Canadian company, or a certificate of qualification from a Canadian agency in order to qualify for permanent residence through this route.

The accompanying circumstances should be met to qualify:

  • A foreign national must have a certificate of qualification demonstrating that they are qualified to work in a skilled trade occupation in Canada;
  • Valid job offers of ongoing, paid, full-time employment from up to two employers in Canada for at least one year;
  • Evidence that the candidate possesses the fundamental language skills required by the IRCC (CLB 4 for reading and writing and CLB 5 for speaking and listening);

In the five years prior to applying, you must have two years of full-time job experience (or an equivalent amount of part-time work experience) in the skilled trade. You must also be able to demonstrate your abilities, work experience, and ability to fulfill the fundamental tasks of the position.

Canadian Experience Class

In order to encourage temporary foreign employees and international students to remain in Canada as permanent citizens, IRCC established the CEC in 2008.

The following prerequisites must be satisfied in order for a candidate to be qualified for the CEC:

  • One year in the past three years spent performing skilled, professional, or technical work in Canada;
  • A plan to live and work outside of Quebec;
  • A Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of 7 or higher for employment that falls under the NOC A category; or a CLB 5 for jobs in skilled trades.

An additional step must be taken by an international student who wants to remain in Canada after graduating: filing for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). It is not necessary to have a job offer in order to apply for a PGWP, which is an open work permit that allows you to work for a Canadian business for up to three years. Before submitting an application for the CEC, graduates can use this permission to gain the necessary professional job experience.

Which choice suits me the best?

The Express Entry option that is right for you ultimately depends on your unique situation. The best course of action is to conduct in-depth study and consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action for your needs in terms of timing, cost, and situation.

Since draws are held frequently and Express Entry will resume its pre-pandemic service criteria of six months in the second half of 2022, it is a very alluring choice for applicants. This implies that Express Entry will once more emerge as the most expeditious route for applicants of the economic class to acquire Canadian permanent residence.