Top 6 questions asked about Express Entry



We frequently receive emails, comments to our web site and phone calls about the Express Entry system. Of course, we don’t have time to answer every question, so we have put together the top 6 questions asked about Express Entry:

1 – Is Express Entry replacing Federal Skilled Worker (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC)?

No. Express Entry is a new system of choosing Permanent Residents. One must first be qualified for one of the economic programs such as Federal Skilled Worker and Canadian Experience Class in order to be able to get into the Express Entry pool.

2 – What is the minimum score for language under Express Entry?

If you want to qualify for Express Entry, then you must first qualify for one of the economic programs such as Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class or Federal Skilled Trades. Your language score must meet the threshold of any of those programs you are trying to qualify for. For more on language score, go here.

3 – Can I qualify under Express Entry without a valid job offer (LMIA) or PNP nomination?

Yes. An LMIA or a PNP nomination will give you enough points to basically guarantee that you will be picked from the Express Entry pool. However, there aren’t nearly enough people with LMIA or PNP nominations, so those without them do have a chance.

On November 6, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that Canada will welcome between 260,000 and 285,000 new permanent residents in 2015. Most of them (63%) will come under economic categories. That’s more than 163,000 people. Of those, 47,000 to 51,000 of them will be Federal Skilled Workers who are majority applicants from outside of Canada with no Canadian work experience.

4 – What’s the minimum number of points do I need to qualify?

That’s a question that cannot be answered as there is no minimum threshold. However, it is estimated that those above 400 points will have a decent chance of being selected.

5 – Besides getting a PNP nomination or an LMIA, are there ways for me to improve my total points?

Yes. Some of the ways you could increase your points would be to:

– Increase your language test score
– Even if you don’t need it for the program you are qualifying for, have your credentials assessed
– Make sure your application is properly submitted into the system
– Consult with a professional

6 – Are there occupations that are not qualified under Express Entry?

Any occupation considered to be skilled under the National Occupational Classification will be considered.

Submitting the Express Entry application is the backbone of your full Permanent Residency process. Be sure that you know what you’re getting into as any mistakes made at this point could potentially ruin the application down the road.

New Language Requirements Under the Revised Federal Skilled Worker Program – CLB to IELTS

Qualifying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program will require meeting minimum language requirements under rules that will be put in place in early 2013

New language requirements under the new Federal Skilled Worker program

CLB to IELTS Conversion

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has released more details about the new Federal Skilled Worker program, which will be launched in January of 2013, and it includes changes to how language proficiency is assessed. In an interview with CICS News, Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) Alex Khadempour said applicants would need to focus more on language under the new rules:

“If you are looking to apply for the new Federal Skilled Worker program, it’s best to start by understanding the new language requirements and to write your exam as soon as possible so that you don’t miss the window of opportunity before the quota fills up.”

“CIC plans to significantly increase the maximum points awarded for proficiency in the English and French languages from 24 points to 28 points, making language the single biggest factor in an application’s chances of being accepted,” he added.

Details of the proposed changes

First Official Language:

According to a bulletin released by CIC, an applicant must prove a minimum proficiency in each of the four language abilities, speaking, listening, reading and writing, that is at the Canadian Language Benchmark 7 (CLB 7) level for English or is at the Niveau de compétence linguistique canadien 7 (NCLC 7) level for French, in order to qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) program.

For the English language requirement, CLB 7 is equivalent to scoring 6 on the IELTS. For the French language requirement, NCLC 7 is equivalent to scoring 309, 248, 206 and 309 on the speaking, listening, reading and writing modules of the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF), respectively. 4 points are awarded for each of the four language abilities, meaning that all candidates that meet the mandatory minimums on all language abilities will have at least 16 points.

The bulletin also states that applicants will be awarded one extra point for each language ability for which they score CLB 8 or NCLC 8 and two extra points if they score CLB 9 or NCLC 9 (for a maximum of 24 points).

The IELTS equivalent to CLB 8 is 7.5, 6.5, 6.5 and 6.5 on Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The TEF equivalent to NCLC 8 is 349, 280, 233, and 349 on Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking, respectively.

The IELTS equivalent to CLB 9 is 7.5+, 6.5+, 6.5+, and 6.5+ on Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The TEF equivalent to NCLC 9 is 349+, 280+, 233+, and 349+ on Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking, respectively.

Second Official Language:

The number of points awarded for proficiency in a second official language will be reduced from 8 to 4 under the new rules, making focusing on studying a single language a more viable strategy for those seeking to qualify for immigration to Canada.

How to Prepare for New Canadian Immigration Rules

New Canadians taking the Citizenship Oath. The Federal Skilled Worker Program will resume in January 2013 with new rules, and you can take steps now to increase chances of being eligible.

A guide provided by Jim Metcalfe of Pace Immigration provides tips on what hopeful Canadian immigrants can do to prepare for changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program:

Now that the Minister of Immigration  has signalled his intention to change the selection criteria for the Federal Skilled Worker program, it is a good idea to plan ahead if you want to apply.

The guide advises that would-be applicants take steps now to prepare to apply rather than waiting until the new occupation list is released, as it could be too late by then. It cites past openings of the Federal Skilled Worker Program to new applications which saw the quotas for some listed occupations fill up over night.

The specific steps suggested by the guide are:

  1. You and your spouse doing an English or French language test, (the IELTS test and TEF test, respectively), as the new FSW assessment rules will award points for language proficiency for both the principal applicant and the spouse, rather than only the principal applicant as is the case now.
  2. Prepare a resume, and ensure the experience listed matches the description of duties and responsibilities in the NOC (National Occupation Classification) for the occupation you are applying under. Also look through the NOC to see if you qualify for other occupations.
  3. Prepare your “education documents, transcripts and course descriptions” as the new FSW program will require that you to get an assessment of the foreign credential’s equivalent value in Canada.
  4. Prepare “biographical documents and proof of funds”.
  5. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, make sure they make the same preparations in case your spouse’s occupation is on the list.
  6. If you need further assistance, consult with a qualified professional.

CICS Immigration Consulting recommends considering these additional steps as well:

  1. Improve your English and/or French language skills. Language will play a bigger role under the new FSW assessment rules.
  2. Look for a job in Canada: temporary foreign workers in skilled occupations (defined as as skill type 0, A or B in the NOC) will only require one year of full-time Canadian work experience to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class under coming changes, rather than 24 months of work experience required now. The new Federal Skilled Worker Program will also award more points for Canadian work experience than foreign work experience.
  3. If you have a long time horizon for immigrating to Canada and are willing to enter a new line of work to do so, consider starting a career in a skilled trade, like welder, heavy duty equipment mechanic and millwright, as they are in high demand in Canada and will offer a new route to immigration through a newly created Federal Skilled Trades Program.