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The Express Entry System, introduced in 2015, aims to simplify and speed up the immigration process for skilled workers who want to live and work in Canada. It’s a point-based system where candidates earn points based on age, language skills, work experience, and provincial or territorial nominations. The higher your score, the better your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada. PR applications process through Express Entry is within 6 to 12 months. Applying for PR through Express Entry has several advantages. You do not need a job offer to apply under any federal programs. The processing time for permanent residency in Canada is 6 to 8 months, making it one of the quickest routes.

The Express Entry program has three main federal categories for immigration:

What are the Features of Express Entry?

  • Always Open: The program is online and available throughout the year.
  • Eligibility: It applies only to three programs: Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades, and Federal Skilled Worker.
  • Submit Your Interest: You should submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and apply for a job in one of the TEER Categories (0, 1, 2, or 3).
  • Points-Based Evaluation: Your profile will be evaluated based on a points system. Higher points increase your chances of being admitted to the applicant pool.
  • Talent Pool: Canadian employers and provinces can access this pool to find candidates who meet their needs.
  • Invitation to Apply (ITA): Candidates with the highest points in the pool receive an ITA for a Permanent Residency (PR) Visa.
  • Quota: The latest Canada Immigration Levels Plan determines the number of ITAs offered.

To apply for the Express Entry Program, you need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Age: You can earn up to 12 points for your age. There is no maximum age limit for moving to Canada, but the most points are for candidates aged between 18-29
  • Education: Having qualifications equivalent to those recognized by the Canadian Education Board shows that you can support yourself and your family in Canada. Ideally, a bachelor’s degree or equivalent diploma from a recognized university and a post-graduate degree is also beneficial.
  • Work Experience: You can earn up to 15 points for your work experience. Canada welcomes skilled professionals through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), making job experience in targeted occupations very beneficial.
  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP): You need at least one year of full-time work experience, or 1,560 hours of part-time work, in a skilled job within the last ten years. This experience can be inside or outside Canada, paid or unpaid, but it must be in a field listed on the National Occupation Classification ( NOC.)
  2. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP): You need at least two years of full-time work experience, or an equivalent amount of part-time work, in a specific skilled trade within the last five years before applying.
  • Language Skills: Canada has two official languages: English and French. Being able to speak both is an advantage. You will take the IELTS or CLB exams to prove your language skills.
  • Proof of Funds: Provide evidence of having enough funds to support yourself and your family in Canada. The required amount depends on your family size. Check here. The money must be in liquid assets, meaning it should easily convert to cash. Show that you have had these funds for at least six months before applying.

Step-by-Step Guide to Apply for PR in Canada Through Express Entry

1: Get Your Education Credentials Assessed: Have your educational credentials assessed by an authorized Canadian body like WES, ICAS, or CES. It ensures your education meets Canadian standards.

2: Take Your IELTS Exam: Complete the IELTS or CELPIP exam, scoring above the minimum required marks in Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.

3: Create an Express Entry Profile: Register online under the federal Express Entry program to create your profile. They will place your profile in the Express Entry pool with other candidates.

4: Apply for a Provincial Nomination (Optional): Getting a provincial nomination from one of the 13 provinces in Canada can boost your chances. In the Canada PR points system, it can add 600 points.

5: Receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA): If your CRS score meets an Express Entry draw cut-off, you will get an ITA for permanent residency. You will have 60 days to submit your complete application and supporting documents.

6: Complete Police and Medical Background Checks: Undergo mandatory police and medical checks to prove you are in good health and have no criminal record.

7: Application Review by IRCC: Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will review your application and verify your documents. This process takes about 4-5 months.

Receiving an ITA (Invitation to Apply)

An Invitation to Apply (ITA) is a crucial part of the Express Entry system. It’s essentially an invitation from the Canadian government to apply for permanent residency. Candidates in the Express Entry pool who meet or exceed the CRS score cut-off in a particular draw receive ITAs. In the Express Entry system, candidates create a profile detailing their skills, work experience, education, language abilities, and other relevant information. Based on this information, each candidate is assigned a CRS score. The Canadian government draws from the Express Entry pool and invites candidates with the highest CRS scores to apply for permanent residency through an ITA.

After creating your profile and entering the pool, the ITA is your next step in the Express Entry process. It is your ticket to apply for permanent residency in Canada.


The Express Entry Program has changed the path to Canadian permanent residency for skilled workers since its inception in 2015. With its efficient, points-based system and expedited processing times, the program offers one of the most accessible routes to living and working in Canada. “To increase your chances of getting an ITA for permanent residency, meet the eligibility criteria and maximize your CRS score. Contact Japapartners for personalized assistance and expert guidance throughout the application process.


Author Chinwe

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