Express Entry Program
January 7, 2015
On January 1, 2015, the Government of Canada launched the Express Entry Program.
The Express Entry Program is based on a similar program in New Zealand and Australia.
The Express Entry Program effect prospective immigrants who have applied through the:
- Federal Skilled Workers Program;
- Federal Skilled Trades Program;
- Canadian Experience Class Program; or
- The Provincial Nominee Program.
This program attempts to address many of the core issues with Canada’s Immigration system. It attempts to complete the government goal of focusing more on Economic Immigration.
How does it work?
Under the Express Entry Program, a prospective immigrant will have to set up an Express Entry Profile. The prospective immigration will then list there:
- Work experience;
- Language ability;
- Education and other factors.
If you do not already have a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LIMA), or a nomination under the Provincial Nominee Program, you will have to complete a Job Bank Profile on Employment and Social Development Canada’s Job Bank.
After you have completed your profile, you will be assessed based on a point based ranking system. This system will award you a maximum of 1,200 points. It will be awarded in according to the criteria found here [link to http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/express-entry/grid-crs.asp#a4]. The largest points  will be awarded to those who have been nominated under the Provincial Nominee Program or have arranged employment.
Those with the highest points will be invited to apply for Permanent Residency in Canada (link to Permanent Residency Page). The person will have up to 60 days to apply for Permanent Residency.
For an employer to take advantage of this program they must go through the already cumbersome LIMA process. Applying for a LIMA can take nearly 6 months and in that time there can be significant changes to market conditions, the needs of employer could change or the employees may no longer want to work for the employer. As a result, the program does not benefit employers as much as it could.
Students will be negatively affected by these changes. Under the old program, a Student who has recently completed a 4-year program in Canada and completed one year of work would qualify for Permanent Residency in Canada. Under the new model, the same applicant will have to gamble the Canadian Experience Class Program. The applicant will have to assure that they have sufficient points to receive an invite to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency.
The government has stated it will give points for Canadian experience. However, using the old criteria, the typical student will only receive about 408 points. To improve their chances their chances, they will likely have to pursue a nomination under the Provincial Nominee Program or will have to get an employer willing to sponsor him/her for a LIMA. A student might find the latter option to the easiest to fulfill because they may already have a job where they are currently employed but the wait time to receive a LIMA could place their status in jeopardy.
A similar problem exists for people nominated under existing worker programs who have managed to meet the Canadian Experience Class requirements.
While the goal of this program is laudable, it has left a significant number of holes in our immigration system which will impact many potential immigrants to this country.