Express Entry Explained

The Express Entry System Explained

Many people wonder if they’re eligible to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency under the Express Entry System. Or, If they already know they are eligible, they want to know what is required to apply and how long it takes.


The Canadian Government uses the Express Entry system to administer applications for 3 of their major immigration programs;


  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Canadian Experience Class Program


It also handles the processing of some of the Provincial Nomination Programs.


To apply through the Express Entry online system, you will have to meet the requirements of one of the immigration programs.

How Does Express Entry Work?

The best way to describe the Express Entry System is as an online file management system used by the Canadian Government for anyone who is applying for permanent residency under one of the immigration programs listed above.


If you don’t meet the minimum criteria of one of those immigration programs, then you cannot apply through the Express Entry System.


Once you submit your application through the Express Entry System you are placed in what’s called the Express Entry Pool. This is where all the candidates who are applying to one of the above immigration programs submit their application, and it is this “pool” of submitted applicants that the Canadian Government can draw upon to offer an invitation to apply for permanent residency in Canada.


Each application submitted into the Express Entry System is assigned a comprehensive ranking system score (CRS score). Points are then awarded to you based on a range of criteria including level of education, age, years of experience, and many more categories that we will cover in-depth later in this guide.


This CRS score is out of a total of 1200 points and this is the score that the government will use when they’re selecting people for permanent residency.


Once you are in the express entry pool and you’ve been assigned your comprehensive ranking system score, the government will conduct what’s called a draw. These draws occur on average every two weeks. A draw is when the Government goes to the express entry pool and selects a certain number of candidates. The number of candidates nominated is based purely on the needs of the Government to meet their policy requirements. The number of candidates selected from the pool varies with every draw and usually ranges from several hundred to several thousand people every fortnight.


What the Government will do is announce a certain number of candidates they wish to be selected; just say they announce 3100 people for this example draw. They will then go into the Express Entry System and pick the top 3100 people based on their CRS score alone.


If there is a tie for the last position among people with the same score and not enough positions to offer them all a place in this draw, those that submitted their application first would be picked before those who submitted them later.

Invitation to Apply - the all-important milestone

If you are one of the selected applicants in a “Draw” from the Express Entry pool, you then receive what’s called an Invitation to Apply or (ITA).


An Invitation to Apply is an invitation by the Canadian Government inviting you to submit your full application to be assessed for Permanent Residency in Canada.


After you have received the invitation to apply, you can submit your application for permanent residency. Once you receive that invitation, you will be given 90 days to submit your full application to the Canadian Government, and if it is approved, you will then be eligible to enter Canada to activate your permanent residency. Using the Express Entry system it is possible to secure Canadian Permanent Residency in as little as 6 – 12 months.


Whilst making an Express Entry application can seem daunting, trust us, it’s not. We have broken down the process into very easy-to-follow steps.


We will cover each of these steps in great detail through this guide.


The very first step though is to consider which of the three major immigration programs you are eligible to apply for.

Jacqueline Chow is an international immigration and visa expert with over 15 years of experience in the field. With a background in law and a passion for helping people, Jacqueline has built a reputation as a trusted and reliable source of information and advice on all aspects of immigration and visas. She has worked with clients from all over the world, including high-net-worth individuals, professionals, skilled workers and families. As a sought-after speaker and commentator Jacqueline has been featured in various media outlets and has given talks on immigration and visas at conferences and events around the world.