The launch of the Express Entry system in January 2015 marked a significant improvement from Canada’s previous approach to managing applications to its main economic class immigration programs.
Prior to Express Entry’s launch, Canada processed applications to the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) on a first-come, first-served basis. This approach meant that all candidates were guaranteed to have their applications reviewed, and those that met the requirements received permanent residence, provided they passed an admissibility check (for health, security, and criminality).
Under Express Entry, eligible candidates for the FSWC, FSTC and CEC programs as well as a portion of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) are ranked based on a score awarded under what is known as the Comprehensive Ranking System, or CRS.
The CRS considers factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French and candidates are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence through regular draws. Options for improving a candidate’s CRS score include improving language test results, gaining additional work experience, studying in Canada, or obtaining a job offer or a provincial nomination, among others.
The arrival of Express Entry helped to clear this backlog and reduce the wait time to 12 months or less. In the first-come, first-served approach applications always outnumbered the available permanent residence spots, creating significant backlogs that stretched into years and left candidates and their families in limbo.
Express Entry has changed Canada’s approach to skilled worker immigration. It is the new selection system for Canadian immigration, designed to select skilled workers for immigration to Canada. Express Entry is a completely electronic process involving the federal government, provincial governments, and Canadian employers.
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