What is Canada’s Express Entry System?

October 15, 2020 Erik Prado

Canada’s Express Entry system exemplifies the country’s goal of becoming a top destination for immigrants 

Did you know that about 75% of Canada’s growth is attributed to immigration? The Canadian government is serious about welcoming immigrants, as evidenced by the government’s plan to allow 350,000 immigrants into Canada in 2021. To streamline the process of foreign nationals moving to, living and working in Canada, the government has created various systems to help, one of which is Express Entry.

Everything you need to know about Canada’s Express Entry system

What is Express Entry? 

Express Entry is used to manage applications for permanent residence from skilled workers, according to the Canadian government. Since 2015, Express Entry drawn nearly 230,000 foreign nationals into Canada to live in the country permanently. These groups include high-skilled foreign national workers and former international students.

In an infographic, Canada’s government has also listed the top five occupations of individuals who are invited to immigrate to Canada under Express Entry. These occupations are: 

  • Computer programmers 
  • Software engineers and designers
  • Information systems analysts
  • Advertising, marketing and public relations professionals
  • Financial auditors and accountants 

Navigating Express Entry 

The Express Entry process is relatively straightforward. First, individuals need to find out if they are eligible. This is important because under Express Entry, there are three different programs and each one has its own requirements. Potential applicants will need to answer questions on age, language ability, education, work experience and other factors. The Canadian government will then determine if an individual fits within one of the programs and is eligible to enter under the Express Entry system. 

Second, if an individual is eligible under the Express Entry system, he or she will then need to create a personal profile, which upon submission, will be moved into a pool of candidates and ranked based upon Canada’s points-based system. The Canadian government will conduct “draws” periodically and will issue out Invitations to Apply for PR to candidates in the pool with the highest scores.

Finally, if a candidate receives an Invitations to Apply for PR, he or she will have 60 days (90 days during COVID) to submit an electronic Application for Permanent Residence (eAPR) within the Express Entry system. 

As part of the application, individuals will need a list of required documents. Examples of these documents include: 

  • Passport or travel documents 
  • Language test results
  • Written job offer from a Canadian employer (if applicable)
  • Education Credential Assessment
  • Employer reference letters
  • Medical exams
  • Proof of funds
  • Police certificates 

In most cases once the application is submitted, individuals can expect to receive an adjudication within six months. 

Canada and Global Talent 

While Canada’s immigration system has slowed down for a good portion of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their government is still committed to being a destination for foreign talent. 

Over the next three years, Canada has set a goal to welcome 1.3 million immigrants into the country. 

These trends align with a recent survey from Envoy Global, which found that 51% of respondents said they are looking to expand their presence in Canada. In 2018, this number was 38%. 

Learn more about Canada’s immigration system by watching our on-demand webinar, The ABCs of Canadian Immigration


Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Jim Yang, who is a Global Immigration Manager in Canada.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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