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If you’re a professional or skilled worker looking to settle in Canada, Express Entry is one pathway you might consider. There are a range of different ways of getting legal permission to live and work in Canada - so this isn’t the only choice open to you. However, if you meet the eligibility criteria, it can be a good way to move towards becoming a Canadian permanent resident.
This guide runs through the basics of Express Entry, including:
- What it is, and who is eligible
- The amount of money you’ll need to set aside
- The documents you can use as proof of funds
- Where to find the Express entry points calculator
- The likely time it takes to process an application
- Where you can find information about the latest draw
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Now, let’s get back to what you came here to read.
Let’s start with the basics. Express Entry is a route to permanent residence in Canada, which is designed for skilled workers and professionals. If you fulfil the basic minimum criteria, you’ll be able to submit a profile online to the Canadian authorities, including documents proving you meet the eligibility criteria. You’ll then be scored based on how well you fit the eligibility requirements, with the top scoring applicants invited to apply for permanent residence¹.
There are several different programs which allow Express Entry²:
- Canadian Experience Class
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
These routes to entry are intended for managers, people doing a professional job, and people with a technical or skilled job. Education requirements differ between the different programs. For all programs you need to demonstrate language ability in English or French, as well as a fixed level of work experience according to the program selected. For the Skilled Trade route you’ll need to have a job offer lined up in advance or else provide a certificate of qualification from a Canadian authority - the other routes are open to applicants who do not yet have a job offer in hand².
It’s also helpful to know that there’s a Provincial Nominee Program which can work hand in hand with the Express Entry route. If you know where you want to live in Canada you can apply for sponsorship from that province under the Provincial Nominee Program. You may be accepted if you have skills which are in demand in that area³.
Check out the detailed information - and check your own eligibility - on the Canadian government website.
Once you have started your online application for Express Entry, and uploaded the required documents, the system will show you the fees you need to pay. You’ll then be invited to pay online. If you don’t want to pay the full amount up front immediately, you can choose to pay only the processing fee at first, with the right of residence fee paid later⁴.
As well as the application fee listed below, you may need to pay a biometric fee. You’ll be advised of this during your application. Fees vary from time to time, so make sure you have the most up to date information before you apply.
Here are the details from the December 2020 update⁵:
|Application for yourself or your spouse including processing fee and right of permanent residence fee
|CAD1,325 per person
|Application for yourself or your spouse including processing fee only
|CAD825 per person
|Application to include a dependent child
|CAD225 per child
If you’re applying for Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Worker or Federal Skilled Trades routes, and don’t yet have a valid job offer, you’ll also need to prove you have the funds available to pay for yourself and your dependents in Canada. Your dependents include your partner, and your own or your partner’s children under the age of 22⁽⁶⁾.
The funds required depend on the size of family you have. You need to count all dependents - even if they’re already Canadian permanent residents or are not coming to Canada with you. The listed funding requirements are a minimum - if you have more money available, you can list that as part of your application.
These are the minimum funding requirement according to family size⁷:
|Number of family members
|For each additional family member
*These requirements are updated regularly by the Canadian government - check the latest details online before you apply
If you’re required to show proof of funds as part of your application, you’ll need to upload documentary evidence of the money you have available.
It’s important to note that the funds must be available at the point you apply - and also when you arrive in Canada if your application is successful. The money should be easily accessible. That means you can’t rely on funds from another person, or equity in real estate for example. If you’re traveling with a spouse you may be able to use funds in a joint account - or one held in the name of your spouse only - as long as you can prove access to these funds.
To show you have the money required you’ll have to provide letters from your bank or any financial institutions which are holding your money. These letters must⁷:
- Be printed on the bank’s headed paper
- Include the bank’s full address and contact information
- Include your name and any outstanding debts or loans you have
- Cover full details for any account including account number, opening date, current balance and average balance over the past 6 months
Once your application is submitted, it will be assessed by the Canadian authorities using a points system. The information you give is measured against a comprehensive ranking system, using information like your skills, experience, age and your pre-existing connections to Canada⁸.
You can check your eligibility using the Canadian government Express Entry calculator here. This will show your score out of a total of 1,200 points available.
If you are invited to apply to Express Entry after submitting your details, you’ll have 90 days to complete a full application for permanent residence. Assuming you send in all the required documents immediately, the processing time should be under 6 months¹.
There are draws for eligibility for Express Entry throughout the year. Different draws offer entry under different routes, with some open to all applications, and others open to only those who have applied under a specific program. You can find the most up to date listings of the number of invitations issued under Express Entry and the minimum scores required to be invited, on the Canadian government website.
To give an idea, in the January 21, 2021, 4,626 invitations were issued under the Express Entry system, with the minimum number of points required for eligibility being 454⁽⁹⁾.
Every year many people look to move to Canada to start a new life. Depending on the type of work and lifestyle you expect to have, the Express Entry route could be a good way to gain Canadian permanent residence status, allowing you to settle indefinitely. When you’re thinking about how to move your savings to Canada, check out low cost international payment providers like Wise. Chances are it will be a lot cheaper than your bank. With no markup on the mid-market exchange rate and low and transparent fees, you’ll know exactly what you’re paying upfront.
Good luck with your application!
Sources used for this article:
1.Government of Canada - How Express Entry works
2.Government of Canada - Compare all Express Entry programs
3.Government of Canada - How the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) works
4.Government of Canada - Fees for Express Entry
5.Government of Canada - Fee list
6.Government of Canada - Find out if your child is a dependant
7.Government of Canada - Proof of funds – Skilled immigrants (Express Entry)
8.Government of Canada - How we rank your Express Entry profile
9.Government of Canada - Express Entry rounds of invitations
*Source last checked on January 29, 2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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