In case you haven’t already heard, in April 2014 Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander announced the launch of the Express Entry program in January 2015 for economic immigrants to Canada.

The Express Entry program, which is a rebranded and restructured version of the Expression of Interest program, will be a departure from Canada’s more passive economic immigration system which gave priority to applicants who were first in line rather than those who were best suited to Canada’s economic realities.

The Express Entry program will work in two steps:
1.    An applicant who wants to immigrate to Canada will submit information online about their skills, education, work experience, language ability, and other qualifications.
2.    Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will be placed in a pool and ranked against the other applicants already in the pool. Then, CIC will invite the best candidates to apply for a visa.

Applicants who are not chosen after a certain amount of time will be removed from the pool, which will prevent backlogs from forming which have been a chronic problem with Canada’s immigration system in the past decade.

According to Minister Alexander, the Express Entry program is expected to offer greater flexibility for the provincial and federal governments to respond to regional labour shortages. The program will be open to skilled immigrants under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), Federal Skilled Trades (FST), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and part of the Provincial Nominee (PNP) programs. For the purposes of immigration, “skilled” refers to applicants in positions related to management, business, finance, administration, sciences, and health under most circumstances.

Express Entry applicants who fall under these categories and receive an acceptable job offer or PNP nomination will also be invited to apply for permanent residence, which is the key distinction from the Temporary Foreign Worker program.

The processing time for applicants who qualify for the Express Entry program is expected to be brief at around only six months.

Also keep in mind that the Express Entry program will overlap with other federal government economic initiatives. The federal Economic Action Plan is expected to invest $14 million over the first two years of the Express Entry program and $4.7 million per year thereafter. The Government of Canada job bank is also being overhauled to better match employers with their prospective employees.

If you're considering coming to Canada for work, contact us for a consultation.

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