Skip to content

Express Entry: What is Express Entry and how does it work?


    In our previous post, we introduced you to the different immigration programs and pathways for Canada. In this post, we will focus on one of the most popular and fastest ways to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker: Express Entry.

    What is Express Entry?

    Express Entry is an online system that manages applications for three federal economic immigration programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class.


    These programs are designed for skilled workers who have the qualifications, experience, and language ability to contribute to Canada’s economy and society.

    How does Express Entry work?

    Express Entry works in four steps:

    1. Create an online profile: You need to provide information about your skills, education, work experience, language ability, and other personal details. You also need to take a language test and get an educational credential assessment (ECA) if you have a foreign degree, diploma, or certificate. You can use the Document Checklist Tool to find out what documents you need to prepare.
    2. Enter the pool of candidates: Based on the information you provide in your profile, you will be given a score under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS ranks candidates based on factors such as age, education, work experience, language ability, and adaptability. You can use the CRS tool to calculate your score. You will also be assigned a code based on your occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC). You can use the NOC tool to find your code. Your profile will be valid for 12 months or until you receive an invitation to apply (ITA), whichever comes first.
    3. Receive an invitation to apply: Every few weeks, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducts a round of invitations and invites the highest-ranking candidates in the pool to apply for permanent residence. The minimum CRS score required to receive an ITA varies from round to round depending on the number of candidates and the available spaces. You can check the latest round of invitations to see the cut-off score and the date of the draw. You can also check the historical round of invitations to see the trends and patterns of previous draws. If you receive an ITA, you will have 60 days to submit your online application for permanent residence.
    4. Apply for permanent residence: You need to fill out the online form, upload supporting documents, pay the fees, and submit your application. You can use the application guide to help you with this step. IRCC will then review your application and make a decision. If your application is approved, you will receive a confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) and a permanent resident visa (if you need one). You will then need to prepare for your arrival and settlement in Canada.

    How can you improve your chances of getting an ITA?

    There are several ways you can improve your chances of getting an ITA through Express Entry:

    • Improve your language skills: Language ability is one of the most important factors in the CRS. The higher your language test results, the higher your CRS score. You can take English or French tests approved by IRCC, such as IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF. You can also claim additional points if you are bilingual or have strong French skills.
    • Gain more work experience: Work experience is another key factor in the CRS. The more work experience you have in a skilled occupation (NOC 0, A, or B), the higher your CRS score. You can also claim additional points if you have Canadian work experience or a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.
    • Increase your education level: Education is another important factor in the CRS. The higher your level of education, the higher your CRS score. You can also claim additional points if you have a Canadian degree, diploma, or certificate or if you have completed a study program in Canada.
    • Apply with your spouse or partner: If you are married or in a common-law relationship, you can apply with your spouse or partner as a principal applicant or as an accompanying dependent. You can share or transfer some CRS points with each other based on your respective skills, education, work experience, and language ability.
    • Get a provincial nomination: If you are interested in living and working in a specific province or territory in Canada, you can apply for a provincial nomination through one of the provincial nominee programs (PNPs). Each province or territory has its own PNP with its own criteria and streams. Some PNPs are aligned with Express Entry, which means you can apply online through your Express Entry profile. If you get a provincial nomination, you will receive an additional 600 CRS points, which will guarantee you an ITA in the next round of invitations.

    These are some of the ways you can improve your chances of getting an ITA through Express Entry. You can also use the Come to Canada tool to check your eligibility and explore other options.


    We hope that this post has given you a clear overview of how Express Entry works and how you can apply for permanent residence as a skilled worker.

    In our next post, we will discuss family sponsorship, another popular way to immigrate to Canada with your loved ones.