What is the Express Entry system and how does it work.

Skilled immigration is one of the top immigration programs in Canada. Express Entry is designed to make your path simple and straightforward (or is it?)

by Legally Canadian

The Express Entry system is an online application management system used by the Canadian government to manage applications for permanent residency through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Here’s how the Express Entry system works:

Eligibility assessment:

Prospective applicants are required to complete an eligibility assessment to determine if they meet the minimum requirements for one of the three programs. This includes meeting language proficiency requirements, having a certain level of education, and possessing relevant work experience. The eligibility is done via creating an online portal for Express Entry. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/account.html

  • TIP: You can calculate your eligibility by calculating your score for free in the EE calculator here.

Expression of Interest (EOI):

Eligible applicants are required to create an online Express Entry profile and submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) indicating their interest in immigrating to Canada. They are then assigned a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on factors such as age, education, language proficiency, work experience, job offer, and others, including their accompanying spouse and family members in Canada.

Pool of candidates:

The applicants with the qualifying CRS scores (those who have met any of the above programs requirements) are placed in a pool of candidates and are invited to apply for permanent residency during regular Express Entry draws. To see the scores selected in the past click here.

Invitations to Apply (ITA):

During the regular Express Entry draws, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) sends Invitations to Apply (ITA) to the highest-scoring candidates in the pool.

  • TIP: If you already qualify to enter the pool of candidates, create your profile. You can update it as your candidacy becomes more qualified. The portal is valid for 12 months since the day of creation.

Permanent Residency application:

Applicants who receive an ITA can then apply for permanent residency through one of the three programs. They must provide supporting documentation and undergo medical and security checks.

  • TIP: Print screen your questionnaire answers for your future reference. Once the application is submitted you will not be able to review your answers, if the need arises.


The final decision on the permanent residency application is made by IRCC. If approved, the applicant will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and a Permanent Resident (PR) visa or a status, if already in Canada.

The Express Entry system is designed to be fast and efficient, with most applications being processed in about six months (in pre-Covid times). It is important to keep in mind that your CRS score might change while you are in the pool, and some of the details are considered to be locked-in at the time you receive your ITA.

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