Starting in January 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will begin processing immigration applications in a new way that offers an opportunity for some skilled immigrants to move through the process faster. The “Express Entry” program (formerly referred to as “Expression of Interest”) is envisioned as a way to connect newcomers who possess in-demand skills with the Canadian employers who need them.
Base on a model developed and implemented in New Zealand, the Express Entry program marks a significant change for CIC, giving it a much more proactive role in application assessment and processing and increasing its direct relationship with Canadian companies looking for skilled workers. As former Immigration Minister Jason Kinney has said:
The [Express Entry] system will allow us to more actively match the best qualified applicants with employers and the jobs that are available, rather than just taking those who are first in line and dropping them into the general labour market to sink or swim, in which case too many are struggling to keep their head above waters in the current system.
How the Express Entry System Works
Here’s how the system works. Individuals looking to immigrate to Canada would indicate their interest by providing information online about their skills, language ability, education, work experience and other attributes. If they meet certain eligibility criteria, their “expression of interest” is placed in a pool and ranked against others. CIC would then invite only the best candidates, including those with high point scores, a qualifying job offer and/or provincial or territorial nomination, to apply for permanent residency through one of three programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class.
Expressions of interest that are not chosen after a period of time may be removed from the pool. As a result, application backlogs would not accumulate and processing times will be kept to a minimum.
At a March 2014 gathering of federal, provincial, and territorial immigration ministers, the ministers reinforced their commitment to collaborating on the Express Entry program as a way of meeting the continuing need to match immigration levels with economic demand, and reforming the immigration process so that it is more effective in meeting labour market needs across Canada.
If you’d like to learn more about the Express Entry program as its January 1, 2015 launch date approaches, Toronto immigration lawyer Larry Butkowsky can answer any questions you may have about how to proceed. His legal practice focuses solely on immigration law and he can assist you with any other issues you may be facing in making Canada your new home.
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