How to get Express Entry to Canada in 2021

How to get Express Entry to Canada in 2021

MAR 16, 2021

|

NICKY VAN ZYL

Express Entry is the most popular way to achieve permanent residency (PR) in Canada. It is a points-based system that fast tracks the immigration process for skilled foreign workers which include professionals and tradespeople. Candidates who meet the minimum requirements of one of three programs that are managed by Express Entry Canada, i.e.Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), will be entered into the Express Entry pool where they stand a chance of receiving Invitations to Apply (ITA) for PR in Canada.

The Canadian Federal Government plans on issuing 108,500 ITAs in 2021 during bi-weekly Express Entry draw rounds! So, what is different about Express Entry this year? How do the current travel restrictions impact Express Entry draws? How can skilled foreign workers get Express Entry invites to Canada in 2021? Find out below!

Express Entry Canada Eligibility in 2021

Express-Entry-Canada-2021-infographic

The minimum requirements to enter the Express Entry pool did not change in 2021. The first step a candidate must take is to check for which Express Entry program they qualify for based on their occupation and work experience. Then, they can create an Express Entry profile, receive CRS scores, and if need be, there are a few additional things they can do to increase their points to ensure that they receive ITAs.

Express Entry Immigration Programs

Provinces nominate Express Entry candidates based on the labor market needs of their respective jurisdictions, and they also have Express Entry aligned immigration programs. This means that candidates can also send an expression of interest (EOI) from their Express Entry profiles to an appropriate province to draw their attention. Ideally, a candidate should check the 11 Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs) to see which province is looking for someone with their credentials.

Meeting the minimum requirements of an Express Entry program does not mean a candidate will definitely receive an Express Entry invitation to apply to immigrate to Canada. It does, however, allow candidates to create Express Entry profiles, receive CRS scores and be in the running for potential ITAs.

 
Express Entry Immigration Programs
Canadian Experience Class Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
NOC A, O, and B NOC A, O, and B NOC B
English or French language skills: CLB 7 if your NOC is O or A
CLB 5 if your NOC is B
English or French language skills: CLB 7 English or French language skills: CLB 5 for speaking and listening
CLB 4 for reading and writing
One year of Canadian work experience in the last three years One year of work experience in the last 10 years Two years of work experience in the last five years
No job offer required No job offer required A valid job offer required OR a certificate of qualification issued by a Canadian provincial authority
 

What’s your NOC? The National Occupation Classification system is an occupational category used by the IRCC to divide jobs by skill levels. Find yours here.

Canada’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)

People-at-work-cheering-happy-celebrating-express-entry-canada

Express Entry profiles are ranked according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). It is a points-based grid that allocates points to candidates according to the following eligibility criteria:

  • Age
  • Level of education
  • English or French language proficiency
  • Years of work experience
  • Arranged employment
  • Spouse’s credentials
  • Family in Canada
  • Provincial nomination achieved

The ideal Express Entry candidate in 2021 will be under 30 years of age. He/she will hold a post-secondary degree. They will be able to demonstrate moderate to high English and/or French language proficiency and have at least three years of skilled work experience.

Additional criteria such as having arranged employment in Canada, or achieving a provincial nomination can significantly boost a low CRS score. If a job offer is for a highly skilled job position in NOC 00 then the candidate can receive an additional 200 points. Even better, Express Entry candidates that achieve provincial nominations get an additional 600 points added to their profiles. This basically guarantees that they will receive ITAs since cut-off scores range between 450-500 CRS points.

What is a Provincial Nomination?

A provincial nomination is a letter of interest sent to Express Entry candidates from one of 11 provinces of Canada. When a candidate accepts the letter of interest they become a provincial nominee and must settle in the province that selected them when they move to Canada.

How to Achieve a Provincial Nomination in 2021

Provinces nominate Express Entry candidates based on the labor market needs of their respective jurisdictions, and they also have Express Entry aligned immigration programs. This means that candidates can also send an expression of interest (EOI) from their Express Entry profiles to an appropriate province to draw their attention. Ideally, a candidate should check the 11 Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs) to see which province is looking for someone with their credentials.

Express Entry Draws Outlook in 2021

Toronto-skyline-at-night-express-entry-canada
 

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) was the most popular Express Entry program in 2019 and invited 38, 809 foreign nationals to immigrate to Canada that year. The FSWP does not require candidates to have prior Canadian work experience, nor do they need Canadian qualifications. However, in 2020 we noticed a change in program preference. The majority of Express Entry ITAs were issued to Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates as well as those who have Provincial Nominations.

CEC candidates and provincial nominees typically have Canadian work experience and/or qualifications. In fact, the majority of them already live in Canada with work permits or temporary resident visas. We can only suspect that COVID-19 influenced the change in program preference due to the current travel restrictions in Canada. Even if you have a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), you can still not travel to Canada.

When will Express Entry to Canada in 2021 get back to normal? Judging by the recent Express Entry draws in January and February 2021, we can see that all draws remain restricted to candidates in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or those who had successfully applied through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The biggest Express Entry draw in history took place on February 13, 2021, and invited a whopping 27,332 candidates from the CEC program. The cut-off score was only 75 points!

 
Express Entry Draw List 2021
Draw Date Number of Invitations Issued Express Entry Program and Minimum CRS Points Required
January 6 250 PNP-Specific
813
January 7 4,750 CEC
461
January 20 374 PNP-Specific
741
January 21 4, 626 CEC
454
February 10 654 PNP-Specific
720
February 13 27, 332 CEC
75
 

No one can yet confirm when Express Entry draws will get back to normal, and consider candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) too. On a brighter note, Canada’s vaccination campaign is accelerating and a large portion of the Canadian population should soon be immunized. The IRCC has stated previously that they have plans to help more skilled foreign workers stay in Canada to boost its economic recovery.

Need help getting Express Entry to Canada in 2021? With the current Express Entry patterns, it can be difficult for some foreign nationals to receive ITAs and immigrate to Canada. Consult with our certified visa professionals about your Canadian immigration options and how we can help you optimize your Express Entry profile.

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