What is the change? Canada has announced further details about its Express Entry program, a new online system that manages applications under four economic immigration programs – Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program.

What does the change mean? As of Jan. 1, 2015, potential candidates for permanent residence under the economic programs listed above will be required to complete a detailed online Express Entry profile. Those who meet the criteria of one of the programs will be accepted into a pool of candidates who will be scored against each other based on four “core human capital” factors. Those with the highest scores will be invited to apply for permanent residency.

  • Implementation timeframe: Jan. 1, 2015.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residence visas in theCanadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades Programs, and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs.
  • Who is affected: Permanent resident applicants in the above streams.
  • Impact on processing times: Once candidates receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence, they will have 60 days to submit an application for permanent residence.Most applications for permanent residence will be processed in six months or less from the date of submission. Note that selection into the Express Entry pool does not guarantee that a candidate will be invited to apply for permanent residence. In order to increase the likelihood of receiving an invitation to apply, it may be necessary for an employer to advertise and apply for a permanent Labour Market Impact Assessment or to apply for a provincial or territorial nomination. In order to score core human capital factor points, candidates will need to complete a language test and obtain an Educational Credential Assessment, all of which will increase the time it will take before an invitation to apply is issued.
  • Business impact: The program is intended to better serve the labor needs of Canadian employers and the improved processing times should reduce the costs associated with long wait times.
  • Next steps: Foreign candidates can apply beginning Jan. 1 at noon EST. Permanent residence applications filed before Express Entry is in place will be processed under rules at the time of submission. As of Jan. 1, 2015, all candidates who wish to apply for permanent residence under the CEC, FSW, FST and a portion of the PNP programs must use Express Entry to support their applications for permanent residence.

Background: Express Entry candidates must create a detailed online profile that includes an Educational Credential Assessment and completed language test, among other information. They will be scored on core human capital factors based on this information. Candidates who meet the criteria of one of the federal programs listed above will be accepted into a pool of candidates.

Candidates in the Express Entry pool will be given a score up to 1200 based on a combination of core human capital factors: skills and experience (460/500 for married/single candidates), spousal factors (40), skill transferability factors (100), and a qualifying job offer or provincial or territorial nomination (600). Those with the highest scores will be drawn from the pool and issued an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Draws will be made regularly, and the first will take place at the end of January, 2015.

Candidates with a valid LMIA-based work permit or an offer of permanent employment supported by an LMIA or candidates that have a nomination certificate from a provincial or territorial government will earn enough points to be invited to apply for permanent residence. A qualifying job offer from an employer in Canada is a significant asset that will significantly increase a candidate’s likelihood of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence but is not a requirement.

Express Entry candidates that do not have either a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment-based work permit, a job offer supported by an LMIA for their permanent residence application or a nomination from a province or territory under one of the Provincial Nominee Programs will be required to register with the Job Bank within 30 days of the date they created their profile. The Job Bank allows individuals without a job offer to view available jobs with employers in Canada and promote themselves to employers and recruiters. Later in 2015, the Job Bank will match Express Entry candidates with eligible employers who cannot find a Canadian or permanent resident for a permanent job.

The majority of applicants that meet the eligibility requirements for permanent residence will receive a decision on their application within six months of the date of its submission.

BAL Analysis: The new program should improve the conditions for businesses seeking to fill labour shortages with skilled foreign workers. While the promised six-month processing time is a welcome improvement to the current wait times of more than one year for permanent residency, Express Entry job offers are subject to LMIAs. Employers applying for a permanent LMIA must advertise the position and demonstrate that they are unable to fill the position with a qualified Canadian or permanent resident.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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