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Immigration to Canada through Express Entry

Updated: Mar 12

Welcome to Immigrant Chronicles — here is a practical post based on my experience with Express Entry program and helpful information on how to immigrate to Canada.

Unsplash - Hermes Rivera


Navigate in this post:

As a new immigrant in Canada, I would like to share important information about Canada's immigration system and my journey so far, hoping that it will be useful for fellow immigrants starting out to their journey and considering Canada to become their permanent home.



Why Canada?


First of all, why Canada is attracting so many immigrants?


There are various reasons behind why people around the world choose Canada to call their home. According to a recent survey, Canada is rated as the most welcoming country in the world. Canada welcomes around 300.000 people every year and around 20% of Canada's population is foreign-born!


Immigrant Friendly, Multicultural, Diverse

The immigration rate is high as Canada has consistently built a positive reputation over the years as being immigrant-friendly, multicultural, and diverse. Here is a great article summarizes why Canada is seen as an amazing place for new immigrants. Aside from the above-mentioned characteristics, some other highlights of why Canada is a great place to live are universal health care system, safety and inclusive environment make Canada very appealing to immigrants. Also, the quality of the Canadian public school system and the paid maternity leave are great magnets for young couples and families.


Of course, there are other arguments out there about how the Canadian immigration system has its own issues and compares to the US which is worth a read, too.


Canada puts great effort and emphasis on immigration policy and reassures its continued commitment to welcoming immigrants, even during unprecedented times like the global Coronavirus pandemic.


After all, I don't seem to sound like I am all for Canada, as everyone has their own reasons to immigrate (economical, social...) and immigration is a highly personal choice and decision. You need to decide if this is the path for you and whether you would like to come to Canada or not.


Unsplash - Silvestri Matteo


How do I immigrate to Canada through Express Entry?


After careful consideration, if you indeed decide to immigrate to Canada, great!


First, you need to understand the Canadian immigration system and different ways to immigrate to Canada to choose the best way for you and your family.


Obviously, my disclaimer is -- I am not an immigration consultant or lawyer therefore I strongly encourage you to do your own research online, consult regulated immigration consultants, or lawyers regarding your specific case if you need. In this article, I give information based on my research and experience on economic immigration through Express Entry through Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) stream.


The most important resource for the immigration system in my opinion is the Government of Canada Website. You can investigate the immigration and citizenship menu for IRCC and different ways to immigrate to Canada. As it's shown in this particular article, there are so many other ways than Express Entry to immigrate to Canada or gaining temporary residence through work (WP) or study. I encourage you to investigate these links and here, to make an informed decision for you and your family.


Other than the government website, I found personally these two websites Moving2Canada and JustforCanada very helpful during the application process.


Express Entry System


Time to explain the famous Express Entry system. I came across it in 2019, through my husband Arda. He mentioned at the time its completely online, fast, and easy to do so. It sounded too good to be true, to be honest as I imagined a torturous, opaque system (of the US immigration) when I think of an immigration system.


Well, long story short; we decided to apply through this system as it's indeed very easy to understand and navigate. (Not fast though!)


Some history behind EE; in order to allow smoother immigration for immigration, Canada launched this structured online immigration system called Express Entry in 2015.


(From here on there will be a lot of abbreviations, so please check the definitions box below to navigate through)


Express Entry (EE) is the online system where immigrants submit their profile to an online pool and receive ranking points (CRS) based on language ability, education, skills, and experience. Canadian government carries out draws every two weeks more or less and defines a threshold for each draw. The candidates above the threshold are invited to apply (ITA) for permanent residence (PR).


After receiving ITA, candidates typically have 60 days (90 days during Covid times) to accept or decline this invitation. If you decide to accept, then within 60 days, you need to collect documents to prove your points. (Most stressful part!)


After you submit all documents and get your AoR, the processing times for applications were typically 6 months. (Most torturous waiting part...)


This data is highly inaccurate now in Covid times. As even in 2019, wait times were around 9 months for FSW stream. (Table 35) Now, it is pushing towards 12 months...

I highly encourage you to check the following link for the ultimate guide and the governmental site here on how to apply for Express Entry as there are many steps that go into planning before you go can go ahead and create an online profile. This was highly accurate while we were applying and incredibly helpful for my analytical brain to follow the step-by-step guide.


Basically, you have to follow the steps as,

  1. Finding your NOC code,

  2. Taking language exams for English & French,

  3. Getting your ECA,

  4. Checking eligibility and CRS score

  5. Going into the pool by creating your online profile.

  6. Receiving an ITA

  7. Going to a medical exam

  8. Collecting and submitting proof documents including proof of funds

  9. Paying the fees

  10. Receiving your AoR

  11. Submitting Biometrics

  12. Waiting... - order GCMS notes

  13. Waiting... - raise a webform

  14. Waiting... - call IRCC (if you are in Canada)

  15. getting your Co-PR (yay!)

  16. Landing in Canada ( I will also write another post on settlement agencies and newcomer services that help new PRs)


Here you can see common questions asked about Express Entry.


This information is based on my own research and what I have done somewhat successfully while submitting my application so if you need further help I can try to help to a certain extent but again please consult an immigration consultant or lawyer regarding your specific case. (We did consult an immigration consultant at some point as we missed a detail and got refused in our first application... more about that in my next post!)



How did Covid-19 effect Canada's Express Entry immigration system?


This is the million-dollar question.


I can tell you from experience; NOT SO GOOD.


There is a huge backlog in the system and current waiting times are <9 months!

As a result of coronavirus pandemic, Canada welcomed only 184.000 immigrants in 2020. This was mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions, border closures put into place to curb coronavirus spread. This number is the lowest number since 1998 and almost half of Canada's usual yearly immigration numbers...


Well, it is not all bad news.


Canada's government just released its target for 2021-2023 as 400.000 immigrants per year and it is a very ambitious number! They just did a new historic draw inviting 27.332 people (with a CRS score of 75!) and they are constantly improving and adapting to the challenges due to Covid such as creating a biometric exemption for applications who were not able to give fingerprints due to Covid effect on governmental agencies.


I do hope 2021 will be a better year for immigrants and everyone as there is no doubt that 2020 was the worst year in history. and it has been very unlucky of us to apply for PR during 2020...


Hope you find this post helpful.


In my next post in Immigrant Chronicles Series, I will go into detail about my application and some helpful advice (gained the hard way by mistakes and refusals!) on Express Entry.



Helpful Abbreviations:

  • IRCC : Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

  • PR : Permanent Residency

  • EE : Express Entry

  • FSW : Federal Skilled Worker

  • NOC: National Occupational Classification

  • WP : Work Permit

  • ECA: Educational Credential Assessment

  • CRS : Comprehensive Ranking System

  • ITA : Invitation to Apply

  • AoR : Acknowledgement of Receipt

  • Co-PR : Confirmation of Permanent Residency

  • GCMS: Global Case Management System


Some other helpful links related to Canada Immigration:


Disclaimer

The information herein in this post is based on my knowledge of the EE system. It is not intended as immigration consultancy or immigration advice. I strongly encourage you to do your own research online, consult regulated immigration consultants, or lawyers regarding your specific case if you need.



This story is also published on Medium: https://atekirdag.medium.com/immigration-to-canada-through-express-entry-9fd439dc614e


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