Express Entry to Canada (2023)

According to the most recent data on job openings, there were nearly one million – 997,000 – available positions in Canada in August. The country has been experiencing a severe labor shortage, as a result, it relies heavily on immigration to boost its economy. One of the ways it does that is through the Express Entry system. 

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an online electronic system that the Canadian government uses to automatically process immigration applications from skilled workers who’d like to migrate or move to Canada. With a processing time of about 6 months, it’s the fastest and hence the most popular way to migrate to Canada as a skilled worker.

Express Entry manages applications from skilled workers under 3 different programs or categories:

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW)

This is for skilled foreign nationals who would like to live and work in Canada. To be eligible for this program you must have at least 1 year of skilled work experience and meet other minimum requirements including those for language ability and education.

  1. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

This is for skilled workers with work experience in Canada who’d like to convert their temporary resident visas to permanent resident visas. This program doesn’t have any education requirements. However, to be eligible for this program, you must have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience and meet other minimum requirements for language ability.

Related: Get higher IELTS score by avoiding these common mistakes

  1. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST)

This program is dedicated to skilled workers who’d like to live and work in Canada based on their qualifications in a skilled trade. To be eligible for this program, you must have at least 2 years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade. There are no education requirements for this program.

No work experience? You may want to read our piece on all the pathways available for migrating to Canada.

How does Express Entry Work?

The Express Entry process is straightforward and simple. Check out the step-by-step breakdown of the process below:

Note: You’ll need the following to complete step 1:

  • English or French language test scores – to assess your language ability. Get our downloadable ebook on how to get a perfect score in IELTS.
  • Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) – to assess your level of education
  • Knowledge of your National Occupational Classification (NOC) – to assess your work experience according to Canadian standards

Step 1: Check if you’re eligible for Express Entry. You can do that by filling out a form on the Canadian government website. You’ll be asked questions about your language ability, work experience, age, education, finance, arranged employment, and adaptability. 

Step 2: If you’re considered eligible, you’ll be able to create and submit your express entry profile. You’ll then be ranked in the Express Entry pool based on the CRS system (Comprehensive Ranking System).

Step 3: Wait to receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residency. You’ll receive an invitation only if you score above the minimum CRS points.

Step 4: If you receive an invitation, you’ll be requested to submit an application to apply for permanent residency and certain documents. Do well treat their submission as urgent as Invitations To Apply (ITA) expire within 60 days of issuing. You’ll also need to pay application fees – a total of $1365 CAD – as well. 

Step 5: Submit your biometrics upon request.

Step 6: Wait to receive the Canadian government’s final decision on your application. You’ll be sent a permanent resident visa and a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) if your application is approved.

How Much Does Express Entry Cost?

The application processing fee for one person is $1,365 CAD. It includes an $850 CAD processing fee and a $515 CAD right of permanent residence fee. If you’re immigrating with your spouse or partner, you’ll be paying double that amount for the application processing fees. The application fee for a dependent child is $230 CAD per child. 

Generally speaking, you’d be hard-pressed to find the exact cost of immigrating to Canada. This is because many parts of the process are handled by 3rd parties. For instance, the costs of language tests, Education Credential Assessment (ECA), medical exams, and courier services will differ by service provider.

However, immigrating to Canada via Express Entry will cost about $15,000 CAD for 1 person. For a couple, the amount rises to $21000 CAD. A family of 4 migrating through the skilled worker program, will spend about $25000 CAD to move to Canada. 

Note that these amounts include the cost of application fees, settlement funds (proof of funds), and an assumption of the average costs of language tests, medical exams, biometrics, ECA, etc. 

Pros & Cons

Perhaps the biggest benefit of Express Entry is its speedy processing of applications. Before it was launched, it took years for immigration applications to be processed. However. Thanks to Express Entry, candidates can expect to get feedback, and even approvals, within 6 months of applying. 

Another benefit is that immigrants who relocate to Canada via Express Entry have higher chances of landing good jobs and succeeding in Canada. This is thanks to the fact that their applications were approved based on their possessing the skills and characteristics that make them attractive to the Canadian labour market.

Related: 11 in-demand skills to land your dream job in Canada right now

The only drawback of the Express Entry is the lack of certainty that a candidate will be invited to apply for permanent residency. Nevertheless, Express Entry pool draws happen frequently, approximately every 2 weeks. You can increase your chances of receiving an invitation by getting a provincial nomination, increasing your language test scores, and/or getting a Canadian job offer. 


Because of its increasingly aging population and low birth rate, Canada faces economic and fiscal difficulties. Its major way to tackle this problem is by encouraging immigration. It even plans to welcome almost 1.5 million immigrants by the end of 2025. With proper planning, Express Entry might be your best bet to enjoy Canada’s generous immigration policy before the year ends. 

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