Express Entry changes

Express Entry changes lead to points system shake-up

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Stay informed about the Express Entry changes, which take effect from November 19, 2016.

Sweeping changes have been made to the points-based ranking system used to evaluate Express Entry candidates, aimed at boosting the chances for foreign students in Canada of securing residency.

The government has signalled for some time that it wants to make permanent residency more attainable for students in Canada. They’re regarded as ideal residency candidates, having already integrated into the local society with Canadian qualifications.

Under the Express Entry changes, the number of points assigned for candidates with a qualifying job offer is to fall dramatically. Previously, this meant having an LMIA-approved job offer only.

However, the scope of what’s considered a qualifying job offer is to be expanded in a way that benefits IEC candidates with a Young Professionals visa. Those with work permits issued through trade agreements (such as NAFTA) may also gain an advantage.

The changes mean the number of points awarded to candidates in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) will change in certain categories. The CRS is used to rank all Express Entry candidates, and a select number of the highest-ranking hopefuls receive invitations to apply in regular Express Entry draws.

LMIA points to drop under Express Entry changes

Previously, candidates with an LMIA-approved job offer received an additional 600 points. In short, these are job offers where it’s been shown that no suitable Canadian was available to fill the vacancy.

Under these Express Entry changes, 200 points will be awarded for LMIA-approved job offers with an NOC code beginning with 00. NOC is the National Occupational Classification database, used to categorize and set definitions for different types of jobs.

Occupations beginning with 00 are:

  • 0011: Legislators.
  • 0012: Senior government managers and officials.
  • 0013: Senior managers – financial, communications, and other business services.
  • 0014: Senior managers – health, education, social, and community services and membership organizations.
  • 0015: Senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services.
  • 0016: Senior managers – construction, transportation, production, and utilities.

All other types of LMIA-approved job offers will now be worth 50 points. And the good news is, some non-LMIA job offers are now also being awarded points for the first time.

New ways to receive points for job offers

Foreign nationals in select categories will also have the opportunity to be awarded points for having a qualifying job offer (either 50 or 200, as above), without the need for an LMIA.

This applies to:

Work permit holders under International Free Trade Agreements [R204(a)]:

  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  • Canada-Chile FTA
  • Canada-Peru FTA
  • Canada-Colombia FTA
  • Canada-Korea FTA

Canadian Interests [R205]
Includes the IEC program, academic exchanges, and performing arts.

The qualifying job offer for candidates under both R204(a) and R205 must meet the following criteria:

  • The offer is made by an employer who is specified on the work permit.
  • The foreign national works for that employer and has accumulated at least one year of full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work, over a continuous period of work for that employer.

While the IEC program falls under the scope of included programs, the offer must come from an employer named on the work permit.

Working Holiday Visas are open work permits, and as such no specific employer is named on them. This means they wouldn’t meet this criteria.

However, Young Professionals visas are tied to a specific employer. As such, candidates in Canada on this type of IEC visa may be able to benefit from the Express Entry changes.

Express Entry changes to benefit foreign students in Canada

For the first time, foreign students will be awarded additional points for their studies in Canada.

Points have always been issued for educational history. Under the Express Entry changes, post-secondary credentials earned in Canada will now receive bonus points.

  • 0 points: if the foreign national has a secondary school educational credential.
  • 15 points: if the foreign national has an eligible credential from a one-year or two-year post-secondary program.
  • 30 points: if the foreign national has:
    (i) an eligible credential from a post-secondary program of three years or more.
    (ii) an eligible credential from a university-level program at the master’s level or at the level of an entry-to-practice professional degree for an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification matrix at Skill Level A for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required, or
    (iii) an eligible credential from a university-level program at the doctoral level.

In order to be eligible for these points, the following requirements apply:

  • Study must have taken place in Canada, at a Canadian educational institution.
  • Applicant must have been enrolled in full-time study or training for a minimum of eight months.
  • Applicant must have been physically present in Canada for at least eight months.

You’ll now have more time to submit your application

Until now, those who receive an invitation to apply have had 60 days to complete their application.

The changes mean you’ll now have 90 days to submit your application.

Provincial Nominee Programs more lucrative than ever

Some 600 points have been issued for candidates with a provincial nomination, and that remains the case following these Express Entry changes.

With fewer points on offer for qualifying job offers, it means that PNPs are now the most valuable way to earn points.

I’m already in the pool and waiting on an ITA. Am I affected?

Possibly. Your CRS score will automatically update once the Express Entry changes take effect.

If none of the above factors apply to you, then your score will likely stay the same.

However, if you’ve been using an LMIA-approved job offer to enhance your score, you will likely see a significant drop.

Where can I find more information?

Express Entry draws have had a tendency to take place every two weeks, though this is not guaranteed. Should this frequency continue, we may see the final Express Entry draw under the existing points distribution this coming Wednesday (November 16).

It will be keenly watched, especially by those who are close to the points cut-off, as it’s not yet clear what effect these Express Entry changes will have on the points requirements.

We update our Express Entry draw article every time there’s a draw. Keep coming back for updates.

Meanwhile, you can join the discussion and share your reaction to these changes in our Canadian PR and Express Entry forum on Facebook.

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