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Express Entry is the main driver of economic immigration to Canada, but many people hoping to immigrate through Express Entry are led astray by some common misconceptions.

We’re here to set things straight.

Misconception 1: Everyone is eligible to submit an Express Entry profile

The most common misconception about Express Entry that we hear is that everyone is eligible to submit an Express Entry profile. Unfortunately, this is not true. Only those who meet the requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class are eligible to create Express Entry profiles. If you do not meet all of the requirements of one of these programs, then you will be found to be ineligible for Express Entry. Even if you complete an approved language test and obtain an educational credential assessment, these documents alone do not mean that you meet all of the criteria of one of those three programs.

Misconception 2: If you submit an Express Entry profile you will get to immigrate to Canada

Not everyone who creates an eligible Express Entry profile will receive an Invitation to Apply and get to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence. Express Entry profiles are only valid for 12 months. Applicants can renew Express Entry profiles every 12 months, but if their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score is too low they may never receive an Invitation to Apply, unless they can increase their CRS score. The Express Entry system is not a lottery system, and candidates are not selected at random — they are selected based on their CRS score. Prospective applicants can view previous draw results to see if their score will be competitive or not.

Recent Express Entry draw results

Misconception 3: Everyone who submits an Express Entry profile needs a provincial nomination 

A provincial nomination is not required to submit an Express Entry profile. A provincial nomination will add 600 points to a candidate’s CRS score, but those whose CRS score is already high enough to be selected on their own do not require a provincial nomination. Provincial nominations cost additional money in provincial government fees and can take longer to process. Also, those who accept a provincial nomination have to demonstrate their intent to live and work in the province that has issued them with the provincial nomination.

Misconception 4: Everyone can apply for a provincial nomination to increase their CRS score

While each of the provinces (except Quebec) and two of the territories of Canada have Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) in place, not everyone is eligible to apply to these programs. Most PNP streams offered by the provinces and territories require applicants to have a job offer in place. The provinces that do not require a job offer for some PNP streams look at other factors such as the applicant’s primary National Occupational Classification (NOC) code, Comprehensive Ranking System score and any connections that they may have to the specific province or territory.

Misconception 5: Language scores don’t matter if you speak French or English 

All candidates who create an Express Entry profile are required to take an approved language test in French or English. It does not matter if you did a degree in French or English or come from a country whose first language is French or English. Many applicants believe that as long as they write the approved test and obtain the minimum scores required for their immigration program that their score will be as high as possible. This is not correct. The way that the CRS score works, applicants who achieve a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 9 will have higher scores than those who achieve the minimum requirements, and there are even more points available for those who reach CLB level 10 or above.

Misconception 6: You need a job offer to submit an Express Entry profile

Not all candidates require a job offer to be eligible for Express Entry. Depending on which immigration program you are eligible for, you may not require a job offer from a Canadian employer. For Federal Skilled Worker, certain candidates may need a valid job offer to meet the minimum FSW points threshold, but many candidates meet this threshold without a job offer. For Federal Skilled Trades, candidates may need a valid job offer in order to meet the minimum program requirements, but a job offer is not required if they have a certificate of qualification to practice their trade issued by a provincial or territorial authority in Canada. Those candidates that do have a valid job offer will receive an additional 50 or 200 points on their CRS score depending on their job’s NOC skill level. In summary, a job offer is not always required to create an Express Entry profile, but it does help your chances of being invited to apply for permanent residence.

Misconception 7: Express Entry is a lottery system

Express Entry is not a lottery system. There is no randomization in invitation rounds, also known as draws. Applicants are invited to apply solely on their CRS score. If you do not meet the minimum CRS score required for a round of invitations, you will not receive an Invitation to Apply.

Misconception 8: Family is excluded from an Express Entry profile

When creating an Express Entry profile, the candidate has to declare their spouse or partner, if applicable, and whether the spouse or partner will be accompanying them or not. Once the candidate receives an Invitation to Apply, they will be asked to list their spouse or partner, if applicable, as well as any dependents. This includes biological children, adopted children, and step-children. All spouses or partners and dependent children can obtain permanent residence status with the applicant as long as they are not found to be inadmissible to Canada.

Misconception 9: Only one spouse can create an Express Entry profile

If a candidate is married or in a common-law relationship, their spouse or partner can also create an Express Entry profile as long as they meet the requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Canadian Experience Class. Typically, couples choose one person to be the principal applicant based on them having the higher CRS score. However, it may benefit couples for both partners to create a profile if they are both eligible to do so, because the person with the lower CRS score may in fact be eligible for different PNPs, effectively doubling the couple’s chances of obtaining a provincial nomination.

Misconception 10: Express Entry restricts where you can live in Canada

The Express Entry system is used by workers and families  wanting to immigrate to Canada through any of the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class. Once applicants are in the Express Entry system, they may also qualify for a provincial nomination. If you are invited to apply through Express Entry, you can move anywhere in Canada with the exception of Quebec. Those wanting to immigrate to Quebec should not use the Express Entry system. If a candidate receives an Invitation to Apply as a provincial nominee, they have to intend to live and work in the province who has issued them with the provincial nomination. However, once a person is granted permanent resident status in Canada they have the right to live and work anywhere in the country.

You can get started with Canada Abroad by completing a free eligibility assessment for Canadian immigration:

Deanne Acres-Lans is a regulated Canadian immigration consultant (#508363), leading the immigration consultancy, Canada Abroad. You can book a consultation with Canada Abroad here.

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