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Express Entry 101: Read this first

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

Express Entry is a system used by the Canadian government to manage Canadian permanent residence applications for filling labour gaps through certain economic immigration programs. The program was launched in the new year in 2015. The system is efficient and 80% of applications are processed in 6 months or less from the time of submitting an application.

Express Entry is a points based system for immigration to Canada. The four major categories for which you obtain points towards your final score are: age, language ability (French and/or English), education and work experience. Approximately twice a month there are draws, and anyone with a score higher than the designated cutoff will be provided with an ITA or "Invitation to Apply" for permanent residency. Anyone below will remain in the pool for up to one year. After 1 year you will need to re-enter your profile.

Express Entry is further divided up into 3 streams, Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience, and Federal Skilled Trades.

Individuals coming from outside of Canada will be applying for Federal Skilled Worker or Federal Skilled Trades.

From Inside of Canada individuals may apply through the Canadian Experience Class which generally experiences lower points cut offs than the Federal Skilled Worker stream because there are fewer eligible candidates in this pool.

Each stream has a different set of requirements. For example, the FSW - Federal Skilled Worker Stream requires that individuals also meet a 67 point minimum and this is separate from the CRS score that is derived from the factors of age, language, education and work experience.

It also requires one year of continuous skilled work experience in a NOC - National Code skill type 0, A or B. The language benchmark for this stream is CLB - Canadian Language Benchmark 7. Generally you will not have sufficient points without a high level of education and an age below 30, as the points for age begin to drop considerably after age 29.

FST, Federal Skilled Trades requires two years of experience in a trade that is designated by a trade's NOC Code. They are: The work does not have to be continuous and the language benchmark is CLB 5 for listening and speaking, and 4 for reading and writing.

Canadian Experience is somewhat divided. If you are applying as a skilled worker the language level must be a 7, and if you are applying through a skilled trade the language is 5 for listening and speaking and 4 for reading and writing.

In this class, you may obtain additional points through Canadian education and work experience.

So now I’m sure you are all wondering, how do I calculate my points? You can do a basic assessment using Canada's points calculator called a CRS tool.

You can also find more information on our site:

Before you begin your points assessment you need to do two things. You will need to have your language and education assessed by a designated organization. There are several options for assessment depending on where you are in the world and the type of training you have. We have included a list of these organizations on our site.

The language assessment can usually be booked fairly quickly and results arrive within 10 days. You may have either English or French assessed, and if you know both languages then we recommend assessing both.

Education assessments vary. The fastest is probably World Education Services (WES) at about 2.5 months turn around. Just don’t forget, do not open the transcript before sending it to WES. It must be sealed! It is often best to have it sent directly from the school.

Once you have received these two assessments you are ready to enter an express entry profile. For more information on entering your profile visit our website or contact us at


About Us

Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, in Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford and St. Catharines and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a fifth generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the link located at the top right of the page.

How Can We Help?

We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with an expertise in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications and Global Talent Stream applications.

Please contact us if you would like assistance with your immigration application or to book an appointment.

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