How to Immigrate to Canada

Express entry program — Federal Skilled Worker

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This is a very broad overview of the Express Entry program meant to guide you through the initial steps to kick-start your immigration process.

IF you want to emigrate to Canada, there are several programs that you can apply for. Here’s a link you can check out to see which program might be suitable for you given your situation (age, marital status), credentials, and experience.

Note that the entire process can be carried out ONLINE, via the Canadian Immigration Office’s OFFICIAL website (IRCC).

In this article, I’ll only talk about the FEDERAL SKILLED WORKER program (Quebec NOT included). I know about this option first hand because I recently got the Confirmation of Permanent Residency (CoPR). What I’m going to be stating below is all based on my personal experience.

If you want proper advice you can contact designated immigration lawyers. I personally carried out the entire process by myself and asked my friends who did it before me for help.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) is ideal for people who have a combination of the following (IF you have a VALID job offer from a Canadian employer, or you graduated from a Canadian university or have Canadian work experience you will definitely have a higher score. But here I’m assuming you have neither):

First Scenario (If you have an MA or PhD but only know 1 language)

  1. Work experience in an occupation recognized by Canadian authorities as a skilled one. Three years to ensure you get the maximum possible score.
  2. A master’s or a PhD degree
  3. French OR English exam scores (wouldn’t hurt if both)

Second Scenario (If you ONLY have a bachelor’s degree)

  1. Work experience in an occupation recognized by Canadian authorities as a skilled one. Three years to ensure you get the maximum possible score.
  2. A bachelor’s degree
  3. French AND English (You HAVE to take both to make up for the lost points of the graduate degree)

There are OTHER scenarios that you can check by simulating the Comprehensive Ranking Calculator (CRS) at the below link. There are many permutations that affect your overall score. To check your eligibility, you can use the following official calculator:

The NECESSARY requirements to be eligible for this program is that you have:

a. 1 year of full-time experience in an occupation that is recognized by the Canadian government as a skilled occupation.

b. Have taken at least one language exam (French or English, or both).

c. Have your degree equivalency done via World Education Services (WES, Canada).

Now you don’t have to do steps A and B right away. First, check out how much your score would be to gauge your chances of being invited in future invitations to apply by the Canadian Immigration office (IRCC).

Ideally, you should score anywhere above 460 in order to have a VERY high chance of being invited. You can check previous scores, which normally hover between 460s and 500s, here:

Family members that can go with you as dependents on the same applications include:

IF you think your score is good enough, then here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Sign up and do the language exams (IELTS or french or both) [Same applies to your partner if you’re married and want to go as a family, you’ll score more points this way]

Ideal IELTS (non-academic) scores to score optimally: 7 reading, 7 writing, 7 speaking, 8 listening. Not sure about French, but you can check the info at the below link.

2. Get the degree equivalency from WES Canada [Same applies to your partner if you’re married and want to go as a family, you’ll score more points this way]

3. Once the results of the exams are out AND the WES equivalency is ready, you will have to submit an Express Entry (EE) profile application to enter the pool of applicants. This step is considered an expression of interest to apply to Canada.

4. Once you do that, you will receive a confirmation email that will tell you what to expect next. Usually, you have to wait until an Express Entry round of invitation is done. IF your score is HIGHER than the cut-off score, then you will receive an invitation to apply (ITA).

5. IF you get an ITA, you will have to either accept or decline the invitation. If you accept, you will have 60 days (90 now because of Corona) from the invitation date to collect the necessary documents.

The documents usually include employment certificates, bank statements, degree certificates, personal records, and police certificates (from all countries you lived in for more than 6 months).

Funds you’ll need to prove that you have sufficient funds

You will also have to do a MEDICAL exam which is done via a panel physician Canadian authorities recognize. You can check that information out here.

6. All documents that are neither in English or French will have to be translated to English or French by a sworn translator.

7. Once you have your documents ready, you upload them on your account as indicated. You only pay the application fees once you’re ready to submit the documents. The list of expected fees is as follows:

8. You then will receive an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) which will be the date you upload all the documents and submit the application. KEEP IN MIND that if any document is missing, there’s a HIGH chance your application will be automatically rejected.

9. After the AOR, if all is good, you will receive a Biometrics letter, all you need to do is follow the steps as indicated in the letter.

10. Wait and see. Application processing usually takes on average 6 months. If your application goes smoothly you will eventually receive a passport request (PPR) email to submit your passport to the Canadian embassy in your country.

11. After that, if your application is finally approved, you will receive your passport back with the counterfoil stamped on your passport (if you need a VISA to go to Canada), and a confirmation of permanent residency (CoPR).

Things are slower now with Corona and what not. There are websites where you can find statistical information on processing times per program. It’s based on the input of those applying from around the world. One of these websites is Immitracker.

If you have any other questions, you can follow me on Twitter @decafquest.

Good Luck.

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