Visa Information, Visa Requirements, Visa Application Guidelines, Immigration Rules and Inquiry

Working in Canada - Skilled Immigrants

As of January 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has a new electronic system called Express Entry to manage applications for permanent residence under certain economic immigration programs.

The Express Entry system is the first step to immigrate to Canada under these programs. Potential candidates can complete an Express Entry profile at any time. Note that there is no deadline to complete a profile and there are no caps on the number of candidates that will be accepted to the pool.

Anyone who is accepted into the Express Entry pool could get an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. Rounds of invitations to invite candidates to apply will take place regularly over the course of each year. We will only pick the top ranking candidates no matter when they were accepted into the pool.

If you are invited to apply, you will have 60 days to submit a complete Application for Permanent Residence online.

The first round of invitations took place on the last week of January 2015.

How Express Entry works

Express Entry is used to manage applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs:
  • the Federal Skilled Worker Program,
  • the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and
  • the Canadian Experience Class.
The Express Entry system has two steps:

Step 1) Potential candidates complete an online Express Entry profile
Potential candidates will complete an online Express Entry profile. This is a secure form that they will use to provide information about their:
  • skills,
  • work experience,
  • language ability,
  • education, and
  • other details that will help us assess them.
Those who meet the criteria of one of the federal immigration programs listed above will be accepted into a pool of candidates.

Anyone who does not already have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if you need one), or a nomination from a province or territory, must register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank. Job Bank will help connect Express Entry candidates with eligible employers in Canada.

Candidates are also encouraged to promote themselves to employers in other ways, such as using job boards, recruiters etc.

For a job offer to be valid in Express Entry and receive points, employers will need an LMIA from ESDC. The LMIA process ensures employers have made an effort to hire Canadians and permanent residents for available jobs. There will be no LMIA fee for permanent resident applications.

Step 2) The highest-ranking candidates in the pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence
Candidates will be ranked against others in the pool using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System. Points are awarded using the information in their profile.

Candidates with the highest scores in the pool will be issued an Invitation to Apply. Candidates will be awarded points for:
  • a job offer, and/or
  • a nomination from a province or territory, and/or
  • skills and experience factors.
A candidate can get additional points for:
  • a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment, or
  • a nomination by a province or territory
These additional points will make a candidate rank high enough to be invited to apply at the next eligible round of invitations.

If someone is invited to apply, they will have 60 days to submit an online application for permanent residence.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the majority of complete applications (meaning those with all the necessary supporting documents) in six months or less.

Candidates can stay in the pool for up to 12 months. If they do not get an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence within 12 months of submitting an Express Entry profile, they may submit a new profile. If they still meet the criteria, they can re-enter the pool. This will prevent backlogs and ensure quick processing times.

Hot to Apply – Skilled immigrants (Express Entry)

If you have been invited to apply for permanent residence, follow these steps:

1. Fill out the online form
When you sign in to your MyCIC account, there will be a link to apply for permanent residence under Express Entry. You can save the information and go back to it as often as you need to until you are ready to submit it.

Your Express Entry Invitation to Apply will be valid for 60 days.

All of your answers must be complete and true.

You must fill out all the mandatory fields in the form. You will not be able to submit your application until these fields are completed.

When you have completed the application, the system will generate a personalized Document Checklist for you. It will show all the supporting documents you need to upload.

In the case of work experience and police certificates, it will show each employer and country you need to get documents from. For the police certificates, there will only be one upload field so be sure to include them all together.

2. Get all the documents you need 
Using your Document Checklist, get all the documents you need to include with your application.

You must be able to make electronic copies of your supporting documents using a scanner or camera.

Once you have your documents ready, upload them.

Some things you will need to attach copies of are:
  • your passport or travel document
  • your language test results
  • your valid written job offer from an employer in Canada, if you have one
  • your provincial nomination, if you have one
  • in some cases, proof that you have enough money to support yourself (and your family members in Canada, if any are coming with you)
  • any other documents on the Document Checklist, and
  • your Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report, if you included the results in your Express Entry profile.
Note: you need an ECA if:
  • you are being invited to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (it will tell you this on your invitation letter) and you were educated outside Canada, or
  • if you were awarded points for your foreign education (no matter which program you were invited to apply under).
Copies of these documents are needed to support the claims you made in your Express Entry profile.

You will also need

1. Medical exams
Do not complete any medical exam until you get an Invitation to Apply. You must have a medical exam before you can become a permanent resident. Your family members must also have one, even if they are not coming with you.

Your permanent resident application will not be approved if your health:
  • is a danger to Canada’s public health or safety, or
  • would cause too much demand on health or social services in Canada.
When the panel physician completes the medical exam, they will either give you an information printout sheet, or an IMM 1017B Upfront Medical Report form. You must provide a copy the document they gave you when you apply online.

2. Police certificates
To immigrate to Canada, you and any family members 18 and older must include their police certificates as part of the application for permanent residence.

If you have a criminal record, you may not be allowed to enter or stay in Canada. People who pose a risk to Canada’s security are also not allowed to come to Canada.

3. Pay your fees
You will have to pay:

a) The processing fee for you and your family members.

When you apply, you need to pay for everyone who will come to Canada with you on your application.

You must pay these fees online through your MyCIC account using a credit card.

If your application is not complete, we will inform you and return your processing fee.
We will not return the processing fee once we have begun processing your application.

b) The Right of Permanent Residence fee

The right of permanent residence fee is $490.00 per person. There is no fee for dependent children.
You will need to pay this fee if we approve your application.

Note: paying this fee early can help speed up the processing of your application, so it’ s a good idea to submit it when you apply.

If you don’t pay it when you submit your application, you must pay this fee before any permanent resident documents is issued to you.

The fee will be refunded if you withdraw your application or if you do not use your visa.

c) Other fees

You may have to pay fees to third parties for:
  • language testing,
  • Educational Credential Assessments,
  • your medical exam,
  • police checks/clearances and certificates, and
  • translation of documents.

4. Submit your complete application
Make sure you:
  • have filled out all mandatory form fields,
  • paid your fees, and
  • included clear scans of all the supporting documents.
The system will not let you submit the application unless all required documents are included. Use the Document Checklist to make sure you do not forget anything.

Once you submit your application, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will start to process it. CIC will verify that all the information you gave is true, that you are eligible to immigrate, and are admissible to Canada.

If you are found eligible, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will notify you and tell you what to do next.

After you apply for Skilled immigrants (Express Entry)

After you apply, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will verify that you have:
  • filled out your online application for permanent residence correctly,
  • paid your processing fee,
  • met all the requirements,
  • included all documents.
If you are not truthful in your Express Entry profile or application for permanent residence:
  • your application could be refused,
  • you could be found inadmissible, and
  • you could be barred for five years from applying to come to Canada for any reason.
CIC will contact you through your MyCIC account when we have reviewed your application. You can get updates on the status of your application through your MyCIC account. You will be told what you need to do and what will happen next.

Processing times

CIC expect to process most applications for permanent residence through the Express Entry system in six months or less, after they get a complete application.

You may be able to avoid delays by updating your MyCIC account if there are any changes to your personal information, such as your address, telephone number or email, or if there are changes to your family structure.

Your application may be delayed if:
  • there are criminal or security problems,
  • we need to do more background checks,
  • your family situation is not clear – reasons could include a divorce or an adoption that is not yet complete, or child custody issues that have not been resolved,
  • we need to verify information, or
  • you need to submit more documents or go to an interview with us.
You can check the status of your application online using your MyCIC account.
  • Login to MyCIC.
  • Once on the “Welcome to MyCIC” page, scroll to the bottom.
  • Under “View my submitted applications or profiles,” there is a table.
  • Under “Application type” it will say “Express Entry.” Choose the “Check status and messages” button.
The “Application Details” table shows the status of each stage.

Decision on your application

The officer will make a decision on your application based on if you:
  • meet the eligibility criteria for the program, and
  • are admissible to Canada (based on the results of your medical exam, police certificates, background checks, etc.).
We will contact you through your MyCIC account if you need to send more documents or go to an interview.

Confirmation of permanent residence

If CIC approve your application, you w ill be issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and, if you are from a country that requires visas, a permanent resident visa.

Your COPR will have information about who you are, as well as your photograph. Please check to make sure it is all correct. It should be the same as the information on your passport. If there is a mistake on your COPR, contact us through your MyCIC account.

If you are arriving from outside Canada, be sure to follow the instructions in the letter that came with your immigration document(s).You must have your COPR and your visa (if you need one) with you when you arrive in Canada.

Prepare for your arrival

If you are already in Canada

If you are granted permanent residence, CIC will contact you and let you know what to do next.

You may either contact CIC to make an appointment or go to a Canadian “port of entry” (border crossing), and present:
  • your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and/or your permanent resident visa. The officer will make sure all your documents are valid, and,
  • proof that you have the funds to support yourself and your family.
The officer will ask you a few questions to make sure you still meet the terms to immigrate to Canada. They will be similar to the ones you answered when you applied. This should only take a few minutes.

The officer will also confirm your Canadian mailing address. Your permanent resident card will be mailed to you at this address.

If you change your address within 180 days of getting your status, you must notify CIC using the change your address tool.

If you are outside Canada

When you arrive in Canada, you will be greeted by an officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The officer will ask to see your passport and other travel documents. Make sure they are not packed in your luggage, and that you have them with you. This will help speed up your entry to Canada.
When you arrive, you must have:
  • your valid passport and/or travel documents. Your passport must be a regular, private citizen passport. You cannot immigrate to Canada with a diplomatic, government service or public affairs passport.
  • your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and/or your permanent resident visa. The officer will make sure you are entering Canada before or on the expiry date shown on your COPR. Please note that we cannot extend this document, so you should make sure to use it before it expires.
  • proof that you have the funds to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada.
The officer will ask you a few questions to make sure you still meet the terms to immigrate to Canada. They will be similar to the ones you answered when you applied. This should only take a few minutes.

You will not be allowed into Canada if you:
  • give false or incomplete information, or
  • do not convince the officer that you meet the conditions to enter Canada.
If you are not inadmissible and there are no problems when you arrive, the officer will allow you to enter Canada as a permanent resident. The officer will also confirm your Canadian mailing address. Your permanent resident card will be mailed to you at this address.

If you change your address within 180 days of arriving in Canada, you must notify CIC using this online tool.

Disclosure of funds

If you arrive in Canada with more than CAN$10,000, you must tell this to the CBSA officer. If you do not tell them, you could be fined or put in prison. These funds could be in the form of:
  • cash,
  • securities in bearer form (for example, stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills), or
  • bankers’ drafts, cheques, travellers’ cheques or money orders.

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