The Canadian Law Group lawyers of NPZ attended an informative Webinar hosted by the representatives of CIC who manage the incoming Express Entry system. We wish to share what we have learned with our subscribers.

For those who don’t yet know, as of January 1, 2015, applicants in the Foreign Skilled Worker, Skilled Trades, and Canadian Experience Class will have to apply for permanent residence to Canada through the online Express Entry system (“EE”). As we see it, the main trust of the new Express Entry system is that the Canadian Government is essentially taking over the control of selecting who can become a permanent resident of Canada.

The changes are taken from the New Zealand and Australian systems. CIC says that the changes are intended to help employers find suitable foreign candidates, and to allow for faster processing time. The CIC is making a commitment to a 6 month processing, from the time of receipt of a complete application to the day the permanent residence is granted. This is a well-received announcement, let’s see if it will actually happen!

Here’s how it will work. Applicants will have to set up a profile online with CIC. There will be a comprehensive ranking system whereby everyone will get a score based on points. The questionnaire will be completed online and a computer (no human intervention by CIC at this initial point) will sort the answers provided and direct the applicant into one of the streams. Applicants will know right away if they made it into the pool or not and they will be given a comprehensive score. If they make it into the pool, they will then compete with people in the same category and CIC will draw from that pool. They will also be told under which program they are classified. And they may be in more than one pool.

Confused yet? Let’s keep going.

People will have to continue to meet the requirements of each program to be able to enter the pool. For instance, a FSW applicant will still need to meet the 67 point threshold. Assuming this is the case, then the EE will then consider the other points system that now applies.

The program has a strong human rights capital allocation in its new points assessment. Up to 500 points can be attributed to a candidate if they have strong language skills, education, and work experience. Spouses will also be considered on such features. Please note that foreign work experience will no longer count! Basically, CIC will consider Canadian work experience only when attributing points.

Here’s an important point: Foreign nationals with validated job offers and/or a provincial nomination will be essentially guaranteed an invitation to apply for permanent residence. This will also give applicants an automatic allotment of 600 points.

But note of caution: Any job offer will have to be supported by an approved Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

What about the draws that CIC will do? There will be two types of draws – the top 1000 candidates from the pool will be called a “generic draw”, or a program specific draw where they pick the first 1000 of the CEC, for instance. The latter will be this “catch-up” draw.

What about the questions on the forms? Applications will be 95% same as today, plus a few additional questions relating to the points assessment. The process will have two stages now. The Profile information will be migrated into the application portion (stage 2), at which point they will be asked for family details, etc.

Here is some other helpful information:

• People will family in Canada will not be directly counted in CRS expect if it is a spouse, but those points continue to apply for the FSW grid.

• Admissibility checks, medical checks, etc. will continue.

• A job offer is not a requirement to get an ITA. But applicants will have to register with the Job Bank in Canada as part of the process.

• There will be catch up draws allowing CIC to g