Our office is abuzz with interest and inquiries about the new immigration programs starting in January. There are still more questions than answers, but here is what we know as of now, and a few things that should help people who are considering applying in the new Express Entry Stream.

Opening in January 2015, Express Entry is not actually a new program. Instead, it is a new way of processing skilled workers (including Canada Experience, Skilled Trades and Skilled Workers and some provincial nominees – more about that in next week’s blog).

People who want to apply will submit an online profile on CIC’s Express Entry website, which will include details about their employment, education, language skills and credential assessments. This is called “the Pool”. On a “frequent basis” (CIC has not told us exactly what that means), candidates will be selected from the Pool and will be invited to submit their permanent residence application (fees, forms and documents such as police checks and proof of medical exams). CIC promises a 6-month processing time. Meaning, from the date you submit your application, you will become a PR within 6 months. Unfortunately, it will be difficult to know if you will be invited out of the Pool to apply. You could be swimming around in there for months. After a year of being in the Pool, if you have not been invited to apply, your profile will expire.

However CIC promises that if you have a valid LMIA (formerly LMO), and meet all the other requirements (including language and credential assessments), you are guaranteed to be invited to apply for PR. If you have a current, valid LMIA and are interested in becoming a permanent resident of Canada, below are two things you can do NOW to enable your profile to be put in the Pool as soon as the program opens. We have also been told that LMIA applications for permanent job offers will have no government fee and a processing time of ten days.

Things to do:
1. Take a language test. Here are some links to information about the language level you must attain in order to qualify in the various programs:

Skilled Workers (i.e. University-educated, professionals)

Skilled Trades

Canadian Experience Class

2. Get your credentials assessed/certified:

Skilled Workers

Skilled Trades

Although it sounds daunting, I am of the view that anything is better than what we have now, which are limited programs for limited people in limited occupations, with unreasonable processing times. Not a great way of attracting immigrants to Canada.

We will continue to update our clients and website periodically as new information becomes available.

In the meantime, whEE! and EEk!