Canada: New Express Entry Rules In Effect As Of November 19, 2016

Last Updated: November 25 2016
Article by Henry Chang


On January 1, 2015, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, implemented its Express Entry System.  Express Entry applies to the following permanent resident categories:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker ("FSW") Class;
  • The Canadian Experience Class ("CEC");
  • The Federal Skilled Trades ("FST") Class; and
  • Members of the Provincial Nominee Class who fall within the Express Entry Stream of a Provincial Nominee Program ("PNP").

Under Express Entry, applicants who wish to be considered under any of the above permanent resident categories must now submit an online profile, to indicate their interest in immigrating to Canada.  Those who meet the applicable eligibility requirements of at least one of the classes described above (i.e. FSW, CEC, FST, or PNP (Express Entry Stream) are accepted into a special pool of candidates (the "Express Entry Pool"). 

Of course, acceptance into the Express Entry Pool does not guarantee that a particular candidate will receive an Invitation to Apply ("ITA") for permanent residence.  Instead, candidates in the Express Entry Pool are ranked against each other using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System ("CRS").  The candidates with the highest CRS score are periodically selected from the Express Entry Pool and sent an ITA.

On October 21, 2016, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration issued revised Ministerial Instructions (the "2016 Amendments"), which made significant changes to the existing Express Entry System.  These changes came into effect on November 19, 2016. 

Changes to Qualifying Offers of Arranged Employment

Under the prior Express Entry System, a foreign national with a "qualifying offer of arranged employment" received 600 CRS points, more than enough to guarantee that they would immediately receive an ITA.  However, only a permanent, full-time offer of employment that was based on a Labour Market Impact Assessment ("LMIA") issued by Employment and Social Development Canada would qualify. 

Under the 2016 Amendments, certain LMIA-exempt work permits will also count as a qualifying offer of arranged employment.  However, the permanent offer of employment must be made by the employer listed on the work permit, the foreign national must be working for that employer, and the foreign worker must have accumulated at least one continuous year of full-time work experience (or the equivalent in part-time work) with that employer.

To be eligible, the LMIA-exempt work permit must have been issued in the circumstances described in Subsection 204(a) [pursuant to an international agreement between Canada and one or more countries, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement], Subsection 204(c) [an agreement entered into by the Minister with a province or group of provinces (i.e. provincial nominees)], or Section 205 [i.e. significant benefit to Canada, intra-company transferees, reciprocal employment, etc.] of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations ("IRPR"). 

Unfortunately, the number of CRS points that will be awarded for having a qualifying offer of arranged employment has also dropped.  If the offer of employment is for an occupation contained in Major Group 00 [Senior Management Occupations] of the National Occupational Classification ("NOC"), 200 CRS points are awarded.  In all other occupations (NOC 0 A, or B), 50 CRS points are awarded. 

This will still benefit holders of the above LMIA-exempt work permits, who would not have previously received any CRS points for having a qualifying offer of arranged employment.  However, the drop in CRS points will severely disadvantage foreign nationals holding LMIA-based work permits, who would have received 600 CRS points under the previous Express Entry System; most will now receive only 50 CRS points.

CRS Points for Canadian Educational Credentials

In response to allegations that the previous Express Entry system disadvantaged international students graduating from Canadian post-secondary educational institutions, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration had expressed a willingness to make it easier for them.  The 2016 Amendments attempt to address this problem by awarding additional CRS points for Canadian educational credentials. 

The previous Express Entry System already offered CRS points for level of education but it treated Canadian and foreign educational credentials the same.  However, in order to obtain CRS points for a foreign educational credential, the foreign national would require an Educational Credential Assessment, confirming that the foreign credential was equivalent to a Canadian credential. 

Under the 2016 Amendments, foreign nationals with Canadian educational credentials will now receive additional CRS points as follows:

  • 15 points for an eligible credential from a one-year or two-year post-secondary program in Canada; and
  • 30 points, for:
    • An eligible credential from a post-secondary program of three years or more;
    • An eligible credential from a university-level program at the master's level or at the level of an entry-to-practice professional degree (i.e. a law degree, engineering degree, etc.) for an occupation listed in the NOC at Skill Level A, for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required; or
    • An eligible credential from a university-level program at a doctoral level.

The term "eligible credential" is defined as follows:

  • A degree, diploma, certificate or trade or apprenticeship credential from a Canadian public post-secondary institution or from a Canadian private post-secondary institution that operated under the same rules and regulations as a Canadian public post-secondary institution;
  • A diplôme d'études professionnelles or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle earned through a program of study of at least 900 hours from a private secondary or post-secondary institution in Quebec; or
  • A Bachelor's, Master's or doctoral degree from a Canadian private post-secondary institution, if a provincial statute authorizes that institution to confer that credential.

However, the following are not considered eligible credentials:

  • Credentials obtained in a study or training program in which the study of English or French as a second language amounted to more than half of the program;
  • Credentials obtained in a study or training program in which distance learning amounted to more than half of the program; or
  • Credentials obtained in a study or training program while receiving a scholarship or fellowship that stipulated that the recipient return to their home country to apply the knowledge and skills gained.

CRS points are only awarded for the highest level of education and only if the following requirements are satisfied:

  • For the purpose of obtaining the credential, the foreign national studied in Canada at a Canadian educational institution;
  • For the purpose of obtaining the credential, the foreign national was enrolled in full-time study or training for at least eight months; and
  • For the purpose of obtaining the credential, the foreign national was physically present in Canada for at least eight months.

Maximum CRS Points for Additional Factors

The 2016 Amendments define the phrase "additional factors" to include:

  • Qualifying offers of arranged employment;
  • A nomination under the Express Entry Stream of a PNP; and
  • Canadian educational credentials. 

They also make clear that the maximum number of CRS points that may be awarded for these additional factors is 600 points.  So a foreign national who has already received 600 CRS points for being nominated under the Express Entry Stream of a PNP cannot also receive CRS points for a qualifying offer of arranged employment or for Canadian educational credentials. 

Changes to the Deadline for Responding to an ITA

The 2016 Amendments increase the period of time that applicants will have to respond to an ITA.  Under the previous Express Entry System, applicants had only 60 days to complete an online Application for Permanent Residence ("APR").  As of November 19, 2016, they now have 90 days to submit an online APR after receiving an ITA.

Miscellaneous Modifications

The 2016 Amendments also made several miscellaneous changes for the purposes of "consistently and clarity."  For example, they now clarify that:

  • The validity period of a spouse's language test results is two years;
  • In order to receive CRS points for either Canadian or foreign work experience, wages must have been paid or a commission must have been earned;
  • Candidates must also meet the requirements of at least one of the federal economic programs subject to Express Entry to satisfy the minimum entry criteria; and
  • If a candidate claims CRS points for a job offer, officers have the authority to assess whether the candidate is able to perform and is likely to accept and carry out this arranged employment. 

Treatment of Applicants in the Express Entry Pool

The last round of ITAs before the effective date of the 2016 Amendments took place on November 16, 2016.  A total of 2,427 ITAs were issued; the CRS score of the lowest ranked candidate who received an ITA was 470 points.  These candidates will continue to be assessed under the prior Express Entry System.

The CRS scores of candidates who were already in the Express Entry Pool prior to November 19, 2016, will be automatically updated to reflect the 2016 Amendments before the next round of ITAs takes place.  However, these candidates will still need to update their Express Entry profiles and answer new questions before additional CRS points will be awarded for Canadian study credentials or for having a qualifying offer of arranged employment. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Henry Chang
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.