Express Entry is an immigration system implemented by Canadian immigration authorities ("CIC") on January 1, 2015 which manages skilled worker applications under Federal Economic programs. This includes the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Skilled Trades Program the Canada Experience Class and certain parts of the Provincial Nominee Program.

Through the end of July 2015, CIC conducted 13 draws, issuing 15,980 invitations to apply for permanent residence. Read whether express entry is a success or failure.

How does express entry operate?

Colin Singer: Under Express Entry, qualified applicants across many occupations are invited to submit their profile to an Express Entry Pool and to the Canada Job Bank.

Employers across Canada are encouraged to review the Canada Job Bank and provide a job offer to the candidate of their choice.

Applicants with an approved job offer or those selected by a province or with "Provincial Nomination" are considered a "match" and will be invited to formally apply for Canadian permanent residence.

The profiles of the remaining applicants will be ranked for consideration without a "sponsor" or hiring employer. Using a point system according to a number of selection factors such as Age, Education, Language, Experience and other factors, the highest ranked candidates will be considered for their potential "human capital" contribution to Canada.

Immigration authorities will then decide which of the highest ranked applicants will be invited to apply for permanent residence, through periodic draws. Candidates who are issued invitations (ITA's) are given a delay of 60-days to perfect their application.

It appears candidates who were selected during the first draws had high comprehensive ranking scores. Why is this?

Colin Singer: We believe that during the initial stages, CIC aimed to set the bar as high as possible. It wanted to showcase its new Express Entry Immigration system as a successful program that brings candidates to Canada with a strong likelihood of integrating fully and quickly into the Canadian labour market.

Studies show that applicants with a valid job offer (LMIA) or having Provincial Nomination (PNP), have the highest chances of meeting these objectives. During the first 4 draws only applicants with an LMIA or Provincial Nomination received ITA's. It is no surprise that CIC set the bar as high as it could for the first series of draws.

Under express entry, are candidates required to obtain a job offer from a "sponsor" Canadian employer?

Colin Singer: Annual levels for 2015 have been raised to between 260,000 - 285,000 which will represent Canada's highest immigration levels in 5 years. Canada's annual admissions this year will derive significantly from the Express Entry system. Beginning in 2016 the majority of economic class admissions to Canada will derive from this system.

We can observe that after the first 4 draws, the minimum CRS scores averaged 465 in 8 of the 9 subsequent draws, through the end of July 2015. The lowest CRS score was 451. Many candidates received an invitation without LMIA or PNP nomination.

We expect that in order for CIC to reach its annual immigration levels, CRS scores will significantly decline into the 300's in future draws. This will favor candidates without an LMIA or PNP,

A qualified job offer (LMIA) from an employer in Canada is a significant benefit but it is not a requirement.

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About the author

Colin R. Singer is immigration counsel for and Managing Partner of Global Recruiters of Montreal. He is one of Canada's foremost senior corporate immigration attorneys. Colin is internationally recognized as an experienced and recommended authority on Canadian immigration and foreign recruitment. In addition to being licensed human resources professional, he is a licensed Canadian lawyer in good standing with the Quebec Law Society for more than 25 years and is authorized by the Canadian government in all immigration matters.

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The content of this article reflects the personal insight of Attorney Colin Singer and needs no disclaimer.