Blog Entries

Summary report on information sessions held by ARGEIAD on Express Entry System (Moncton and Halifax)

Atlantic Research Group on Economics of Immigration, Aging and Diversity

As of January 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced 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.

Anyone who is accepted into the Express Entry pool could get an invitation to apply for permanent residence.  With Express Entry, employers can fill labour market shortages permanently with skilled foreign nationals. More information on this new system is available at

Because of strong interest expressed by our stakeholders and in the local community regarding the impact of the new system on entries of permanent and temporary residents in Atlantic provinces, ARGEIAD organized two information sessions, one in Moncton (March 20-2015) and one in Halifax (March 25-2015), with speakers from CIC (Ottawa office) and the Government of Nova Scotia.

Participants included, business employers, provincial government officials, settlement organizations, academic researchers and university students (domestic and international). In all, there were 75 participants present at these events. The presentations were followed by question and answer sessions at each event. A summary of presentations is provided below.

A summary of the new Express Entry system

The new Express Entry system is along the lines adopted in Australia and New Zealand. Express Entry is now the first step for a candidate wanting to immigrate to Canada under the skilled worker categories. The primary goal in introducing Express Entry is to improve the outcomes of Canada’s immigration program.  This is not a new program rather it is a new application management system for three federal programs (Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, Canadian Experience Class, and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs)[1]. It is an electronic application system intended to reduce the processing times of immigration applications. Under the old system, candidates submitted paper applications which were reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis. As a result, “higher quality” candidates waiting in the queue could not be prioritized. There was a significant backlog of applications under that system which took a very long time (in many cases many years) to clear. The processing time under EE system is expected to be reduced to six months or less. As of January 1, 2015, all skilled worker applications are now managed under this system.Before applying, candidates are required to create an online Express Entry Profile (at no fee) and register on the Government of Canada Job Bank[2]If an individual meets the minimum requirements of one of the three federal programs, then he/she can be entered into what is referred to as the EE pool. If the candidate scores highly in the pool and ranks among the top candidates,  the individual may be invited to apply. The candidate does not apply for consideration under any particular program, rather, based on the candidate’s profile, the system directs the application towards one of the three programs. A candidate’s selection is based on point score achieved by him/her, which determines their relative ranking within the pool. There is no occupational list or a quantitative restriction under the new system, whereas under the old system, foreign nationals couldonly apply to FSW if they had arranged employment or if their occupation was on the list of occupations deemed by CIC to be in demand. Caps were placed on each occupation.

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a new addition to the application process.  It measures human capital factors such as age, level of education, official language proficiency, and Canadian work experience. CIC has defined and allocated points for these factors and considers them to be the best predictors of economic success. Candidates can earn a total of 600 points on human capital factors. This 600 includes spousal points (a maximum of 40 points for a spouse’s human capital if the candidate has a spouse)and up to 100 points for the transferability of candidate’s skills, also referred to as interaction points (ex. strong language skills paired with a trade certificate, or both Canadian and foreign work experience).  Finally, 600  additional points can be allocated for candidates with a provincial/territorial nomination or a valid job offer.[3]

In 2015, CIC expects to hold 15-25 rounds (i.e. 1 round/2 weeks) of invitations to apply. Candidates can keep a profile online for up to one year allowing consideration in more than one round. In each round, CIC invites the highest CRS scoring candidates from the EE pool to apply for permanent residency (candidates have 60 days to apply). A completed application is evaluated by a CIC officer who makes a determination on the veracity of the information. Thereupon CIC undertakes to process the application within six months.

The “invitation rounds” are aligned with immigration levels tabled in parliament each year, which takes into consideration economic migrants, provincial nominee program, refugee class, and family class. CIC publishes on its website the date and time of each round; the number of candidates that received invitations to apply, the score of the lowest ranked candidate to receive an invitation, and if applicable, the program(s) that would have been chosen from.

Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program and the Express Entry: Nova Scotia Demand Express Entry (NSDEE)

Over the past fifteen years, smaller Canadian provinces have been playing greater role in the national immigration program. For example, each Atlantic province has an immigration strategy designed to attract more immigrants. In Nova Scotia, immigration is being used as a tool to address the economic challenges posed by the fastest aging of its population in the country, and declining population growth. However, immigration policy remains under federal jurisdiction and provincial immigration programs have to conform to the goals set by the federal government. Changes to any of the streams introduced by provinces, even minor ones, are to be negotiated with the Federal Government.

Nova Scotia Government Launches Two New Immigration Pilots

The Government of Nova Scotia launched its first Express Entry pilot stream, Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry Stream (NSDEE), on January 1, 2015. Eligible candidates must have a permanent full-time job offer from a Nova Scotia employer or at least one year of continuous full-time or part-time paid work experience (1,560 hours or more) in the last five years in select occupations (as listed in NSDEE guidelines). 

NSDEE is modeled after the Federal Skilled Worker Program and adapted to the specific labour market needs of the province. Requirements include a foreign credential assessment (ECA) and Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in all 4 language area abilities (i.e. reading, writing, listening and speaking in either English or French), demonstrated by language test results from a designated agency (i.e. IELTS - General Training Test only, CELPIP -General test only or TEF).  Applicants have to obtain 67 out 100 points from six selection factors (i.e. education, ability in English and/or French, work experience, age, arranged employment in Nova Scotia and adaptability). Applications are proceeded through the federal government’s new “Express Entry” intake system.

For more information on NSDEE, please visit:

The Government of Nova Scotia launched its second Express Entry pilot, Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry (NSEEE), on May 12, 2015. Modelled after Canadian Experience Class, NSEEE provides a streamlined pathway for candidates who have worked for a Nova Scotia employer for at least one year in a high-skilled occupation (NOC 0, A, or B) to gain permanent residency. Like NSDEE, it uses the federal government's new “Express Entry” intake system.

NSEEE was designed in response to news that some well-qualified candidates with experience working in Nova Scotia, such as recent international graduates, were not being drawn from the federal “Express Entry” pool.  Requirements include the need for an ECA report for foreign credentials, and CLB 7 in all 4 language area abilities (reading, writing, listening and speaking) for

NOC 0 and A and CLB 5 for NOC B, in either English or French demonstrated by language test results from a designated agency IELTS (General Training Test only), CELPIP (General test only) or TEF.

For more information on NSEEE, please visit:

[1] Skilled Worker Program includes the following sub-categories:  Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Skilled Trades, Canadian Experienced Class, and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program.

[2] The job bank is beginning to play a role in connecting employers who are unable to fill gaps in the labour force with prospective candidates (Canadians or permanent residents) who are able to fill some of those positions. Note, employers will not have access directly into the EE pool, but will be able to view the EE pool through the website.

[3] A valid job offer is considered when employers are unable to fill job vacancies with Canadians or permanent residents. A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is now required for all valid job offers. In order to be issued an LMIA, employers must test the labour market (i.e. posting advertising positions) and offer prevailing wages.