Comparing Express Entry programs 2023
Author: Andrea Neira
Last Updated On: February 2, 2023

The Express Entry programs

Express Entry is an online system that Canada uses to manage applications for permanent residence under 3 programs:

Before comparing the key differences between these three programs, let’s quickly explore how the Express Entry system works.

Express Entry System

According to our CEO and RCIC, Al Parsai:

  1. The applicant creates an online account on the IRCC website. Of course, if the applicant hires a licensed representative, they create an account for the applicant on their special portal with IRCC.
  2. Then, the applicant enters basic information about their work experience, education, knowledge of the official languages of Canada, age, etc.
  3. IRCC reviews the application. If it meets the conditions under any of the FSWP, CEC, or FSTP programs, the applicant enters the pool of Express Entry for up to one year. IRCC also calculates the points of the applicant under the Express Entry criteria. This pointing system is called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).
  4. Moreover, IRCC picks several applicants from the pool of Express Entry every few weeks. Of course, only those who hold the highest CRS scores will be invited to apply for immigration to Canada.

The invited applicant

  • The invited applicant fills out a new set of forms and uploads several documents to the IRCC account to support their claims.
  • Furthermore, IRCC officers review those documents. If they are convinced the applicant is eligible they ask the applicant to complete a medical examination via an approved physician, also known as the Panel Physician. They also complete background assessments and security screening to make sure the applicant is admissible to Canada.
  • If the applicant passes all the tests they could land in Canada as a Permanent Resident.

It sounds easy; however, the devil is in the details.

<<The Express Entry process in Canada>>

Comparing all the Express Entry programs

Eligibility criteriaCanadian Experience ClassFederal Skilled Worker ProgramFederal Skilled Trades Program
Language skillsEnglish or French skills  – CLB 7 for TEER 0 or TEER 1 occupations
– CLB 5 for TEER 2 or TEER 3 occupations
English or French skills  CLB 7English or French skills  CLB 5 for speaking and listening. CLB 4 for reading and writing.
Type/Level of work experienceCanadian work experience in an occupation listed in 1 or more of these NOC TEER Categories:
Also, work experience in an occupation listed in 1 of these NOC TEER Categories:
Work experience in a skilled trade under key groups of TEER 2 or TEER 3
Amount of work experienceOne year in Canada in the last 3 years (either combination of full-time or part-time work)One year continuous within the last 10 years (combination of part-time, full-time, or more than 1 job in your primary occupation)Two years within last 5 years (either combination of full-time or part-time work).
Job offerNot required.Not required. But you can get selection criteria (FSW) points for having a valid job offer.Required:                            – a valid job offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least 1 year or
– a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority.
EducationNot required.Secondary education is required. You can get more selection criteria (FSW) points for your post-secondary education.Not required.
*Source: Government of Canada website.

These are just some key differences between the programs. Of course, you can read about a specific program to get more details about eligibility: FSWP, FSTP, CEC.

We recommend studying this system carefully or consulting with a licensed professional before initiating an application. We have seen many people who applied on their own but IRCC refused them for simple mistakes that could be easily prevented.

In addition, be aware that changes may apply due to the latest version of NOC, NOC 2021. This version replaces the old skill levels with TEER categories.

Relevant Articles

Last but not least, consider reading the following articles:

Let us Help!

If you have a broad question about immigration to Canada, please fill out the following form. However, if you have specific questions, book a consultation session. You may alternatively fill out our assessment form. Also, to receive updates on immigration news subscribe to our newsletter.

    Full Name (required)

    Email Address (required)

    Have you entered your email address correctly?

    WhatsApp number (optional)


    Your Message

    Read this in Spanish

    Related Posts

    Understanding the Roles of Immigration Practitioners in Canada

    Jul 23, 2024

    Business Visitor Entry Under CUSMA for U.S. and Mexican Citizens

    Jul 21, 2024

    Can You Get Express Entry CRS Points with a Trade Certificate?

    Jul 20, 2024

    Navigating Skilled Trades and Licensing in Canada for Immigration

    Jul 18, 2024

    Fill our Free Canada Immigration Assessment Form in your language!

    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

    The characters and places in the articles:
    All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

    Important Notes:
    For our official addresses, trust this website only. We currently do not have offices outside Canada. Therefore, anyone who claims to be our agent is committing fraud. Also, note that we do not issue any work permits or study permits or similar documents. The government of Canada has the sole authority to issue such material.

    Click to read the disclaimer.

    Andrea Neira