Express Entry programs

Comparing 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.

Comparing all the Express Entry programs


Eligibility criteria


Canadian Experience Class

Federal Skilled Worker Program Federal Skilled Trades Program
Language skills English or French skills  CLB 7 if your NOC is 0 or A
CLB 5 if your NOC is B
English or French skills  CLB 7 English or French skills  CLB 5 for speaking and listening. CLB 4 for reading and writing.
Type/Level of work experience Canadian experience in 1 of these NOCs: 0, A, B Also, Canadian experience in 1 of these NOCs: 0, A, B Foreign or Canadian experience in a skilled trade under key groups of NOC B.
Amount of work experience One 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 offer Not 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.
Education Not 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 will replace the old skill levels with TEER categories.

Relevant Articles

Last but not least, consider reading the following articles:

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    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.

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