The first point to understand is that Express Entry (EE) is not an immigration program. Rather, express entry is a system for managing applications and selecting candidates who will be invited to apply for Canadian PR (permanent residence). Candidates interested in immigrating to Canada through the express entry system first create a profile, which allows them to enter the pool of candidates in the express entry system if they are eligible.
To be eligible to create a profile under express entry, a candidate must meet the eligibility criteria of one of the actual immigration programs that are managed by express entry. Specifically, express entry is used to manage three immigration programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
So what about points then? Well, each of these three immigration programs uses its own criteria to determine whether you are eligible under that particular program. As an example, let's consider the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). This program has minimum requirements for skilled work experience, language ability, and education. Specifically, candidates need at least one year of continuous work experience classified under NOC 0, A, or B. For language ability, the candidate must achieve at least Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in our four abilities (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). And for education, the candidate must have a certificate, diploma or degree from a secondary or post-secondary educational institution. Candidates who meet the minimum criteria are then assessed using a point system on these and other criteria such as age and adaptability. At the time of this writing, a minimum of 67 points out of 100 possible points is required to pass and be considered eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).
Once found eligible for the FSWP or one of the two other programs (FSTP or CEC), the candidate can then proceed to create an express entry profile and enter the pool of eligible candidates. The express entry system has its own points system known as the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Each candidate in the pool is awarded points based on their age, education, work experience, and other relevant factors. When an express entry draw is held, a minimum score is indicated and every candidate in the pool exceeding the minimum score will be sent an invitation to apply for PR (permanent residence in Canada).
This is why candidates applying under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) are often confused about the FSWP points vs. the CRS points. You need to meet the minimum pass mark for FSWP (67 points out of 100) to be eligible for express entry. Then, you need to meet the minimum selection score for one of the express entry selection rounds to be finally invited to formally apply for PR.
Some references are included below to help you study these issues in more depth. If you are still confused or want to discuss your specific situation with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), or if you want an RCIC to review your application forms and supporting documentation, please book your Canadian immigration consultation session today! It's a small investment to help you avoid mistakes that could cost you the opportunity to immigrate to Canada and obtain Canadian citizenship!
- Eligibility to apply as a Federal Skilled Worker (Express Entry) - This is the IRCC page explaining the minimum criteria and the points system for the FSWP.
- Eligibility for Express Entry programs - This is the IRCC page explaining the eligibility criteria for express entry.
- Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Criteria - This page details how points are awarded under the CRS system.
- Eligibility to apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program - Explains the eligibility criteria for the FSTP.
- Eligibility to apply for the Canadian Experience Class - Explains the eligibility criteria for the CEC.