November 11, 2016 - Major changes announced to the Express Entry System

On November 10, 2016, major changes were announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to the Express Entry System, including the way that points are distributed. The changes will come into effect on November 19, 2016, and will affect those in the Express Entry System, through which IRCC selects candidates for the Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program, and Federal Skilled Trades Program.

For more information on the Express Entry System, click here.

Canadian Education

Starting on November 19, 2016, additional points will be awarded to those with education in Canada. IRCC has stated that the points to be awarded for Canadian education is as follows:

  • 0 points, if the foreign national has a secondary school educational credential;
  • 15 points, if the foreign national has an eligible credential from a one-year or two-year post-secondary program; and
  • 30 points, if the foreign national has:
    • an eligible credential from a post-secondary program of three years or more,
    • an eligible credential from a university-level program at the master’s level or at the level of an entry-to-practice professional degree for an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification matrix at Skill Level A for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required, or
    • an eligible credential from a university-level program at the doctoral level.

In order to be granted these points, the foreign national must have

(a) studied in Canada at a Canadian educational institution
(b) have been enrolled in full-time study or training for at least eight months; and
(c) be physically present in Canada for at least eight months.

To be eligible for additional points relating to education, IRCC requires that the educational institution be a Canadian public postsecondary institution, or be a Canadian private post-secondary institution operating under the same rules as a Canadian public postsecondary institution. There are also exceptions outlined in which education in Canada will not be eligible for these additional points. 

Qualifying Job Offers No Longer 600 Points

Previously, foreign nationals with qualifying job offers were issued an additional 600 points. However, starting from November 19, 2016, points awarded from a qualifying job offer will be reduced to either 200 points or 50 points.

Individuals will be awarded either 200 points or 50 points for qualifying job offers, as follows:

  • 200 points, if the offer is for employment in an occupation contained in Major Group 00 in the National Occupation Classification (NOC). These are senior level positions.
  • 50 points for any other qualifying offer of arranged employment in a NOC 0, A or B. With these changes, other qualifying offers of arranged employment now include offers to foreign nationals with work permits under international agreements, including NAFTA, and those who have been issued work permits under the "Significant Benefit" category. However, points will only be rewarded if the foreign national has been working in Canada continuously for a minimum of 1 year, and the job offer is made to that foreign national by the same employer.

Notably, no changes have been announced regarding points awarded for provincial nominations. At this point, those with provincial nominations will still be awarded 600 additional points.

Longer Period of Validity for ITA

IRCC also announced that, as of November 19, 2016, Invitations to Apply (ITAs) will be valid for 90 days, and foreign nationals will have a corresponding 90 days to submit their applications for permanent residence.  The previous period of validity and required submission of the application for permanent residence was 60 days.

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These changes, outlined in the Ministerial Instructions Amending the Ministerial Instructions Respecting the Express Entry System, 2016-1, can be found here.

Thee above-mentioned changes may result in significant variation to the scores of those currently in the Express Entry System. Individuals with Labour Market Impact Assessment-based job offers (LMIA-based job offers) will see a drop in their scores. Those with Canadian education may see an increase in score.

For more information on the impact of these changes, contact us today.