A Step-by-Step Guide to Federal Skilled Worker Program (Part 2)
Are you about to create your Express Entry profile? If so, then this detailed guide is for you.
You can find this information from IRCC’s website, but it can get a bit confusing. So I’ve tried my best to explain everything to know on how to create your Express Entry profile in an easy-to-digest way.
If you’re hiring an agency or a consultant, this might also help. You’re not going to do some of the steps here. But you still need to prepare your documents for your consultant. So this post would give you an idea of what to prepare.
If this is your first time to hear about Express Entry, I suggest that you start with this article.
This post is in two parts by the way. And I’ve created a checklist that you can download and print.
In Part 1, you’ll learn the documents and information you need to prepare before you create your Express Entry profile.
Then in Part 2, I’ll show you the following:
- Steps on how to create your Express Entry profile
- The next steps that you should do after you create your Express Entry profile
In both parts, you’ll find:
- Answers to some of the most common questions about Express Entry, and
- Practical tips to remember
What I’ve shared here is based on our own Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) application experience. So it might not apply to everyone. But I also included an explanation from IRCC’s website.
If you’re fired up, let’s get down to business.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not meant to substitute professional advice. Information were gathered from both the author’s actual immigration experience and from official websites. To verify the most-up-to-date information, check www.canada.ca.
DISCLOSURE: This post contains an affiliate link by Grammarly. That means when you sign-up for a free account or upgrade to Premium using my link, I get a small commission but without extra cost to you.
JUMP TO CONTENTS
- A Quick Recap of the Express Entry Process
- Two Important Questions to Answer Before You Create your Express Entry Profile
- Did you meet the required score for FSWP’s Six Selection Factors?
- Who will be the principal applicant?
- Documents and Information You Need to Prepare to Create your Express Entry Profile
- Answers to Some of the Frequently Asked Questions
- What if my language test results are about to expire anytime soon?
- Does my partner also need his language test results and ECA?
- What if my job title is not the same as my actual job duties?
- How soon should I have my proof of funds (POF) ready?
A Quick Recap of the Express Entry Process
I won’t bore you with a detailed explanation of Express Entry, so this is just a quick overview.
Express Entry is a point-based online system that Canada uses to manage PR applications under its three programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
I only focused on FSWP here because this was what my husband and I took. You can go here if you wish to know more about FSTP and CEC.
One thing you need to remember about Express Entry is this: it is uber-competitive.
As of August 3, 2021, the Express Entry pool has a total of 169,505 candidates under all three programs. And once or twice a month, IRCC only invites the top 5,000 candidates more or less to apply for permanent residency. These candidates are the highest scorers based on their CRS scores.
What’s a CRS score? CRS score is the points that you’ll get once you enter the Express Entry pool. These points are based on your language test results, education level, work experience, and so on. The most possible CRS score is 1,200. The higher your CRS score, the higher your chance of getting invited to apply for permanent residency.
So remember this: get as many points as you can. I’ll be giving some practical tips on how you can do this as we go along.
Now that you know how competitive Express Entry is, let’s discuss two more important steps that you need to do before you create your profile.
Express Entry is an uber-competitive point-based selection process.
As of August 3, 2021, the Express Entry pool has a total of 169,505 candidates and only the top 5,000 candidates (based on CRS score) more or less get invited to apply for permanent residency.
The higher your CRS score, the higher your chance of getting invited to apply for permanent residency.
So remember this: get as many points as you can.
Two Important Questions to Answer Before You Create your Express Entry Profile
Question 1) Did you meet the required score for FSWP’s Six Selection Factors?
“IRCC says I’m ineligible after I submitted my profile. What could be the reason?
I often hear this from among DIY applicants. They’d say that they’ve met the least requirements on language, education, and work experience. But still, IRCC says they’re ineligible.
I don’t know the exact reason, although others say it’s a system glitch. But one of the possible causes of ineligibility is not meeting the least required score in the Six Selection Factors. It’s not enough that you meet the least requirements in language, education, and work experience. If you don’t get at least 67/100 in the selection factors, you’re still ineligible in FSWP. If you haven’t done this step, go to this post where I shared a step-by-step guide to calculate your score.
To avoid surprises after you create your Express Entry profile, make sure you meet the required points for the Six Selection Factors.
“I checked this already but IRCC still says I’m ineligible,” you say. Then it might be time to consult a Licensed Immigration Consultant.
Now, let’s say you’re eligible for FSWP. If you’re applying as a family, there’s one more thing you need to decide (if you haven’t decided yet).
Question 2: If both you and your husband are eligible, who should be the principal applicant?”
This is something you need to decide before you create your Express Entry profile. And this was exactly what happened to me and my husband. Both of us are eligible for FSWP, but who should be the principal applicant? Should it be the husband?
In our case, it was me, the wife, who became the principal applicant. Why? It was because I have the potential to get a higher CRS score between me and my husband. I also had a higher chance of getting a PNP from Ontario because of my family ties (I have an uncle who lives there).
“How do we know who gets a higher CRS score between me and my spouse?”, you might ask. You can compute your CRS score using IRCC’s Comprehensive Ranking System score chart.
Or if you’re hiring an agency or consultant, you can also ask them for their advice.
Documents and Information You Need to Prepare to Create your Express Entry Profile
At this point, I assume that you’ve covered the basics.
Let’s do a quick round-up:
- You scored 67 or higher in the Six Selection Factors in FSWP
- You have your IELTS or CELPIP results
- You got your ECA report
- You’ve decided who will be the principal applicant (if you’re applying as a family)
Before we go to the steps on how to create your Express Entry profile, let’s make sure first that you have your documents and information ready. If you’re hiring a consultant, it might help that you know this as well. This way, you can start to prepare everything they need to create your Express Entry profile.
So, let’s get on with it.
If you’re the principal applicant, these steps are for you.
What documents do I need to prepare?
For FSWP, here are two documents that you should have with you right now. These are:
- A valid language test result, and
- Your ECA report
I explained in this article how to get these two in case you don’t have them yet.
Here are some important notes you need to know about these two documents.
First, your valid language test result.
You need to make sure of the following:
- If English is your second language, it should be from either IELTS General Training or CELPIP General. IRCC will not accept IELTS Academic or CELPIP LS General for Express Entry.
- Whichever test you took, the results are only valid for 2 years. So check that your result is still valid.
- Your language test results should meet the least required score. For FSWP, it should be CLB 7 or higher. In IELTS, this means your score in each ability (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing) should be 6 or higher. In CELPIP, it should be Level 7 or higher. Take note that we’re NOT talking about your average score. The required score applies to EACH of the four abilities. So for example, you get a 5 in your IELTS Listening, and a 6 for the others, it will disqualify you from FSWP.
Now, let’s go to your ECA.
As discussed in this post, IRCC only accepts ECA from designated organizations. If you got your ECA from World Education Services (WES), then you can use it for your Express Entry profile. But it has to be valid. An ECA from WES has a 5-year validity, so if you recently got yours, this shouldn’t be an issue.
You have to make sure of the following:
- Your Canadian equivalency is at least a secondary or high school diploma, and
- Your foreign education is from a recognized institution.
If your ECA says that your institution is not recognized, then you won’t qualify for Express Entry’s FSWP.
Screenshot from www.canada.ca
What information do I need to prepare?
Now, let’s move on to the list of information you need to prepare before you create your Express Entry profile. Ideally, you should prepare them in advance so that when you sit down to create your Express Entry profile, you just need to enter all the information.
If you’re hiring an agency or consultant, they will most likely give you a list of documents and information they need from you. But you can also refer here if you want to.
In overview, here is the information you need to know in advance:
- Your NOC job title and code (for your present and previous jobs in the last 10 years under NOC 0, A, or B). If you have your resume with your detailed job description, have it ready, too.
- The province or territory you plan to live in. If you have family members or relatives in Canada, you’re most likely to also settle where they live.
- Amount of Canadian dollars you will bring in Canada (based on the number of your family members)
I’ll share more details on the items mentioned in the above list shortly, so stay with me.
You might also need to get information from your personal documents, so prepare the following:
- Your passport and travel documents, including that of your partner and family members (if applicable).
- Residency documents if you’re currently residing outside of your home country (such as your residency visa, Emirates ID, etc). This is in case you need to provide your identification numbers.
If you have
- a valid job offer from a Canadian employer
- past studies or work in Canada (of you and your partner), or
- previous Express Entry or visa applications to Canada
… then prepare all documents connected with these in case you need to provide details in your Express Entry profile.
Now, as promised, here are the important details of the information you need to prepare.
Your NOC job title and code
Without this information, you can’t complete your Express Entry profile. That’s why before you start creating your profile, you need to know this.
If you have other past jobs in the last 10 years under NOC 0, A, or B, then you also need to know their NOC codes.
To find out what your NOC job title and codes are, go to this website.
Follow the instructions by IRCC.
For example… when I applied through Express Entry, I was a Marketing Manager. Based on IRCC’s website, my NOC Code is 0124 (Advertising, marketing, and public relations managers) under Skill Level 0.
Now, I need to make sure that my job duties match those listed under my NOC code. So on this website, I went on to find out the job duties under NOC 0124.
I also need to get the NOC codes of my past skilled jobs in the last 10 years. A skilled job is any job under NOC 0, A, or B.
In FSWP, you only need at least 1,560 hours of paid work experience in skilled jobs. It can be a combination of full-time or part-time jobs, but there shouldn’t be any gap. If you’ve only worked full-time, 1,560 hours is equal to one year (based on a 40-hour workweek).
In my case, I have had other skilled jobs in the last 10 years, which gives me more points in my CRS score. So, I would need the NOC codes for these jobs as well.
If you’re in the same case, then you should take note of the NOC codes of your past jobs, too. Just make sure they are all under NOC 0, A, or B and they should be in the last 10 years.
Next, we go to the province or territory you plan to live in.
Which province or territory do you plan to live in?
You’ll be asked this question once you start to create your Express Entry profile. But I want to help you decide now so you can save time.
Most applicants will choose someplace where they have family members or relatives. But what if you don’t have any? How do you choose which province or territory to live in? I’m going to answer this in my future post, but for now, try checking this list of the best provinces to live in Canada.
But if you’re still unsure, just choose someplace you’re most likely to live in. It’s not necessary that you will live in this province unless you get a nomination from it.
How much money in Canadian dollars are you going to bring and how many members do you have?
This is also another question that you need to answer when you create your Express Entry profile. This is what is called the proof of funds, or what others refer to as the “show money”. Although in reality, it’s not just for show because you actually need this money once you come to Canada.
You need to make sure to check the latest required proof of funds based on your family members. This amount changes from time to time so make sure to refer to the most up-to-date information.
You don’t need to have this entire amount available when you create your Express Entry profile. If this is the case, you can still give this answer in the Express Entry questionnaire. Otherwise, if you give an amount below what’s required, you’ll appear ineligible to apply for Express Entry. But make sure that you somehow have a plan on where you’ll get your funds after you create your Express Entry profile.
Frequently Asked Questions
If this is your case, you may want to retake your language test before you create your profile. You can also submit your profile before re-taking your language test. But make sure to retake your test and update your profile before your original test result expires. Otherwise, the Express Entry system will reject your profile from the pool of candidates because you’ll become ineligible. In this case, you need to create a new Express Entry profile.
If you’re applying as a family, it’s not required for your partner to have these two documents. But it is highly recommended. Why?
Because your partner’s language skills and education can give you up to 30 points in your CRS score under Spouse Factors. Plus extra 10 points if he has work experience in Canada. So if your partner doesn’t have his ECA report or hasn’t taken a language test, you may want to ask him to have them. As I said, Express Entry is a point-system selection process and is highly competitive. So the more points you can get, the better.
If your spouse has taken a language test, he only needs at least a CLB 5 in each ability for you to earn points. In IELTS, CLB 5 is a band score of 4 for Reading and 5 for the other three abilities. In CELPIP, it’s Level 5 in all four abilities. But the higher his score is, the better. You can actually get up to 20 points for his language skills.
For his education, you can get extra points if his Canadian equivalency in his ECA report is a secondary or high school graduate level or higher. The higher the education level, the higher the points.
Let’s say that by profession, you’re using the job title Sales Accounts Manager in commercial real estate. Your NOC code is 0601 (Corporate sales managers). But your job description in your actual work isn’t the same as the duties listed under NOC 0601. You’re not managing a sales department. And you don’t do any of the duties mentioned under NOC 0601. You’re more of a real estate agent or salesperson managing corporate clients under your account. So your job duties match those listed under NOC 6232. Which code should you use in your profile?
According to IRCC, the main duties listed in your NOC Code should match what you did at your job. You have to prove this later on by submitting Employment Letters detailing your job duties from your past and present employers.
So in the given example, if your job duties match NOC 6232 instead of NOC 0601, then you should use NOC 6232 in your Express Entry profile. It shouldn’t be an issue as long it’s still under NOC 0, A, or B.
Let’s say you don’t have your funds ready by the time you create your Express Entry profile. Then at least have a plan on how you’ll raise this amount anytime as soon as you enter the Express Entry pool. If you have funds but not the full amount yet, deposit whatever you have in a bank or financial institution. And here’s why.
Once you successfully create an Express Entry profile, there may be an instance when a province will send you an invitation to apply for their PNP. Once you accept their invitation, one of the requirements that you need to submit is your POF. When you also get an ITA (Invitation to Apply), another part of the requirements is to submit your POF as well. In most cases, you’ll need to submit a bank statement in the last 4 or 6 months. It depends on what the province or IRCC tells you. So if you can start saving up little by little, do it.
According to IRCC, your funds should be readily available to you when you submit your POF. This money should be in a bank or financial institution. And you should be able to withdraw it anytime. Some forms of mutual funds may not be accepted since there’s a waiting time from when you withdraw your money until you can actually get it.
You should take note of this because IRCC only accepts official letters from any banks or financial institutions where you’re keeping money.
So in short, your POF should be ready as soon as you create your Express Entry profile. You don’t need to request bank statements yet. But the funds should be in a bank or financial institution.
The only instance that you won’t need to submit your POF is when you’re authorized to work in Canada and you get a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.
So, do you have your documents and information ready to create your Express Entry profile?
Here’s a quick summary of everything you should have with you right now:
- Your IELTS or CELPIP result, and ECA report (and your partner’s)
- NOC codes of your present and past skilled jobs (in the last 10 years)
- Your passport and travel documents, including your family members’
- An idea of which province or territory you plan to live in
- Amount of Canadian dollars you need as proof of funds
And if applicable, documents and information related to the following:
- proof of residency status if you live outside your home country (i.e. residency visa, Emirates ID, etc.)
- a valid job offer from a Canadian employer
- past studies or work in Canada (of you and your partner)
- or previous Express Entry or visa applications to Canada
You can use this Express Entry Profile Document and Information Checklist to make sure that you’ve got everything ready.
If you’ve got all your documents and information prepared, go to Part 2 of this post for the steps on how to create your Express Entry profile.
PS: Did I miss anything in the list above? Let me know in the comments!
About the author:
JK Legaspi is a permanent resident of Canada since 2018. She and her family lives in the beautiful Niagara Region. As the founder of Detour To Canada, she aims to help aspiring and future immigrants reach their Canadian dreams by sharing her family’s own immigration and newcomer story.
Do you have some questions about immigrating to Canada? Ask them in the comments section.
Do you find this article useful? Hit any of the share buttons below.