Canada Express Entry Returns: How To Get In The Express Entry Pool

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Canada immigration news: Foreign nationals who want to immigrate to Canada as skilled workers can use a fast-track system called Express Entry by creating an online profile and applying – if they are eligible – under one of three federal immigration programs.

Those programs, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class all draw on candidates from the Express Entry pool. But each program has its own requirements which the foreign national must meet. 

The good news is that all-program Express Entry draws are set to resume on July 6, following a lengthy hiatus due to a large application backlog caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic,


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The first step a foreign national should take to get into the Express Entry pool is to first find out if he or she is eligible by answering a few questions on this federal government website. 

Easy-To-Use Online Tool Helps Determine Express Entry Eligibility

That website asks the foreign national to indicate to which province he or she wishes to immigrate and indicate what language tests he or she has taken, the scores on those tests, and how much work experience he or she has and in what domain.

Assuming the applicant is, in fact, eligible for one of the three federal programs which use Express Entry, the website will then advise him or her on the following steps.

Once deemed eligible, the website will give the foreign national a personal reference code which is good for a couple of months. That personal reference code, which is only good for that particular person’s profile, should be recorded by the applicant and kept as it will be needed later when he or she applies for immigration online.


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“We will use this code to retrieve the information you have already provided for your profile,” the federal government advises prospective Express Entry applicants.

Ottawa also advises foreign nationals to print out the webpage with the steps needed to proceed further. 

Next, the foreign national should log in and submit an online profile to the Express Entry system. 

Canada Uses Secure ‘Electronic Key’ To Safeguard IRCC Account Information

For security reasons and to ensure the applicant’s information is kept confidential, the Canadian government uses an “electronic key” to provide secure access and allow people to create these Express Entry profiles.

“To access our immigration and citizenship online services, you need to create a secure account,” explains the federal government. 

“Your account lets you start an application, submit and pay for your application, get messages related to your application, check the status of your application and update your information.”

Getting these electronic keys is fairly simple and can be done in two ways. 

Sign-In Partners Are Banks And Credit Unions Partnering With SecureKey Technologies

A user can create an IRCC secure account by either registering with a GCKey – which is short for Government of Canada Key – or registering with a sign-in partner such as a bank or credit union that partners with SecureKey Technologies.

To register with a GCKey, just follow these steps:

  • click here;
  • then, click Sign Up;
  • read the terms and conditions of use and click I Accept;
  • create a username. Click Continue;
  • create a password. Click Continue;
  • create your security questions and responses. Click Continue;
  • click Continue to get to the Sign Up Complete page;
  • read the terms and conditions. Click I Accept, and, finally;
  • enter your information and follow the steps to create your account.

To register with a sign-in partner, the foreign national will typically use the same sign-in he or she usually uses to access his or her banking services.

  • first, click here;
  • choose your financial institution. If you don’t see your financial institution listed, you need to register with GCKey;
  • enter your banking sign-in information and click Continue;
  • read the terms and conditions of use and click I Accept;
  • enter your information and follow the steps to create your account.

Those foreign nationals who have already gotten an electronic key can, of course, skip these steps and just go straight to the login page as a returning user.

Once the electronic key is created, a foreign national is prompted to create an account and then select “Express Entry” to continue.

It’s at this step that the applicant is asked to input that personal reference code mentioned earlier. That personal reference code should look something like this: QK4350881372.

The system then guides the applicant through the following steps to complete his or her profile. The entire process of creating a profile usually only takes about 15 minutes.

Information From Documents Needed To Complete Express Entry Profile

The applicant will need certain documents, such as language test results, and his or her NOC code and job title to complete an Express Entry profile but can exit the profile at any time as the system saves the information. He or she can then return within 60 days to complete the profile and submit it.

Although these documents do not need to be uploaded to submit a profile to the Express Entry system, applicants may need information from some or all of these documents:

  • a passport or travel document;
  • language test results;
  • proof of Canadian education or an educational credential assessment report for immigration purposes if applying through the FSW or to get points for the education gotten outside Canada;
  • provincial nomination (if the applicant has one);
  • written job offer from an employer in Canada (if the applicant has one);
  • proof of work experience;
  • certificate of qualification in a trade occupation issued by a Canadian province or territory (the applicant has one), and;
  • proof of sufficient funds.

The Express Entry system is open to candidates working in any of 500 occupations under Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) system based on the job’s duties and the work done.

NOC System Categories Jobs To Streamline Processing For Immigration

Management jobs are classified in the NOC as Type 0. Professional jobs that usually require a university degree are Skill Level A and technical jobs that usually require a college diploma or training as an apprentice are classified as Skill Level B.

Intermediate jobs that usually require a secondary school education or on-the-job training are classified as Skill Level C and those that provide on-the-job training are ranked as Skill Level D.

It takes about 15 minutes to answer the few questions Ottawa poses to determine the eligibility of a candidate for Express Entry.

Once the foreign national has completed and reviewed his or her Express Entry profile, then it is submitted and a webpage will appear to confirm that fact and provide further information on any further steps to take. 

Applicants to the Express Entry system are also sent an e-mail to confirm the submission of their profile to the Express Entry pool. 

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