Tue | Dec 6, 2016

The facts about Canada's express entry

Published:Tuesday | January 13, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

I work at a hotel in Jamaica and all I seem to hear is everyone talking about express entry to Canada. A friend just lost her job, and now she claims that she is leaving her baby father to go to Canada. She said she emailed a consultant who told her about express entry and that anyone can get a green card for Canada. I am confused. Can you give me the basic facts so that I can be better informed and all my friends can stop hyping up about moving to Canada as I can't see why Canada would want anyone who is unemployed, has six children, and no money. Can you please just give me the truth about this new programme?

- H.Y.

Good day H.Y.,

Express Entry is not a new programme. It is a system to manage the existing economic immigration programmes to Canada. That means for one to qualify, he would need to be eligible under at least one of the existing economic programmes such as Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), Federal Skilled Trade (FST), Canadian Experience Class and part of the Provincial Nominee Programme. Once a candidate is deemed eligible, he could be granted the right to permanent residence in Canada. What is issued is a permanent resident card, not a green card.

How does one qualify?

A candidate will need to satisfy the minimum requirements under one of the existing programmes. The following are the top requirements:

1 Plan to live outside the province of Quebec.

2 Provide proof of English and/ French language proficiency. The two approved examinations are The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Programme General Test and The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training Examination.

Candidates will need to physically go to the test location and be tested on the following areas: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Candidates should strive to get a minimum of seven in each section to be competitive.

In Jamaica, a candidate may sit the IELTS English, General Training Examination at the University of the West Indies. The fee is £175. The current contact telephone number for the examination centre is 876-977-0887.

There are examinations centres in 140 countries, so candidates have the option of applying online to sit the examination in other countries such as Trinidad, Cuba, the USA, and Canada. The link for these centres is posted on my website: www.deidrepowell.com. The test is not a walkover, so be sure to prepare for it. Practice questions are posted on my Facebook page.

3 Provide proof of work experience. FST candidates must prove a minimum of two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade while FSW must prove a minimum of one year full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience ) in a professional occupation.

4 Meet the minimum job requirement based on the National Occupational Classification of Canada. This is very important!

5 A candidate must have a post secondary certification from a Canadian institution or have the non-Canadian credential assessed by one of the authorised bodies. A list of these institutions is posted on my website.

6 You must have the required settlement funds. If a candidate does not have a valid job offer from an authorised Canadian employer, then it is a requirement that you have enough funds to facilitate your settlement in Canada.

The amount of settlement funds required is based on the number of persons in your family.

Selection process

Applications will be processed in two stages. The first step requires a candidate to "express an interest in being considered for permanent residence by submitting an electronic application. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will then rank the candidate against other candidates based on core human factors such as grade received in the language examination in English and/or French, education, work experience, age, whether there is a valid job offer. A candidate can get a maximum of 500 points under this category. An additional 100 points is possible based on adaptability or how well a candidate is likely to settle in Canada.

Although a provincial nomination or proof of job offer is not required in order to enter the Express Entry pool, if a candidate has a job offer, is nominated by a province, or is selected by an employer an additional 600 points will be awarded.

The next step is that CIC will conduct a monthly draw and select the highest-ranking candidates and grant them an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. At this point, a candidate will be required to submit supporting documentation in order to be granted a permanent resident card.

How long will the process take?

CIC promises that once a candidate has submitted a completed application after being granted an invitation to apply, the application will be processed in six months or less.

Who can represent you?

This is a time-consuming application that demands understanding of the Canadian immigration system and laws. You must be careful to submit all information accurately. If a candidate has the time, experience, patience, and ability to submit an accurate and complete application, then he does not need a representative.

If, however, a candidate chooses to use a representative, then he must select someone who is authorised by CIC. CIC will not accept applications from persons who are not members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society, the Chambres des notaries du Quebec, or the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. For example, for the province of Ontario, you should visit the Law Society of Upper Canada, www.lsuc.on.ca, to find out if a representative is in good standing. These are the only authorised representatives. It is your duty to check the provincial organisations to find out whether someone is authorised to represent you.

Once a candidate receives an ITA, documents to substantiate your information will be required in 60 days.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, commercial, personal injury, family and administration of estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica.