Fri | May 20, 2022

Immigration myths and realities

Published:Monday | July 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

I am an administrative assistant with more than six years' experience. I want to migrate to Canada. I was reading about the express entry programme and it seems quite simple. I don't see why I need a lawyer. The only thing that concerns me is that I don't have a job offer. I want to submit my application immediately, so can you tell me some of the things I should look out for in dealing with this?

- BL


Dear BL,

The express entry system may appear simple to some individuals, but there are some myths about the system that cause individuals to risk their chances of receiving permanent residence in a timely manner. The system is often misunderstood or underestimated. I previously outlined the basic facts about the system and I strongly recommend that you review that article. In answering your questions, I will focus on seven myths about the express entry system and will highlight the realities.


Myth 1: Express entry is the only way to immigrate to Canada.


Reality: Express entry is a system that was introduced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to manage the federal economic programmes such as Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trade (FSTP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and some Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP) applications. That means that there are some PNP applications that do not fall under the express entry system. In fact, Quebec Skilled Worker, and Quebec Experience Programme do not fall under the express entry system. Family sponsorship applications are also excluded from the express entry system. Temporary immigration programmes such as the temporary resident visa, work permit and study permits are also excluded from the system. These other programmes remain in effect and individuals must follow the procedures for applying for those other programmes and not use the express entry system.


Myth 2: There is no cap, and express entry is open to anyone.


Reality: There is no cap on the number of applications that CIC will receive, nor is there a restrictive list of occupations as with previous years. However, individuals will still need to qualify under the existing FSWP, FSTP, and CEC programmes. Your occupation must be on one of the qualifying national occupation code lists. You will need to satisfy the minimum requirements under each programme and be able to meet the required minimum points based on the established core human factors. To find out if you qualify, complete the free online assessment form available at


Myth 3: A job offer is required before you apply under express entry.


Reality: You do not need a job offer in order to apply under the express entry system. If you do have a job offer then this will help you to get more points and be more likely to be selected.


Myth 4: If English is your fist language, you do not need to sit an English examination.


Reality: The government of Canada has stipulated that in order to enter the express entry pool, every candidate must pass at least one or both of the official language tests. That means that you must pass the minimum benchmark based on the programme under which you are applying. The acceptable English examinations are the General Training, International English Language Testing System (IELTS), The General 2014 test under the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), and Test d'evaluation de francais (TEF) for French.


Myth 5: The express entry system is simple and no documents are needed to apply.


Reality: The system may appear simple, but you will still need all the usual supporting documents. While you are not required to upload documents to enter the express entry pool, you will need the reference numbers for your language examination results and your educational credential assessment report. If you receive an invitation to apply, you will have 60 days in which to upload the standard documents required when you apply under the FSWP, FSTP, CEC and PNP. It is, therefore, imperative that you have these documents in advance. You will only have 60 days in which to supply these documents and there will be no extension of time, so you will need to be prepared.


Myth 6: You can't change your express entry profile once it is submitted.


Reality: You can update your profile after you have submitted the application. A common reason to update the system is if you resit a language examination, have additional training, received a promotion, or received a job offer. These changes will improve your ranking and increase your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence.


Myth 7: It's an easy system and you do not need to hire a lawyer.


Reality: The system is designed to reduce wait time and backlog for CIC. It does not mean that CIC will be less vigilant or that its original standards are lowered. In fact, the system makes it easier for CIC to monitor and check applications more carefully. The applications will be thoroughly scrutinised and errors or misrepresentations can lead to rejection or serious penalties. Every individual's life experience is different. An authorised immigration lawyer will be able to review your life experiences and prepare your application to ensure that it is well received by CIC. You will know in advance whether your particular occupation falls within the acceptable codes, your comprehensive ranking score and ways to enhance your profile. This will maximise your chances of receiving an invitation to apply and ultimately make Canada your new home.

• Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars. She is a Citizenship and Immigration Canada-authorised representative. Her areas of practice are immigration, real estate, personal injury, commercial, family, wills and estates in Jamaica and Ontario. Submit your questions and comments via email: Subject line: Immigration. Find her on Facebook: www.facebook/jamaicanlawyer Tel: 613-695-8777.