Immigration Corner | How much money do I have to pay for the Express Entry System?
Dear Miss Powell,
W hat are the various costs associated with applying for permanent residence in Canada via the Express Entry System? I have been saving, but I want to know what fees and costs I can anticipate so that I’m not stressed at the last minute. I look forward to your response. Thank you.
The Express Entry System is a two-stage application process introduced by Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in 2015 to manage economic programmes such as the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, the Federal Skilled Trades Programme, Canadian Experience Class, and some Provincial Nominee Programmes.
The costs associated with your application vary according to your personal situation and your home country. Apart from ensuring that you have the settlement funds required (see previous articles), you should be prepared to have the required funds to provide proof of your background and credentials.
If you do not already have a scanner, I would recommend that you invest in one. You will be required to scan and email documents to your legal representative or upload to the IRCC portal.
Since the documents and items cost vary according to family and region, I will outline below the documents and fees that you should be prepared for when contemplating an application for permanent residence in Canada.
PROOF OF LANGUAGE SKILLS
The principal applicant and spouse should be prepared to present proof of language skills in at least one of Canada’s official languages so that IRCC can access if you have the minimum Canadian Language Benchmark, or Niveaux de competence linguistique canadiens.
You will be expected to pay for and sit an examination. It is your duty to check the latest information about testing in your region or country, as these costs vary. The approved tests are for English – Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program, General Examination and the International English Language Testing System, General Training Examination.
For the French language, the acceptable test is the TEF Canada, Test d’évaluation de français, or the TCF Canada, Test de connaissance du français. You should note that the IRCC will accept the TEF results if you wrote your test before March 1, 2020. If you wrote the test on or after March 1, 2020, you are required to provide a TEF Canada report.
You are also required to demonstrate your highest education. If you or your spouse attended a post-secondary school outside of Canada, an educational credential assessment (ECA) report is required of your international studies. If you have a masters degree, or doctor of philosophy, you only need to get the highest degree assessed. If you have two or more certifications, such as two bachelor’s degree, or a bachelor’s and a postgraduate diploma, certificate, or an associate degree, then it is recommended that you get each certification assessed. At least one of the certifications must be for three or more years of study.
You must use an authorised representative to produce an ECA for immigration purposes. You will need to pay for your transcript from your school and then pay for the cost of obtaining the report. You may choose one of the following organisations: World Education Services, International Qualifications Assessment Services, International Credential Evaluation Services and Comparative Education Services – University of Toronto School of Continuing Services. You should find out the processing time and cost from the organisation before making your selection.
If you are a doctor, you should apply for your ECA from the Medical Council of Canada. If you are a pharmacist and need a licence to practise as a pharmacist, the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada must do your assessment.
If you receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence, you will be required to provide copies of all the documents to prove that you are indeed eligible and admissible. That means that you will need to properly scan and upload documents such as police certificate from all countries that you spent more than six continuous months over the last 10 years. Additionally, you will need to pay for the fees associated with getting proof of your savings and investments from your bank, the costs of obtaining birth, adoption, death or marriage certificates (if applicable), and the cost of obtaining a medical report from one of the panel physicians. This list is not exhaustive, as the required documents are based on your case.
The IRCC fees can change at any time, and so once you have answered all the questions and uploaded all the required documents, you will be directed to submit payment by a credit card via the portal. If you do not have a credit card, now is the time to obtain one with limits that can support your application fees.
Currently, the IRCC requires processing/application fee for the principal applicant in the amount of CDN$825; for spouse, $CDN825; for each child, CDN$225; a biometrics fee of CDN$85 for an individual and CDN$170 for a family of two or more.
You have the option of paying your right of permanent residence fee (RPRF) up front to avoid delays, or you may pay same when required. The fee is CDN$500. The RPRF does not apply to the dependent children of a principal applicant.
If you chose to hire a representative, he/she may charge you a fee if that individual is an authorised representative. You should only seek the assistance of an authorised Canadian lawyer to assist with the application. Only lawyers who are members of a Canadian Provincial or Territorial Society or the Chambre des notaires du Québec are authorised to represent you for a fee. In Ontario, paralegals who are members of the Law Society of Ontario can also be paid representatives. Members of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council are also authorised.
It is your duty to check with the various organisations to see if an individual is a lawyer, paralegal or consultant that is in good standing before you hire that individual. The IRCC will only accept applications from authorised representatives, and you must sign a use-of-representative form with that individual.
Legal fees are not fixed by the IRCC or any law society. This will vary according to an individual’s expertise and the assistance required. You should contact the lawyer of your choice to find out the legal fees. Most representatives will charge you the legal fee but will not include the disbursements outlined above.
Deidre S. Powell is an immigration lawyer, mediator, and notary public in Ottawa, Ontario. Submit your questions and comments via her website or call 613.695.8777. You can also find her on Facebook.com, Twitter, and Instagram. Visit her website at www.deidrepowell.com to book a telephone meeting.