Thu | Oct 21, 2021

Immigration Corner | How to qualify under the Express Entry System

Published:Tuesday | September 14, 2021 | 12:05 AM

Dear Miss Powell,

I am a chef, and my husband is a restaurant manager in Jamaica. We are interested in finding work in Canada and living there with our family. Can you let us know how we can move to Canada? I hear about the express entry programme. Can you tell me if I would qualify?

– WT

Good day WT,

Many hotel workers have successfully relocated to Canada using the express entry pathway. Individuals who have experience working in the hotel sector may apply to become permanent residents in Canada, if you are able to satisfy the requirements to enter the express entry pool of eligible candidates.

The express entry is not a programme, it is a system used by the government of Canada to manage the existing economic immigration programmes to Canada. That means that to qualify, you would need to be eligible under at least one of the existing economic programmes, such as Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), Federal Skilled Trade, Canadian Experience Class, and some Provincial Nominee Programme.


To qualify under the Express Entry System, individuals would be asked several questions to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements to entry the pool of candidates. These questions would be based on your age, work experience, education, family in Canada and settlement funds available. I will highlight below some of the key requirements. However, I urge you to connect with us directly via to received personalised service.

Individuals will need to provide proof of language ability in at least one of Canada’s official languages. The two approved English language examinations are The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Programme general test and The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) general training examination. The IELTS examination is being offered at The University of the West Indes in Jamaica. For French, you will need sit the Test d’Évaluation du Français (TEF Canada) at the Alliance Française in Jamaica.

Although the minimum requirement is to demonstrate your language skills in either English or French, individuals who can provide French-language test results from the TEF examination as well will have their scores and eligibility increased. The key is to score Canadian Language Benchmark Level 7 or higher, to receive additional points for French language.

To qualify, you must demonstrate that you have work experience in a national occupation classification (NOC) code that is approved under the Express Entry System. Chefs, cooks, butchers, restaurant managers, hotel managers, marketing managers and other service supervisors and managers could fall under one of the approve NOC codes. The key is to clearly demonstrate that you have the education required for the job that you are doing, so that you would be able to get a job in a similar field in Canada. A prospective applicant must have a post-secondary certification from a Canadian institution, or if you attended a non-Canadian school, your credentials must be assessed by one of the institutions authorised to provide such a report.

Although a job offer is not a strict requirement, 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 settlement fund means that you must have money that is unencumbered and in a savings or investments account. You cannot use your property, such as land, house, store, warehouse, motor vehicle, as a source of settlement funds. The amount of settlement funds required is based on the number of persons in your family. For example, for a single person, you must show that you have approximately CAD$13,300; for a couple, CAD$16,500; for a couple and a child, CAD$20,500; family of four, CAD$24,600; family of six, CAD$31,500, and so on.

Everyone who is admitted into the pool will be given a Comprehensive Ranking System ( score based on the information provided and that will determine if you receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence of Canada).

The express system is very competitive and only the highest-ranked candidates are selected. Therefore, individuals should seek to get the best possible scores before entering the pool. To find out how you can maximise your scores, deal with inadmissibility or other immigration issues, contact an immigration lawyer to provide you with a personalised service and to help you establish an immigration plan.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public in Jamaica and Ontario. Submit your questions and comments via her website at Find her on Facebook, Instagram or twitter. Tel: 613-695-8777.