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A big change is happening in Canada.

A monumental change!

While most people outside the realm of immigration will not be affected, those within the immigration industry and would-be applicants to Canada will be in for a surprise starting Jan. 1, 2015.

The Canadian Federal Government is changing the way it manages its immigration applications.

Most laws will remain the same but this new model (which was adopted from Australia) is a complete overhaul of the way Canada manages applications and who gets selected to immigrate to Canada.

We are no longer talking about minor tweaks (for example, reducing the age of dependents to 19 and under that became effective in August 2014) or we are not talking about increasing the number of immigrants per year.

The new immigration system, called “Express Entry” or “Expression of Interest (EOI)” is a major change unseen for decades.

It completely shifts gears on how Canada selects permanent residents and it now puts the Canadian Government in the driver’s seat as opposed to previous (current) regimes.

Under the current system, an applicant for example, a registered nurse, with work experience will likely qualify and in turn that applicant will file an application for permanent residence.

Assuming, she/he is qualified under the rules, the applicant’s file will be processed on a first applicant in-first applicant processed basis.

If you file today, you will be processed.

That is the way the system has worked for decades.

In addition, under current rules, applicants normally must have a work experience in an occupation in demand in Canada.

There is currently a cap or quota on such occupations.

However, under the new Express Entry System, anyone can apply.

There are no more quotas.

There are no more occupation lists.

Any person who is qualified can now apply and “register” with Canada Immigration to show “an expression of interest” to immigrate to Canada.

It should be noted that to “register” a person must have proven documents to evidence their skills, language ability, education and other details.

After that, the applicant is given a ranking by Canada Immigration and then they wait.

Their “registration” is put into a pool of all applicants and Canada Immigration will “cherry pick” every so often who they want to immigrate based on the labor needs at that time.

The higher the ranking the quicker you will be contacted by Canada Immigration.

Once Canada Immigration “invites” you to immigrate and has contacted you, the applicant must submit their permanent residence application within 60 days.

The 60 days is not a long time and that is the reason applicants should have all their documents ready before they “register.”

Assuming the applicant has submitted all the required documents within the 60-day period, Canada Immigration is committed to processing the immigrant visa in six months.

The above is the new Express Entry program in a nutshell.

The following additional information comes directly from communications with Citizenship & Immigration Canada’s Express Entry Ambassador.

Do not rely on private sites or social media that provide misleading information on the new EOI:

WHO CAN APPLY UNDER THE EXPRESS ENTRY PROGRAM?

The EOI program applies to economic applicants who wish to apply for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canada Experience Class program.

It does not affect those who wish to visit Canada or those being sponsored.

WHY IS IT CALLED EXPRESS ENTRY?

It is express for those who are invited.

Once invited by Canada, a person has only 60 days to formally provide their documents and then an immigrant visa will be issued in six months.

It is not express if you are not invited.

HOW IS A PERSON GOING TO BE RANKED?

An applicant is ranked according to what will attract the best and brightest to Canada and in conjunction with the labor needs of Canada.

The top priority will be those with job offers in Canada.

Applicants with guaranteed offers of employment will be given highest ranking.

After that, applicants with strong language, education and work will be scored high (no job offer is required).

HOW OFTEN WILL CIC “PICK PEOPLE” OUT OF THE POOL?

Canada Immigration has not announced specific numbers on how many they will pick per week or per month for example.

However, it is important to note that Canada Immigration has announced that it will issue about 260,000 - 280,000 immigrant visas per year.

Within that number about 64% of those visas will be given to economic applicants under EOI (Federal Skilled, Federal Trades, CEC) which translates to about 180,000 visas under EOI.

Therefore, if for example there are very few applicants with a job offer (highest ranking), the next in line will be those with no job offer taking into account that 180,000 will be used.

DOES A PERSON NEED A JOB OFFER OR A RELATIVE IN CANADA?

No.

A job offer or a relative is not required but having one or the other will bump you up in the ranking and will increase the time that Canada contacts you.

WHAT HAPPENS IF AN APPLICANT REGISTERS AND NEVER GETS CONTACTED?

An applicant’s initial registration will expire in one year and must be renewed.

CAN A PERSON UPDATE THEIR INFORMATION AFTER REGISTRATION?

Yes, if for example a person registers with a bachelor degree and then after registration completes a masters degree, the person can update his profile hoping to bump up his ranking.

HOW DOES IT AFFECT APPLICANTS WHO APPLIED BEFORE JAN. 1, 2015?

Applicants who have filed applications before Jan. 1, 2015 are not affected by the EOI and are processed under current laws.

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Atty. Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario.

The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document.

Send questions to him by e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call toll-free: 1-888-847-2078.