In my previous post, I highlighted the first 3 steps towards becoming a Canadian permanent resident.  I can almost hear the question you whispered to yourself as you got to the end,

“What next after I have set up my Express Entry Profile?”

Step 4: Wait for an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Before I go on to explain what an Invitation to Apply is, I’d like to give a brief overview of the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

All candidates who are entered into the Express Entry pool are ranked against each other using a point-based system: The CRS. This assesses each candidate’s submitted profile information (skill set, work experience, language ability, education and other factors) and awarded points to each candidate. The maximum points you can get in the CRS is 1,200 points based on the four sections of the CRS formula. These sections are:

  1. Core/human capital factors
  2. Spouse of common-law partner factors
  3. Skills transfer-ability factors
  4. Additional points for those with a nomination from a province or territory or a valid job offer.

 Breakdown of how CRS points are calculated.

After completing your Express Profile,  you wait for IRCC to conduct one of their rounds of invitation. Candidates who have a job offer supported by a LMIA from an employer in Canada or who have a Provincial nomination will normally get the additional 600 points and stand a higher chance of receiving an ITA. However, other candidates who have decent CRS scores can also get the ITAs without having a job offer or provincial nomination. In recent times, the minimum CRS scores have been on the high side with fewer invitations being issued.

A full list of all the previously held rounds of invitations.

Note: You do not need a job offer or Provincial nomination to get an ITA. Both are a significant plus for an applicant but not a requirement for getting the ITA.

When a round of invitations is conducted by IRCC, a set of ministerial instructions is issued which is the basis on which the electronic system invites candidates from the pool. These instructions include the date and time of the round of invitations; the number of candidates that will get an ITA; and where applicable, the specific immigration program(s) will be included. Where the instructions do not specify which immigration program the candidates must be eligible for, the invitations will be based solely on the CRS score.

If you receive an ITA, you will get a message in your MyCIC account telling you which program you are invited under, and instructions on how to proceed with your application. You have 60 days from the day you received your ITA to submit a complete application for permanent residence. Failure to submit within this period will lead to the expiration of the ITA.

In some cases, you may have to decline the ITA either due to your inability to gather all the necessary documents needed to submit a complete application; or because there has been a change in your situation from the time of creating the Express Entry Profile, such as the loss of a LMIA job or marriage/common-law relationship or expiration of your language test scores, which has led to the reduction of your points beyond the minimum CRS score in the draw you were invited.

Use this tool to confirm that you are still qualified to apply after getting the ITA.

If your CRS scores fall below the minimum score for the draw you were invited in, you should decline the ITA. Failure to decline the ITA will lead to a refusal and your application fee will not be refunded. When you decline the invitation, you will be put back into the Express Entry pool to be considered in future rounds of invitations. While there is no guarantee that you will be invited to apply again, declining an invitation does not have a negative effect on your chances of being invited again.

Bear in mind that your Express Entry profile is only valid for one year from the date you get accepted into the pool. Your MyCIC account will show you that date. If you do not get an ITA in those 12 months, your Express Entry profile expires.

Here’s what to do when that happens.

As soon as you have created your Express Entry profile, you should begin to gather the documents that you will need to complete your application for permanent residence. ITA before you start collecting your documents. As stated earlier, you will only have 60 days to fill out and submit your complete application. The document checklist required for each candidate may vary depending on each individual’s situation. Generally, applicants need to start gathering the following documents:

  • Language Tests: They must be valid on the date you plan to apply for permanent residence. Where your results have expired or about to expire, you should get re-tested, apply before the tests expire or decline the invitation and go back into the pool.
  • Police Certificate: You must get a police certificate for yourself and every family member over 18 who will be coming with you to Canada. The police certificate(s) must be gotten from every country or territory that you have resided in for six or more consecutive months since the age of 18. If you have a criminal record, you may not be allowed to enter or stay in Canada.
  • Passport/Travel Documents: Ensure that your passport/travel documents have at least 6 months’ validity as at the time of your application for permanent residence.
  • Diplomas and Transcripts: of all post-secondary school education including the Educational Credential Assessment report.
  • Employment Records:  You should start taking steps to obtain proof of work experience for your current job and for each past position that you are claiming points for. Your proof of work experience may include a reference letter and pay stubs, if you have them. The reference letter must:
  1. Be an official document printed on company letterhead;
  2. Include your name, the company’s contact information (address, telephone number and email address), the signature of your immediate supervisor;
  3. Show all positions held while employed at the company;
  4. Include job title, duties/responsibilities, job status (if current job), the dates you worked for the company, the number of work hours per week and your annual salary plus benefits.

If you are applying under the Federal Skilled Workers Program or Provincial Nominee Program Category, you will need to submit Proof of Financial Support. This must be an official letter issued by your financial institution indicating your financial profile. This must:

  1. List all your bank accounts (including investment accounts), the account numbers, dates each account was opened and the balance of each account over the past six months;
  2. List all outstanding debts, such as credit cards and loans;
  3. Be printed on the letterhead of the financial institution and include your name and the contact information of the financial institution (address, telephone number and email).

I was pleasantly surprised by the volume of traffic that I got on my first post. Not only was it encouraging, I realized that there is a palpable need for more easy-to-digest information on navigating the maze of Canadian immigration law.

In my next post, I will be writing about the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) offered by each province/territory of Canada. Every province/territory has its own requirements and it may appear daunting to have to go through each provincial immigration website to decipher the best option for your situation.

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