Now that you have understood Express Entry basics, you might be thinking about Express Entry Eligibility or more specifically “Am I eligible under Express Entry?”. You can determine your Express Entry Eligibility by filling up a simple questionnaire/online form called Come to Canada tool. In addition to this automated tool, you can also manually check your Canada Express Entry Eligibility. Continue reading for more information…

Checking Canada Express Entry Eligibility Via Come To Canada Tool

Come to Canada tool is an official tool that asks you very simple questions and tells you if you are eligible to apply through Express Entry system.

You do not need to submit any documents for this initial Express Entry Eligibility. At this stage your name/ID information is also not needed. Before you start, please have the below information handy.

  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Number of family members
  • Education qualifications** : Enter Canadian equivalency as per your Educational Credential Assessment. (Only the title of your highest qualification needed at this point)
  • Language ability** : Test results for Official Languages (English or French). This will be asked for you and your spouse or common law. To prove if your Language Skills meet the minimum requirement.
  • Work experience : Only the number of years of skilled work experience needed at this point.
  • Details on any job offer in Canada.
  • Your preferred province(s) in Canada : This impacts your eligibility for Provincial Nominee Program
  • The amount of money you will be bringing into Canada.

You should be able to complete the entries in Come to Canada tool in under 30 minutes.

Based on your answers, the tool will show a positive or negative Express Entry Eligibility for you and give you a Personal Reference Code if you are eligible.

Personal Reference Code

Based on your answers, Come to Canada tool will show eligibility for Express Entry programs and show you a Personal Reference Code on your screen (It looks like this: JM1234567890 ). Keep this Personal Reference Code safe as you can use it later when you are creating your Express Entry profile.

Personal Reference Code has a validity of only 60 days, so it is possible that it may expire before you have completed your Express Entry profile. If it expires, simply go back to Come to Canada tool and complete the questionnaire again, a new Personal Reference Code will be generated for you.

Important information regarding Come to Canada toolThe exact program you are eligible for is not provided to you at this stage. You will be shown your eligible program when your Express Entry profile is complete.

Can one be eligible for more than one program under Express Entry?

This depends on the information in your profile. It is possible that there are multiple programs you may be eligible for. If that happens, you will be invited to apply for one program based on the following order:

  1. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  2. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  3. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

You can’t choose which program you are invited to apply for as the system automatically sorts profiles based on the information you provide.

If you decline an invitation, the system will not re-invite you under the next program. As a result, you will go back to the pool. In case you are invited again, the same order will re-apply.

Checking Canada Express Entry Eligibility Manually

In addition to the automated Come to Canada tool questionnaire, one must also manually cross-check their eligibility. Not only does this ensure more accurate results, going through program eligibility requirements also educates you about the process.

If you wish to identify your program of eligibility before creating a profile, you can do so by manually assessing yourself against the eligibility requirements of these three programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program

Eligibility criteria for Canadian Experience Class Program

To be able to apply for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class, an applicant needs to meet 5 key requirements.

  1. At least 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada: This work experience should be legal and paid. Co-operative employment as a student or professional projects undertaken while on a study permit cannot be considered as skilled work experience. This skilled work experience needs to be for a minimum duration of 30 hours per week for 12 months (full time) or 15 hours per week for 24 months (part time).
  2. Application within 3 years: It is important that the skilled Canadian work experience is not obtained longer than 3 years ago.
  3. Legal Status: Applicants should have gained the experience while on a legal work permit, in a legally recognized sector. The job should be listed under NOC as managerial jobs (skill type 0), professional jobs (skill type A) or technical jobs and skilled trades (skill level B) .
  4. Minimum Language Levels: Just like applicants under any other immigration program, CEC applicants too need to pass a minimum language benchmark. However, this benchmark differs according to the type of jobs. For NOC 0 or A jobs, an applicant must score a minimum CLB7 each in reading, writing, listening and talking. In case of NOC B jobs, a minimum score of CLB5 is required in each of the aforementioned areas.
  5. Plan to Live outside the Province of Quebec: Quebec has its own immigration system that is separate from the federal government’s economic immigration programs. Applicants entering the Express Entry pool should plan for permanent residence in other provinces.

Eligibility criteria for Federal Skilled Worker Program

  1. Education: Candidates must be able to prove that their education is equivalent to Canadian secondary or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree. In case an applicant studied in Canada, these certificates/degrees should be from a recognized Canadian institute. Applicants who studied outside of Canada need to get their education assessed by an authority recognized by IRCC. The authority should be able to provide a valid Educational Credential Assessment Report after evaluating all the documents.
  2. Language Ability: Applicants must complete a valid language test in either English or French. This is to prove they meet the minimum language requirement for Express Entry. The minimum score for being eligible for FSW is Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in all four areas (writing, reading, listening and speaking).
  3. Skilled Work Experience: The applicants need to provide proof of their skilled work experience. The latter specifically refers to one of the job groups listed under National Occupational Classification. These could be managerial jobs (skill type O), professional jobs (skill type A) or even technical jobs and skilled trades (skill level B). The skilled experience should be a paid job for a duration of 30 hours per week for 12 months (full time) or; 15 hours per week for 24 months (part time).
  4. Proof of Funds: Applicants need to prove that they have sufficient funds in order to support themselves and their accompanying family in Canada. An exception to this rule is when the applicant has a valid job offer from an employer in Canada. In that case, they also need to have a legal work permit and be admissible to Canada.
  5. To be accepted as a skilled worker through FWS, you must score at-least 67/100 on FSW 100 points scoring system

Eligibility criteria for Federal Skilled Trades Program

  1. Language Ability: An applicant must score a minimum of CLB5 each for speaking and listening and CLB4 each for reading and writing in either English or French. A language test recognized by the IRCC would determine the minimum language abilities of the applicants.
  2. Educational Qualifications: There is no minimum education requirement for FST program. However, proving that your education is equal to a completed certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian secondary institution (high school) or post-secondary institution can help in improving your CRS score.
  3. Proof of Funds: Similar to FSW, applicants are required to show that they have sufficient funds to meet the minimum proof of funds requirements. Proof of funds is not required if the applicant is eligible to work in Canada and able to show a valid job offer.
  4. Work Experience: applicants need to have work experience in the occupation listed under the below major NOC groups. These are subdivided into various occupations. Essentially, all of these fall under the skill type B category.
  • Major Group 72, industrial, electrical and construction trades
  • Minor Group 632, chefs and cooks
  • Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades
  • Minor Group 633, butchers and bakers
  • Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators
  • Major Group 82, supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production

Federal Skilled Worker Points System

If you are currently outside Canada and do not have Canadian Education/Work Experience, Federal Skilled Worker Program is the program that is most likely to be applicable to you. Federal Skilled Worker Program uses a 100 points scoring system which is commonly referred to as Federal Skilled Worker Points or Six Selection Factors Points.

One important point to remember with Federal Skilled Worker Program is that you must score at least 67/100 points on the “Six selection factors”. You will not be eligible for FSW if your score on Six selection factors is lower than the pass mark of 67 points. So it is extremely important for candidates applying under FSW stream to manually double check their eligibility against Federal Skilled Worker Six Selection Factor scores rather than just rely on Come to Canada tool results.

Six selection factors for Federal Skilled Worker Points

  1. English and/or French skills
  2. Education
  3. Experience
  4. Age
  5. Arranged employment in Canada
  6. Adaptability

Federal Skilled Worker Points Calculator

You can use this simple tool to check your eligibility against Six selection factors of FSW program. Based on simple inputs the tool will instantly calculate and display your scores.

Once you have determined that you score the minimum 67/100, next step would be to Calculate your CRS Score

Additional Information

** For many of you this may be the first time you are checking your eligibility for Express Entry. In many such cases, the applicants may not have gone through language tests and got their qualifications assessed against Canadian standards (ECA). As this is simply a preliminary eligibility check, you can make reasonable assumptions about your Language test scores and ECA to gain an initial idea on your eligibility. You should also manually go through eligibility requirements for the 3 programs mentioned above to determine your eligibility. Do not proceed to create an express entry profile if you have not completed a language test and education credential assessment.

When you have the Language test results and Educational Credential Assessment ready, please check your Come to Canada tool eligibility again. Eligibility results can change based on your language scores and educational qualifications. Complete the Come to Canada questionnaire with updated results and use a new Personal Reference Code to create your Express Entry profile.


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