CANADA: Changes made to Express Entry Immigration Program

The Government of Canada is making changes to the Express Entry immigration program that are designed to level the playing field between various types of work permit holders who apply for permanent residence.  The new rules comes into effect on 19th November 2016.

The previous points system awarded 600 points to skilled workers who were issued work permits that were obtained through a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).  The system did not award points to work permit holders whose permits were granted through International Mobility programs such as NAFTA or as intra-company transferees.

The new system will award either 200 or 50 points to work permit holders who have an “eligible” job offer.  For those whose permits are issued on the basis of an LMIA, senior executives or managers (NOC OO) will be awarded 200 points and others whose jobs fall into NOC O, A, or B will be awarded 50 points. 

Candidates who have work permits that were based on an LMIA exemption may also be eligible to receive points if their permit was issued pursuant to an international treaty such as NAFTA or as an ICT.  Candidates in this category must be working for the employer specified on their work permit and have worked continuously for that employer for 12 months prior to applying through Express Entry. Again, senior executives or managers will receive 200 points and those who have an occupation in NOC O, A, or B will receive 50 points. 

This is good news for foreign workers who have been issued permits on the basis of an LMIA exemption, as they will no longer be at a disadvantage relative to those who were the beneficiary of an LMIA. 

Other changes to the program include an extension in the time a person has to submit a complete application after they receive an Invitation to Apply. This period was 60 days and has now been extended to 90 days. Also, foreign students who earn a degree in Canada will be eligible to receive either 15 or 30 points depending on the number of years required to complete their program of studies. 

For more information about these changes or if you would like to discuss how they may impact your employees, please contact us at   

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