Finally, relief for international students: Changes to the Express Entry system announced

November 2016

Way back in April, I attended the Canadian Bar Association’s annual national immigration law conference. Our Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, John McCallum, knew that the Express Entry application management system wasn’t quite working out how the department was expecting.  At a luncheon address, he advised those of us in the crowd that changes to the way ‘points’ were allocated to applicants would be changing.  International students, he said, would be one group who would benefit from the changes. 

So, for over six months, I’ve been meeting with potential Express Entry applicants and telling them that the points system would change. In mid-October, I heard that the changes would be in November.  Two weeks ago, I stopped doing consultations for most potential clients – what was the point when everything was about to change!

Yesterday, the changes were finally announced and you can read them in all their complexity here:

Ministerial Instructions Amending the Ministerial Instructions Respecting the Express Entry System, 2016-1

You’ll need to have the old version of the Instructions, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations open while you read them, so you can flip back and forth as you go through the amendments.  Note that since the US election, the IRCC website has been down periodically due to unprecedented demand.  If the link doesn’t work, wait a few minutes, and try again.

Here are the highlights:

  • The total number of available points will remain at 1,200
  • Previously, 600 points were awarded for having a job offer that was backed by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or for having a nomination from a province. Those 600 points are now broken down into three categories:
    • Having a provincial nomination

    • Having a qualifying offer of employment

    • Having a Canadian educational credential (a degree, diploma or certificate from a Canadian college or university)

    • Provincial nominations will continue to receive 600 points

  • A qualifying offer of employment can be based on:
    • Having a LMIA for the position

    • Having a valid work permit, that was issued pursuant to an LMIA

    • Having worked for one year for the employer listed on a work permit issued under an international agreement (such as NAFTA) or because there was a Canadian interest in having the employee in Canada (such as inter-company transferees). This applies to both skilled workers in the NOC 0, A and B categories, and to those in the skilled trades (such as carpenters or cooks).

  • 200 points are awarded for a qualifying offer of employment for a senior management (NOC 00) level position, and 50 points are awarded for individuals in skill levels A or B, or other NOC 0 positions, of the National Occupation Code
  • Points for Canadian education will be as follows:
    • A one to two-year program – 15 points
    • A three-year college or university program, an entry-to-practice degree (such as a medical degree), a Masters degree, or a PhD – 30 points

The amendments also provide some relief to the timelines – applicants will now have 90 days, instead of only 60, to submit their applications for permanent residency.

The change will come into effect on November 19, 2016. Existing profiles will be automatically adjusted.

For all of you whom I put off, you can now email me for a consultation appointment. For those of you who have done a consultation appointment with me in the last few months, and would like your points reassessed, please be in touch. 

I will be speaking at Carleton University about the Express Entry system on November 30th.  This is a public event, and you are welcome to attend.  See the poster at this link for more information: