Express Entry FAQ: Employers

Last updated: 2 September 2020

Frequently asked questions about the Express Entry immigration selection system.

Express Entry is a new electronic management application system for immigration to Canada.

It is not an immigration program. Rather, it facilitates the selection and processing of the following Canadian economic immigration programs:

Applicants make an "expression of interest" (EOI) in immigrating to Canada and, if they are eligible for at least one of the aforementioned programs, they then enter the Express Entry pool. The federal government and provincial governments, as well as Canadian employers, are then able to select candidates from this pool who will then receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for immigration to Canada under one of the programs.

Express Entry moves Canada from a first come, first served (or supply-driven) system to an invitation to apply (or demand-driven) system. Modelled on similar systems in use in Australia and New Zealand, Express Entry aims to fast track the processing of skilled immigrants deemed most likely to succeed in Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to process applications within six months from the date of submission, hence the name Express Entry.
Express Entry came into operation on January 1, 2015.
Under Express Entry, Canadian employers have a more direct role in Canadian immigration than before. Candidates in the Express Entry pool have the opportunity to increase their chances of being invited to apply by promoting themselves directly to employers through the Canada Job Bank, and by other means. Together with the federal government and Canadian provinces, Canadian employers are able to select candidates who have made an expression of interest in immigrating to Canada.
Canadian employers have no obligation to pay any government fees relating to the processing of a candidate’s immigration. This matter may be decided between an employer and a candidate.
The process of termination of employment is the same as for any permanent resident or Canadian citizen already residing in Canada. Relevant labour laws apply.
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is the government of Canada’s internal mechanism for ranking candidates based on their human capital, determined by factors such as age, level of education, and language ability. This helps to enable Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to decide which candidates may be issued invitations to apply for permanent residence.
No. If an employer wishes to hire an international candidate through the Express Entry selection system, the job offer must be for a term of least one year after the issuance of the permanent resident visa.
Not necessarily, though the fact that Canadian employers now play a significant role in Canadian immigration under Express Entry means that, for many candidates, obtaining a valid job offer from a Canadian employer can increase their chances of being invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Yes, employers can explore other options for filling open positions with international workers. In most cases, Canadian employers wishing to hire a foreign worker first receive government approval before the hiring can take place. This approval comes in the form of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), formerly known as a Labour Market Opinion (LMO).

There are several cases, however, where the need for a LMIA is waived. International agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allow for the admission to Canada of certain foreign workers. Others include certain intra-company transferees, workers participating in International Exchange Programs, certain academics, and the dependants of temporary foreign workers who have obtained an LMIA.

In other cases, the Canadian government employee reviewing an application must determine that the hiring of a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market. Among other factors, it must be clear that no qualified Canadians were passed up in favour of the foreign worker, and that the foreign worker will be given a salary and benefits that meet federal and provincial standards.

LMIAs will be provided within a 10-business-day service standard for workers in the following occupational categories:

  • Highest-demand occupations: The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to the skilled trades where wage offered is at or above the provincial/territorial median wage. These positions are essential to the development of major infrastructure and natural resource extraction projects, and are therefore considered vital to Canadian economic growth.
  • Highest-paid occupations: The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to employers hiring temporary foreign workers in the highest-paid occupations that offer wages in the top 10 percent of wages earned by Canadians in a given province or territory, such as physicians. This wage level indicated that a temporary foreign worker is the highest-skilled in their occupation, and that those skills are difficult to find in the Canadian labour market.
  • Shortest-duration occupations: The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to employers requesting temporary foreign workers for a short duration, defined as 120 calendar days or less, in any occupation where the wage offered is at or above the provincial or territorial median wage. Positions falling under this category include those related to repairs or manufacturing equipment and warranting work.

After receiving a positive LMIA, the employer should send a copy to their identified foreign worker. The positive LMIA must be included in the worker’s application for a Temporary Work Permit.

Note that in addition to LMIA holders, the following candidates in the Express Entry pool may also be awarded Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for a qualifying job offer:

Yes, though once a candidate has been identified by the employer and the employer wishes to make a permanent job offer, the candidate must create an Express Entry profile and be issued an invitation to apply for permanent residence once the job offer has been formally submitted.

Employers can also recruit internationally outside the Express Entry pool and then bring a foreign worker to Canada temporarily.

No, there is no fee for permanent residence LMIAs.

Employers should balance the advantages of there being no fee for LMIAs processed through Express Entry against the reality that if they were to process an LMIA through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (which carries a $1,000 fee), the worker may be able to begin working in Canada sooner.

Employers can access candidates:

  • through their current recruiting and hiring practices, including private sector job boards; or
  • through the Job Bank, which will help match candidates with eligible employers in Canada and jobs based on their skills, knowledge, and experience.

In some cases employers can also work with provinces and territories through the respective nominee programs.

At this time, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not released any quotas for specific occupations.
In many cases, employers will need a positive LMIA. An employer may use an existing LMIA to hire their temporary foreign worker permanently, provided that LMIA is still valid.

Note that in addition to LMIA holders, the following candidates in the Express Entry pool may also be awarded Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for a qualifying job offer:

Yes, there are set times when a certain number of candidates in the pool are issued invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence, however the candidates are not given advance warning of these invitation rounds. Learn more about invitation rounds that have taken place so far.
Once a candidate has landed in Canada, he or she becomes a permanent resident and thus has the same employment rights as Canadian workers, protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and relevant labour laws. In short, he or she will have the same freedom to change employment enjoyed by Canadian citizens and permanent residents already residing in Canada.
Beyond the existing provincial labour laws already in place, there are no new additional rules in this regard. Employers can use their existing means of attracting and retaining skilled employees, such as ensuring that the contracts offered to candidates with valid job offer contain non-compete clauses, in order to mitigate the risk of an employee leaving his or her new job in Canada shortly after immigrating. Once an international worker lands in Canada and becomes a permanent resident, he or she has freedom of movement and may work for any employer across Canada.
The Employer Liaison Network (ELN) helps employers navigate the Express Entry system. It provides employers with useful information on economic immigration programs and policies related to Express Entry. Its goal is to increase employer awareness and use of the Express Entry system, as well as to facilitate matches between Canadian employers and skilled workers. The ELN does not address case-specific inquiries or work permit issues. Its focus is on the permanent resident streams. There is no cost for using the ELN.

Contact us today with any questions you may have regarding Express Entry. We will quickly provide the answers and add them to this list.