Express Entry Glossary

Last updated: 28 August 2020

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Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR)

An Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) is issued to an applicant (or their representative, if applicable) once their application for permanent residence has passed the completeness check. The letter is issued by the Centralized Intake Office. If the application was submitted electronically, this letter is sent to the applicant via their MyCIC account; otherwise, the letter is sent by mail. This letter may be used to support a bridging open work permit if all other requirements are met.

Read more: Invitation To Apply


A maximum of 10 points can be awarded for Adaptability under the Federal Skilled Worker selection criteria. Points in this category are awarded based on an applicant's ability to adapt to life in Canada, and includes factors such as:

  • Work or educational experience in Canada
  • Arranged employment in Canada
  • Family relations in Canada

If the applicant has a spouse or common-law partner who is planning to immigrate with him or her to Canada, extra points can be earned for his or her:

  • Language level
  • Work or educational experience in Canada

Read more: Adaptability


A maximum of 12 points can be awarded for Age under the Federal Skilled Worker selection criteria. The maximum 12 points will be awarded for those between 18-35 years of age, with a decrease of one point for each year of age over 35. No points will be awarded to those under 18 or over 46 years of age. Points will be given based on the applicant’s age at the time when the Centralized Intake Office receives the application.

Read more: Age

Approved Testing Organizations

Also known as: Designating Testing Agencies

To fulfil language requirements for Skilled Worker immigration, language tests are required from approved testing organizations.

The following are approved testing organizations:

Read more: Language Skills

Arranged Employment

A Federal Skilled Worker applicant may be awarded up to 10 points towards his or her application if he or she has an arranged employment. To be awarded points under this category, the applicant must have a valid job offer that is for permanent full-time work and is listed as Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Read more: Arranged Employment


Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

The Bridging Open Work Permit provides applicants who have received positive eligibility decisions and whose work permits are approaching expiration, more flexibility in order to maintain status considering an imminent decision on their permanent residency application is upcoming.

Eligibility requires that the following conditions must be satisfied:

  • The foreign national is currently in Canada;
  • They have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within four months;
  • They are the principal applicant on an application for permanent residency under the FSWP, the CEC, the FSTP, or the PNP;
  • They have received a positive eligibility assessment on their permanent residency application under one of the Economic Class programs above; and
  • They have applied for an open work permit.

Read more: Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)


Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) is a Canadian standardized test that assesses proficiency in English for immigration and citizenship purposes. While it consists of two different tests, only the “CELPIP-General Test” is accepted as part of an immigration application. It has four test components, listening, reading, writing, and speaking, and a score of M (Minimal proficiency or insufficient information to assess) or of 3-12 is given. The CELPIP General Test is completed computer-delivered.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

This class is for temporary workers who have at least one year of experience in Canada or graduates from a Canadian post-secondary school who have at least one year of work experience in Canada, and who want to apply for permanent residence. Applicants applying in this class should also have good English or French skills and be used to Canadian society.

Read more: Canadian Experience Class Immigration Program

Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)

Canada has its own system for describing language proficiency according to Canadian standards. Language proficiency is ranked according to Canadian Language Benchmarks or CLBs. There are 12 CLBs that cover the range from the most basic ability (CLB 1) to complete fluency (CLB 12). Candidates for Canadian immigration through a federal economic immigration program are required to demonstrate their proficiency in either English or French by way of a standardized test recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Results of tests have a corresponding CLB for each of the four language components that are assessed: Speaking, Reading, Writing, Listening.

Read more: Canada Immigration Language Converter


Unlike nationality, citizenship is a legal status that is recognized by a state. It is generally accompanied by duties, rights, and privileges such as the right to vote or own land.

Read more: Canadian Citizenship

Common-Law Partner

Common-law partners are those who are in a conjugal relationship and have been living with a partner of the same or opposite sex for one continuous year. A conjugal relationship means more than a physical relationship where the partners depend on each other, it is essentially permanent, and there is a level of commitment similar to a marriage (See the Conjugal Partner definition below for more detail). Short absences from the one-year period are allowed, but only for business or family reasons. Finally, an applicant will need proof that he or she has combined his or her affairs with his or her partner and that they have set up a household together.

Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)

The CRS is used in order to determine a candidate’s position within the Express Entry pool among other applicants. The pool rank for prospective skilled applicants is determined by weighing factors such as work experience, language ability, level of education, age, and other factors that contribute to the candidate's potential to become established in Canada.applicant’s successful establishment in Canada.

Read more: Comprehensive Ranking System

Cost-Recovery Fee

Also known as: Government Processing Fees

Each person applying for a Canada Immigration Visa must pay this processing fee, including:

  • The principal applicant
  • An accompanying spouse, common-law or conjugal partner; and
  • Dependent children.

Once the Canadian Immigration Visa Office has begun screening an application, the fee becomes non-refundable, although it remains refundable anytime before that point.

Read more: Canadian Government Fees and Application Costs FAQ

Country of Nationality

A person’s country of nationality is the country in which he or she was born. If a person is born in Canada, he or she will be a Canadian citizen, but citizenship is not the same as nationality. A person can be a citizen of Canada without having been born there. Country of nationality must also be distinguished from country of residence since where one is born is not necessarily where that person currently lives.

Country of Residence

A person’s country of residence is the country in which he or she has legal permission to live. The person must have also legally entered the country and currently reside there.

Criminal Inadmissibility

Individuals wishing to enter Canada either permanently or temporarily as visitors, may not be allowed into Canada if they have committed or been convicted of a crime.

A person may be considered criminally inadmissible on grounds of either criminality or serious criminality, both of which are defined in this glossary. Theft, dangerous driving, assault, manslaughter, and murder are examples of crimes that might make one criminally inadmissible.

Read more: Criminality and Rehabilitation


Dependent Child

A dependent child, in relation to a parent who is applying for residency in Canada, is either the biological or adopted child of the parent, who is under 19 years of age and is neither married nor in a common-law relationship. Children who are 19 years and older but who are unable to support themselves because they suffer from a mental or physical condition are also considered dependents.


Candidates are selected from the pool of potential candidates for immigration to Canada through a process called a “draw.” The selection of candidates from the pool is based on the attributed score from the Comprehensive Ranking System. The candidates with the highest CRS are then invited to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada. There are two types of draws, as potential applicants can be drawn from the general pool of candidates or from a specific program. The draw contains pertinent information (instructions) such as the date/time of the draw, number of candidates to receive an ITA, and, if applicable, it will contain information on the specific program of the particular draw.

Read more: Invitations To Apply Issued



A maximum of 25 points can be awarded for education under the Federal Skilled Worker selection criteria. Points in this category are awarded based on the type of degree attained and the length of time spent studying. Canadian diplomas and certificates or foreign education deemed equivalent could earn points in this category.

Read more: Education

Educational Credential

An educational credential is any degree, diploma, apprenticeship, or trade credential issued on the completion of a program at an educational or training institution. In order to immigrate as a Federal Skilled Worker, to work in certain jobs in Canada or a trade, and to study in Canada, foreign nationals must get their credentials assessed. An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is designed to verify the validity of foreign degrees, diplomas, certificates, or other proof of credentials and whether they are equal to a completed credential in Canada.

Read more: Education

Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

An Educational Credential Assessment, or ECA, is a report issued by an organization designated by the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship that verifies the authenticity of a foreign diploma, certificate or credential, and assesses its equivalence to a Canadian educational credential.

Read more: Education

Express Entry

Express Entry is the new electronic management application system for immigration to Canada. It is not a new immigration program. Rather, it facilitates the selection and processing of Canada’s economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, the Canadian Experience Class, and a portion of the Provincial Nominee 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 aims to fast track the processing of skilled immigrants deemed most likely to succeed in Canada.

Read more: Express Entry

Express Entry Pool

The Express Entry pool includes candidates who are eligible for at least one of Canada’s economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and select Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Placement in the Express Entry Pool is based on the eligibility derived from the Express Entry Profile.

Read more: Express Entry Pool

Express Entry Profile

Potential candidates make an expression of interest in coming to Canada by creating an Express Entry profile and providing information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education and other personal information. This profile is self-declared; that is to say that the material provided by the potential candidate is based on his or her own assessment of his or her personal information.

Read more: Express Entry Profile


Family Members

For immigration purposes, a person's family member means a:

  • Spouse or common-law partner;
  • Dependent child;
  • Spouse's or common law partner's dependent child; and
  • Dependent child of a dependent child

Read more: Eligibility and Qualifications FAQ

Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC)

Formerly: Federal Skilled Trades Program

This category allows immigrants to be chosen based on their potential to become economically established in Canada. The FSTC allows individuals with job offers or appropriate certification to work in certain occupations to obtain Canadian permanent residence in any Canadian province or territory other than Quebec. Eligible candidates must make an expression of interest in immigrating to Canada through the Express Entry selection system.

Read more: Federal Skilled Trades

Federal Skilled Worker Class

This category allows immigrants to be chosen as permanent residents based on their ability to participate in the Canadian labour market. They are chosen based on their education, work experience, English and/or French skills, and other factors that show they will thrive in Canada. Points are awarded to applicants based on such factors; 67 points out of 100 are required to pass.

Read more: Federal Skilled Worker

Foreign National

A foreign national is someone who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. Foreign nationals also include stateless persons. Before entering Canada, a foreign national must apply to a Canadian Immigration Officer for a visa or any other document that the regulations require. If the officer is satisfied that the foreign national meets the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and is not inadmissible, the officer may issue the visa or document.

Full-Time Study

Full-time study refers to a study schedule with a minimum of 15 hours of instruction per week during the academic year, including any period of training in the workplace that is part of the student’s studies. Full-time requirements can also vary depending on the institution; therefore, students should contact their school regarding any additional full-time requirements.

Read more: Education

Full-Time Equivalent

Part-time or accelerated studies will be considered equivalent to full-time studies if they are equal to the total amount of time required to complete those studies on a full-time basis.

Read more: Education

Full-Time Work

Full-time work means working at least 30 hours over a period of one week, where work refers to an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned.

For applications in the Federal Skilled Worker Class, working the equivalent amount of time through part-time paid work experience will satisfy the work experience requirement as long as more than one part-time job is held simultaneously or one or more part-time jobs are held over the equivalent of at least one year of full-time work. The part-time job(s) must be held over a continuous period.

Read more: Work


General Draw

Each draw will contain a set of instructions. In the event that the draw does not pertain to a specific program, stated in the instructions, the draw is a general draw and will apply to all candidates meeting the specified rank according to the CRS.

Read more: Invitations To Apply Issued

Government Processing Fees

See Cost-Recovery Fee



Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Formerly: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)

IRCC develops and implements policies, programs, and services that facilitate the arrival of people and their integration into Canada, protects refugees and people in need of protection, and promotes the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship. It also grants citizenship, issues travel documents (such as passports), promotes multiculturalism, and advances migration policies in a way that supports Canada’s immigration and humanitarian objectives, among other things.

Read more: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Immigration Representative

An immigration representative is an individual who has the permission of a potential Canadian immigrant or citizen to conduct business with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on their behalf. When an individual appoints a representative, he or she may also authorize IRCC to share information from his or her case file with the representative. Using the services of an immigration representative can help to make the complex immigration process more seamless and pain-free. The credibility, knowledge and experience of the representative is of critical importance. Applicants should not assume that individuals who make claims of expertise are qualified, or even permitted, under Canadian legislation, to handle the crucial matters associated with Canadian Immigration applications.

Read more: Professional Credentials

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international standardized test that assesses proficiency in English for non-native English speakers. The test can be used to prove English ability for immigration and citizenship purposes. There are two versions of the test, however only the "General Training" option is considered acceptable for immigration applications. IELTS tests four language components: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Candidates receive a score of 1-9 for each component and the average of these four scores will provide the overall band score.

Read more: Proving English Language Ability - IELTS

Invitation to Apply (ITA)

The Invitation to Apply (ITA) is granted to Express Entry applicants who possess the highest Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores at the time of the draw. The ITA has a duration of 60 days meaning that the candidate must submit a complete application to IRCC within 60 days of receiving it.

Read more: Invitation To Apply For Permanent Residence


Job Bank

The job bank is an electronic database of job postings by employers across Canada. Registration with the job bank is required for those candidates who do not have a job offer in order to submit their Express Entry profile. The registered candidates’ skills, knowledge, and expertise can be linked to corresponding potential Canadian employers.

Read more: Find Work In Canada



Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a process in which Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) verifies and evaluates a job offer to make sure a foreign worker’s employment will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labor market. It is the employer’s job to describe the position for which they are looking to hire a foreign worker. ESDC will take into account a number of factors when deciding to issue an LMIA including whether the foreign worker’s salary will be consistent with the average for that occupation and whether hiring the foreign worker will help create jobs for Canadians or allow Canadians to keep the jobs they currently have.

Read more: Labour Market Impact Assessment for Express Entry

Language Skills

A maximum of 28 points can be awarded for Language Skills under the Federal Skilled Worker selection criteria. Points in this category are awarded based on writing, speaking, reading, and listening proficiency in either English or French. To get points, the applicant must provide his or her results from a language test approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for each language (see Approved Testing Organizations), and both languages must be submitted at the same time if the applicant would like to get points for both.

Read more: Language Skills


Medical Inadmissibility

Individuals wishing to enter Canada, either permanently or temporarily as visitors, foreign workers, and international students, may be denied entry if they or their dependents are deemed medically inadmissible.

A person may be considered inadmissible if he or she:

  • Is a danger to public health or safety; or
  • Would cause excessive demand on health or social services in Canada

Read more: Medical Inadmissibility

Minimum Work Experience Requirements

A maximum of 15 points can be awarded for Work Experience under the Federal Skilled Worker selection criteria. To be eligible to apply as a Federal Skilled Worker, a person must have at least one year of continuous, full-time (1560 hours) paid work experience in the same occupation within the last 10 years or the equivalent in continuous part-time work. The work must be in a skilled occupation listed in Skill Type 0, or Skill Level A, or B of Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC), having performed all the essential duties and most of the main duties listed.

Read more: Work Experience

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship is responsible for the administration of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and for overseeing the federal government department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which is responsible for citizenship, refugee, and immigration issues.


Making false statements, submitting false information or false/altered documents, or withholding information relevant to an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is known as misrepresentation and will result in penalties, depending on the nature and severity of the false claim. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that the application is truthful and that the supporting documents are genuine, and he or she may be found to have misrepresented him or herself whether or not that misrepresentation was intentional. A potential candidate who has been found to have provided false information going into the Express Entry pool can be banned from re-entering the pool for five years.

Lying on an application or in an interview with an IRCC officer is also considered an offence under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Citizenship Act. The act of misrepresentation bars a person from being granted Canadian citizenship for five years and if the misrepresentation is found to have occurred after someone becomes a citizen, their citizenship can be revoked and they must wait ten years before being granted citizenship again.

Read more: Invitation To Apply For Permanent Residence


National Occupational Classification (NOC)

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is the official Canadian government classification system of occupations. The NOC groups occupations in the Canadian economy by skill type and level based on the necessary tasks, duties, and responsibilities and each occupation is given an NOC code in the form of a four digit number. Since May 4, 2013, applications received in the Federal Skilled Worker Class are assessed using the 2011 edition of the NOC.

Read more: Occupation Skill Level Classifier

Non-Accompanying Family Members

Canadian immigration requirements apply to applicants and their dependents regardless of whether those dependent family members are accompanying them or not. Non-accompanying family members must still:

  • Pass examinations to show they are medically admissible to Canada; and
  • Not be criminally inadmissible to Canada; and
  • Have a sponsor who has the financial ability to provide for both accompanying and non-accompanying family members

Read more: Eligibility Qualifications FAQ


Open Work Permit

An Open Work Permit is a permit that is not dependent on a job and no job offer is required for the permit to be granted. A Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is not required since the Open Work Permit does not require a job offer. Open Work Permits may be applied for by the spouses/common-law partners of foreign temporary workers or foreign students and by international students who have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution.

Read more: Open Work Permit


Pass Mark

To qualify as a Skilled Worker, an applicant must receive a pass mark of 67 points based on the six selection factors (education, language skills, work experience, age, arranged employment, and adaptability). While it is generally difficult to qualify as a Skilled Worker with a score under 67, Canadian Immigration Visa Officers are authorized to use substituted evaluations if they believe that a score is not indicative of the applicant's ability to become economically established in Canada.

Read more: Skilled Worker

Permanent Resident

A permanent resident is someone who has acquired permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada. This is not the same as being a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents have the right to live, work, and study in Canada, receive most social benefits like health care, be protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and apply for Canadian citizenship. However, a permanent resident cannot vote, run for political office, or hold a job that requires a high-level security clearance. Permanent residency status can be taken away if a permanent resident does not live in Canada for two out of five years, is convicted of a serious crime and is instructed to leave Canada, or becomes a Canadian citizen.

Read more: Canadian Permanent Residency

Post-Graduation Work Permit

The post-graduation work permit is a work permit that can be granted to a student for the length of the student’s post-graduate study program up to a maximum of three years. The program must also be a minimum of eight months. The student must have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to qualify. Graduates can use the work experience they have gained through the post-graduation work permit program (PGWPP) to qualify for permanent residency in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Read more: Post-Graduation Work Permit

Program-Specific Draw

Each draw will contain a set of instructions. A Program-Specific draw applies only to candidates holding the specified rank, as well as those qualifying based on the eligibility requirements of the specified program.

Read more: Invitations To Apply Issued

Provincial Nomination

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allows provinces to nominate immigrants they believe will contribute to the economic vitality of their province. Many provinces have PNP streams aligned with the federal Express Entry selection system. The selection criteria for the specific PNP streams are determined by individual provinces, but in many cases they are similar to the selection criteria for Federal Skilled Workers. To be eligible for one of the Express Entry PNP streams, candidates must create an Express Entry profile online and must be enter the federal Express Entry pool. By receiving a Provincial Nomination, a candidate is awarded an extra 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, which significantly improves his or her chance of being invited to apply for permanent residence.

Read more: Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Provincial Nomination Certificate

The Provincial Nomination Certificate is a document issued by Provincial authorities indicating that the person designated on the certificate has been selected to reside within the territory of that province. The certificate is not a Canada Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa and cannot be utilized for entry into Canada.

Read more: Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)


Qualifying Offer of Arranged Employment

A qualifying offer of arranged employment, within the Express Entry immigration selection system, means that the candidate holds a job offer supported by a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from a Canadian employer.

Read more: Arranged Employment


Restricted Occupations

Restricted occupations cannot be used to satisfy the minimum requirements for Skilled Workers, nor can points be awarded for work experience in a restricted occupation. Restricted occupations are defined by the government and differ over time.

Read more: Work Experience


Selection Criteria

An applicant to the Federal Skilled Worker Class must be capable of becoming economically established in Canada. In order to demonstrate that this is the case, a Canadian Immigration Officer will assess applicants based on six selection criteria once their applications have met all the minimum requirements:

  1. Education
  2. Language Skills
  3. Work Experience
  4. Age
  5. Arranged Employment
  6. Adaptability

Read more: Selection Factors

Settlement Funds

Prospective immigrants applying for permanent residency must prove that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents for at least six months upon arrival in Canada. The funds must be available and transferrable. However, if the applicant has arranged employment in Canada, then he or she does not need to prove sufficient settlement funds.

Read more: Settlement Funds


A person is defined as a spouse if they are married to the principal applicant and their marriage is legally valid. In addition:

For those married in Canada:

The marriage is valid if a Certificate of Marriage was issued by the province or territory where the marriage took place. Citizens or permanent residents of Canada who were married in Canada and received a Certificate of Marriage by a Canadian province or territory (after certain dates that vary by the province or territory) can sponsor their same-sex partner as a spouse.

For those married outside Canada:

The marriage must be valid under the law of the country where it took place as well as under Canadian law. If the marriage was performed in an embassy or consulate, it must follow the law of the country where it took place opposed to the country the embassy or consulate represents. One can sponsor his or her same-sex partner as a spouse as long as the marriage is legally valid under the law of the place where the marriage took place and under Canadian law.

Substituted Evaluation

Substituted evaluations may be used by Canadian Immigration Visa Officers when the applicant meets the minimum requirements and they believe that an applicant's selection criteria score is not a good indicator of the applicant's ability to become economically established in Canada. This allows the Canadian Immigration Visa Officer to set aside the applicant's score and determine, based on their own judgment, the likelihood of the ability of the skilled worker to become economically established in Canada. A second Canadian Immigration Visa Officer must agree with the original Officer’s substituted evaluation.

Read more: Substituted Evaluation


Test d'Évaluation du Français (TEF)

The Test d'Évaluation du Français (TEF) is a standardized test that assesses French language proficiency. The test can be used to prove French ability for immigration and citizenship purposes and is the only French language examination accepted for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. There are four language components on the test: compréhension de l’écrit, compréhension de l’orale, expression écrite, and expression orale.

Read more: Proving French Language Ability - TEF/TEFaQ




Work Experience

A maximum of 15 points can be awarded for Work Experience under the Skilled Worker selection criteria. Points are awarded for the number of years the applicant has spent in full-time paid work, which is at least 30 hours per week, or an equal amount of part-time work. To be valid, work experience:

  • Must be at least one year of full-time or part-time work in the same occupation that amounts to 1,560 hours
  • Must be paid;
  • Has to have occurred in the past 10 years;
  • Has to be classified at skill type 0, or skill levels A or B of the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Finally, the duties performed must match those described in the lead statement of the occupational description in the NOC. This includes all the essential duties and most of the main duties that are listed.

Read more: Work Experience.