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EXPRESS ENTRY 101: GETTING STARTED




Hi MCF-ers!

So, I am determined to publish a blog post everyday for 5 days straight. I do not want to write fluff, but I have a lot on my mind that I want to share with you guys. I realise that I just went straight into my life without sharing some useful information with you guys.

 

The primary purpose of this blog is to provide support for anyone who intends to migrate to Canada, has migrated or is currently in the process of doing so. In this regard, this post is going is a beginners guide to getting started on the Canadian Immigration process.

 

If you are reading this, you are probably considering migrating to Canada. I congratulate you on this decision. I hope and expect that months of research and thought have gone into this decision. May God Almighty make your path smooth, and grant you a timely approval.

 

This process can be quite daunting. People will tell you of their 3/4 year long process, which may seem discouraging. You may also have heard about the document overload involved in the application process. I often have to tell my siblings and friends that while the above may have been true for some, the introduction of the Express Entry has eliminated most of this hassle, as all of the documents submitted are in their electronic form. Anyway, let us get started.



SO YOU WANT TO MOVE TO CANADA?

The following are the critical 7 steps to take:

1) Evaluate yourself for free!

The CIC Come to Canada Tool uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to evaluate you prior to applying. The tool asks a number of questions, including your English Language Test results (more to come on that later). At this point, I do not expect you to have taken an ELT, so I would advise you to choose a realistic result for yourself based on your honest English language proficiency. Recent draws have been as low as 413, so if your CRS score is in excess of this, you may be in good stead to be drawn out of the pool once you submit your profile (see number 2 below). If not, read on! There may be other routes to permanent residency for you below.

Age is a big factor in the CRS scoring system. You should read through the above link for more information on this.

 

EXPRESS ENTRY OR NAH

2) So, you have evaluated yourself and know how you match up with other candidates. The next step is choosing which route to take.

There are several routes to migrate to Canada. However, the two most common routes are the Express Entry and the Provincial Nomination Programs. I will try to break them down below:

 

A) Express Entry (EE) – In this route, skilled immigrants are granted permanent residency status based on their ability to adapt to Canada and their potential to contribute positively to Canada’s economy. Under this route, candidates are required to fill out an Express Entry profile providing information on you and your family’s (mainly spouse, if applicable) skills, work experience, language ability and education.



Once your profile has been created, you will be ranked using a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Draws are conducted periodically (sometimes fortnightly) and candidates with the highest points are drawn out of the pool, and given an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

 

B) Provincial Nomination Program – I mentioned in (1) above that if your CRS score is low (lower than the recent draw scores at the time you want to apply, then there may be ways to improve your score. This is a route through which you are able to get an additional 500 points added to your Express Entry profile, to increase your chances of getting drawn out of the pool. This was the route Mr. O and I took, and I will discuss our specific journey and the total cost of our application till date in tomorrow’s post.

 

If your score is low, you may want to consider this route. However, the process will then be longer. The PNP process alone may take anything from 6 months to up to 18 months, so be prepared to be patient. However, given the recent low scores seen in the draws, this may not be necessary for most. The link above provides more details on this route.

 

Once a province nominates you, your CRS score will then be updated to reflect the +500 points. Once this happens, you will most certainly be selected in the next draw.

 

TIME TO OPEN UP THE PIGGY BANK….UH OH!

3) English Language Proficiency Test

Have you now decided that this is a GO? You are required to undergo this test before submitting your Express Entry profile, or your PNP application. You should know now that you are closer to your permanent residency than before you started reading.

 

There are two options for the English Language test:

CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program – this is not administered in Nigeria, so I will not dwell on it;

and

IELTS: International English Language Testing System – IELTS has two options for the reading and writing tests: “General Training” and “Academic.” You are required to take the “General Training” option.

 

In Nigeria, the British Council administers this test in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Ibadan, Benin and Port Harcourt. It costs N68,000. If you would like to take this test, you should register in time, as the nearer dates are usually sold out.

 

4) Educational Credit Assessment

Your educational degrees give you points towards your total CRS score. You need an ECA conducted if you have foreign degrees which you would like to count towards your CRS score. The ECA report essentially shows that your completed foreign credential (degree, diploma or certificate) is equal to a completed Canadian secondary school (high school) or post-secondary credential.

 

There are a number of accredited ECA bodies. However, the most commonly used in Nigeria is the World Education Services. This was the one we used because they are quite familiar with Nigerian degrees and we have found them to be efficient and quick. Please note that doctors and pharmacists have a different ECA process.




 

The fees for ECA using WES is CAD$200 excluding postage which may be CAD$7 or 25 depending on the delivery service paid for. WES guarantees the completion of evaluations in 7 days, once all necessary documents and fees have been received. An evaluation can be expedited (Same-Day or 3-Day rush) for an additional fee. Once you make payment, a file number and address will be provided to you. You then need to make a transcript request to your university or college of higher education and ask that the transcript be posted by courier to:

WES Reference No.____________________

World Education Services
Documentation Center
2 Carlton Street, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1J3
Canada

 

5) Obtaining your transcripts from your university.

Now, this is only a big deal if like me, you have a degree from a Nigerian university. To explain, no sooner had I made a request for my MSc transcript (obtained from a UK university), did I get a mail telling me that it had been dispatched. My Nigerian transcript on the other hand, took a bit more work.

 

Once you have made the payment to WES or your chosen ECA, you must get started on this work stream. You should contact your university’s registry for this. It may be useful to also get a telephone number of someone who works in the registry, who can help you keep tabs on your application, and maybe fast track this process. The Nigerian factor.

 

It has been almost 2 years since we applied for ours and, of course, the FX rates have since almost tripled but the cost to us at the time was no more than N15,000 per person. Here is an important tip: Once WES receives the transcript, they send an email to the school’s registry to confirm that the said transcript is authentic. This is where it gets sticky, as some universities have been known to ignore these mails from the ECAs until the candidates go there to encourage them. So, having a contact in the registry helps.

 

Alternatively, my colleague informed me the other day of a local service that assists with obtaining transcripts. The fees for this service vary depending on the university (universities have different transcript application fees) and the cost of delivery. For example, the fee per the website, for sending a transcript from the University of Lagos to WES is N32,606.00 while it costs N51,510.00 for the same service for a University of Abuja transcript.

 

The above referenced services are not mine, nor am I affiliated with either of them. Blog readers are encouraged to do their own research before making a decision on which service to pay for.

 

6) Submitting your Express Entry Profile.

You should start doing this once you have taken the IELTS and ordered an ECA.  Completing the form over a couple of days is a good idea – the form is quite long and detailed. The key is to be honest and consistent. Once you have filled the form including the details of your ECA and IELTS (once these are available), check your application and recheck it, then submit!



You are close to the finish line now. If you scored above the range of recent draws, there is a high chance that you could be selected in the next draw.

 

7) Pray! Pray without ceasing!

I mentioned here that prayer was very instrumental in our journey. We still pray, as prayer continues to be the cornerstone of our existence as a whole. So, please pray for God’s guidance and direction throughout the process.

 

By this point, you may have spent between N150,000 and N200,000 per adult applicant. I know this is a substantial amount, and I know it may be too expensive for a number of us. I personally believe that if we are able to afford it, it is a good investment to make.

 

WRAPPING IT ALL UP

I have attempted to summarise the Express Entry application process in this post. I have included a number of external links to provide more information for those who need it. Please reach out to me if you require further clarification on any of the above and I would be glad to assist if I can.

Till my next post, Keep Marching!

Mrs. O




56 thoughts on “EXPRESS ENTRY 101: GETTING STARTED

    1. Thank you wumi. I really appreciate your kind words. Please spread the word and keep coming back 🙂

  1. Good day,

    I love your blog!!!

    Just discovered it today: very inspiring.

    Please i want to pay for my WES credential verification but am confused about the fees

    An electronic ECA report provided to you Cdn. $200
    Standard Delivery (by Canada Post) Cdn. $7
    Courier Delivery (details)
    Next-day Courier Delivery (per Canadian address) Cdn. $25
    International Courier Service (per address) Cdn. $85

    i read somewhere that the total delivery fees is about Cdn. $233

    How did they calculate it?

    Which one do you advise me to use(Standard delivery or International courier service) and how long will it take for me to get the documents in each of the options.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Dear Amaka,

      It really depends on how quickly you require the ECA. I would personally go with the international delivery which brings the total to CAD 285. Of course, if you are resident in Canada or the US, then the delivery cost would be less. The soft copy report would be made available to you once the evaluation is completed. So the delivery method just determines when the hard copy will be delivered to you, which does not really matter much. I have read that the hard copy is not technically required for ITA submissions, as the soft copy already provides a reference number. But it is perhaps a good to have. However, I know that OINP requires a copy of the stamped hard copy.

      Anyone with more information should please feel free to chime in here.

      Thanks Amaka for dropping by and for your kind words.

      Mrs. O

  2. Thanks for the writeup.
    Am the principal applicant. is it necessary for my wife to evaluate her own credential also. Also i have hold a Bsc in Nigeria university, post graduate diploma in india, diploma in india and a certificate course in india. do i need to request all of them to send the transcript to WES.
    Lastly, will my wife write the IELTS Exam also.
    Thanks

    1. Dear Femi,

      If you have indicated that your wife will be travelling with you, then yes, she should evaluate her credentials and sit for the IELTS exam, in order to add points to your total score.

      Regarding the degrees, I would say send them all to WES. The evaluation is a flat fee, I believe, so what’s there to lose?

      All the best in your application and keep us posted.

      Mrs. O

  3. You can also try Pearson Test of English (PTE Academic) which is world’s leading English proficiency Test for Abroad study, Immigration and PR Purpose. The advantages of choosing PTE are
    1.It is accepted by wide network of universities globally and for visa purposes
    2.PTE Academic Test gives you flexibility to book the Test as per your convenience, 48 hours in advance, which means you can choose a time and place that suits you.
    3.It is a Computer based test where you get a fair and accurate result as there is no human interference.
    4.PTE Test is a single day test with 3 hours duration.
    5.PTE Academic typically delivers results in five business days, so you don’t need to worry about waiting for results.
    6.Single test for all Purpose PR,Immigration and Study abroad.
    For more details visit bit.ly/2lqbz5Q.

  4. Mr Ravi and Mrs O,

    Do they accept PTE for Migrating to Canada or i should proceed with the IELTS preparation.

    Also regards the Evaluation which one should i select
    WES Standard Application or ECA Application for IRCC

    and is it to WES US or CANADA

    Lastly is this the address the school should send the Transcript
    World Education Services
    Attention: Documentation Center
    2 Carlton Street, Suite 1400
    Toronto, Ontario M5B 1J3
    Canada

    Regards

    1. I believe the 2 accepted tests are CELPIP and IELTS. Please confirm on the cic website though.

      Address for the transcript is in the post above. It is also the same as that which you have posted above. It is to WES Canada, not US and you should select the evaluation for immigration purposes.

  5. Mrs O…. good work.I have 2 questions to ask…
    Presently am pregnant . Do I need to wait till I deliver to apply for the express entry for my child to be included or do i go ahead and then add her up when he/she has come to the world
    Secondly, assuming I get the PR , must I relocate immediately or do i v a time limit to which I must relocate for the PR to be valid.

    1. Hi IFy,

      You may go ahead and apply now. You can add him/her to the application once born. When you get the COPR, you have until the earliest of your passport expiry or the expiry of the medical examination you did. For most people, this ends up beings between 6 and 9 months. However, some people have had 1 or 2 months within which to “land” in Canada. Moreso, you may “land” in Canada and then go back home after you get your PR card mailed to you.

      Hope this helps.

  6. Your write-up is very inspiring.I just started my EE process and would be asking you questions from time to time.

  7. Dear Mrs O,
    I discovered your blog via Nairaland, thank you for adding value to humanity.
    Please I will like to know if my course of study has to match my work experience to apply for a PNP.
    I study Cell Biology and Genetics from UNILAG but my work experience are
    Customer Service Representative in glo- 2010- 2013
    Business Sales Partner role in a Bank- 2013 till present.
    I learnt some province expect that as I studied Cell Biology, my experience should be around Lab, Hospital
    Please enlighten me

    1. Hi,

      I believe that your course of study does not really matter. I studied electrical engineering and worked in finance/investment banking most of my career. My NOC was chosen based on my profession/career and not my university degree.

      Hope this helps!

      Mrs. O

  8. I am definitely going to be a frequent person on your blog as i intend to migrate!
    your write up is so simple and straight forward!
    Thank you for this

  9. Very useful information. Thank you

    I’m in the process of getting all started. I plan to travel with my spouse. I understand that if my spouse writes the IELTS exam, it would add to my points!
    Is it necessary for him to also evaluate his credentials? Will this add to my points?

    I am the principal applicant.

    1. Hi,

      Congrats on starting this process. Yes, adding your spouse’s education credentials will add to your points, but it is not mandatory to include this. You should check and see what your points tally will be without it. Then you can decide if you want to go ahead and evaluate his credentials or not. I would also advise that you submit your EE profile even without his credentials. Once you receive this, you can include it in your profile and get the additional points.

      Hope this helps!

  10. Our documentation is taking time because I’m having difficulty in getting all 6 score in ielts. I took the exam 3x already, unfortunately, I didn’t make it. My latest IELTS is S-6, L-6, W-5.5, R-4. Is there no hope already if I can’t reach that all 6 score in IELTS. My CRS with this IELTS score is only 199 as computed in Come to Canada Tool. Please enlighten me if I will give up now.

    1. Hi Alex,

      I am so sorry to hear this. I also know a few people struggling to pass IELTS. Unfortunately, you need to score a minimum of 6 in each section to be eligible for Canadian immigration. I know it is hard, and the current FX situation makes retaking the exam very expensive.

      199 is quite a low CRS score. Before deciding what to do next, may I suggest that you put in your information again into the CRS tool, this time input the highest possible IELTS score. Then see what CRS score you get. If it is above 400, I would say then you should consider retaking the exam.

      If you really want to come to Canada, you have to keep trying. Before you do though, Google up some useful free resources for studying for the exam. I have heard of people who took the test 8 times before getting their desired results.

      I wish you all the best.

      Mrs. O

  11. Hello Mrs. O

    Your write up is very inspiring…

    On WES, can one assess only one’s second degree? or should both be assessed.

    Many thanks

    1. Hi,

      I would suggest that you send both. You get points for the highest degree earned. But, in some instances, I have heard that WES will request for your undergrad transcript, so you might as well start early on obtaining that. My understanding is that WES may or may not evaluate an MSc obtained outside of Canada as a Canadian Masters equivalent. A Masters equivalent gives you 23 points, while a Bachelors gives 21 points. If WES evaluates one’s MSc as a Bachelors, then you get 21 points. However, if you send in both degrees and both are assessed as Bachelors (I know, it sounds strange), then you get 22 points for 2 or more degrees.

      I had both degree transcripts sent to WES and both were evaluated in my report. My MSc was evaluated as a Canadian Masters equivalent and my BSc was evaluated as a Canadian Bachelors equivalent. I would suggest you send both to them. However, if your 1st degree is from a Nigerian university (which may take long to process your transcript), while your 2nd degree is from a US or European university, you may try sending them just the Masters and then see how that goes.

      If your degrees are HND and OND, then I am afraid that I don’t know what the best approach would be. Although again, I suspect it would be similar to the above.

      Please update us once you decide and then when you have your report back.

      Best,

      Mrs. O

      1. Dear Mrs. O,

        Thank you very much for your guidance. I already sent only my Masters to WES and have my report. I obtained my Master’s degree from a university in the UK and it was evaluated by WES as Canadian Masters equivalent.

        I just wanted to confirm if that alone suffices.

        Many thanks again.

  12. Hello Mrs O,

    Your website is really educative about immigration to Canada.

    Is it true that a prospective immigrant is required to have a minimum amount of money on getting to Canada (20000 CND dollars for a family of four) which will be verified on landing in Canada?

    I anticipate your soonest response.

    Kunle.

    1. Hi Kunle and thanks for coming. The simple answer is, Yes. You do. It will be verified during your PR application phase. In some cases, it may be verified at the Port of Entry/landing in Canada.

      Check the CIC website for the exact amount required for a family of 4.

  13. My friend has a family of five, two of his children are American citizens.

    Are they required to pass through the same PR application phase as everyone else, or will the fact that he has 2 American citizens as children change his application process?

    Also, what will be the status of his children living in Canada? Can they live as American citizens with permanent residence in Canada or will they be required to change their citizenship?

    1. There should be no difference in his application process.

      They will be American citizens living in Canada as PRs until they qualify for, and decide to file for citizenship. Even then, I believe that they can hold both American and Canadian citizenship if they choose to.

  14. Good story 🙂
    My situation: I do not hold a degree, I have inly finished high school in India but my IELTS score will be quite decent.
    What do you suggest I should do in order to apply for a PR?

    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by.

      Just to point out that having a degree is not a pre-requisite to applying for PR. You do get points awarded for your degree though.

      Have you tried the CRS tool out? I recommend using it to see the sort of scores you could get based on your work experience, ties to Canada (if any), qualifications and IELTS score. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/crs-tool.asp

      If your score is not high enough, then perhaps you could look at enrolling in a 1-2 year degree/course in Canada as a route to PR.

      All the best.

    1. Yes. If you are a full-time student with a student visa, you can sponsor your spouse. He will be eligible for an open work permit which allows him to work across Canada, and in any Company/job (as long as he is able to secure an offer of employment) i.e. it is not tied to any job or city.

      1. Thank you for your prompt response. Are my kids eligible to join me too? What type of visa would I apply for my kids?
        I really appreciate all your support here.

        1. Oh, sure you can. And they will be able to go to school here too without needing a study permit. I believe the type visa you need for your kids is a temporary residence visa. I have not done much research into this. I just did a quick search on the CIC website. You should read it too – http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/study-minors.asp
          https://www.canadavisa.com/study-in-canada-bringing-a-partner-and-family-members-to-canada.html

          All the best

  15. Wow! simply put ,am impressed. Have been thinking about making a move for a long time and I stumbled on this blog. What caught my attention was the Nigerian factor and it made feel finally this person in understands being a Nigerian. Thanks for breaking it down into simple steps and I will start THIS journey of a thousand miles with a single step.

    I will also like to add that IELTS can be taken in Abeokuta now. The centre was introduced last month.

    Keep up the good job. It is very encouraging.

    1. Thanks for adding this. I can see why they introduced Abeokuta. Wishing all blog readers sitting for IELTS success!

  16. Hi, thanks for the info..was planning on writing alone but after reading up my spouse will also write…but my question, what if one of us doesn’t scale through with the IELTS(one of us has above 6 points in all and the other has less )

    1. Hi Adejoke,

      Then whoever scores the highest can be the principal applicant. TBH, you would have to use the CRS tool and try out the two scenarios (ie you as the principal applicant, and your spouse as the principal applicant) to see under which scenario the CRS points total is highest, as IELTS is not the only important criteria.

      Regardless of who the principal applicant is, you can decide to include or omit the secondary applicant’s IELTS result depending on how good it is. In other words, if it adds to your points, then you should include it. Otherwise, you can omit it.

      Thanks for stopping by, and all the best!

      1. Hello Mrs. O

        If one receives an Invitation To Apply (ITA), how many months Bank statement are you expected to show? Is a fixed deposit account allowed?

        How much is a family of 3 expected to have.

        Many thanks!

          1. Thank you for your prompt response! Is a joint account acceptable – husband & wife. What about valuation report of properties and assets. Many thanks😊

          2. A joint account is acceptable. Property and fixed assets are generally not acceptable, as they would have to be cash or near cash (equities and fixed income instruments – TBills and fixed deposits). Read more here

  17. I need help on WES. I opened an account in 2013 when I was planning to evaluate my BSc for the purpose of master in the United States. Now that I want to evaluate using ECA for the purpose of immigration, am having challenges editing the account to suit my purpose but have tried and tried. Have called WES several times, they keep me waiting for long with no response. How fast can I resolve this because I need to get a new reference number before sending my transcript.

  18. I am started thinking of migrating to Canada. I wrote IELTS in July with S=7, R=9, W =6.5 and L=7.5. I hav HND in microbiology with 9year working experience in d field. Do I stand out good chance? I am now working on how to d credentials evaluation. Also, can I get the whole process done by myself or I should use agent

    1. Hi Hammed,

      Why don’t you start by using the CRS tool to evaluate yourself? Go to this link – http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/crs-tool.asp – and put in your information. Once you have done so, it will calculate your score. Let us know what your score is. If it is above 400, then you may submit your Express Entry profile. You may consider provincial nominations too.

      Regarding using an agent, it really depends on you. I would say that there are a lot of resources out there today that could help you if you wanted to do it on your own. If you can afford to pay for an immigration lawyer, and you are not very comfortable filling forms and with the English language, I would say you should go with an immigration lawyer. Not sure about agents though. I would rather work with an accredited immigration lawyer like David Cohen of canadavisa.com and others of similar repute. But that is just me.

      All the best!

  19. Dear Mrs O,

    Firstly, I want to specially commend you on taking the time to answer everyone’s questions…
    More grace IJN.

    Please I would like to know the acceptable mode of payment to WES here in Nigeria…

    It seems to be accepting only credit cards…

    And also which province do you advice I apply to.
    My ielts score is LSWR – 8, 7.5, 6.5, 6

    Which made my CRS score to be 382
    Occupation is finance.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Dayo,

      Thank you for stopping by. Regarding WES, you need a credit/debit card to make this payment. With a CRS score of below 400, you would be ineligible for the Ontario nomination program. There are several provincial programs but a few of these programs require that you secure a job offer to be eligible. You should look through this link, and read up on each of the provinces’ programs, and then determine if you are eligible for any. Each program has specific requirements/criteria.

      I recently heard about a Morden program. Morden is a city in Manitoba, and they have their own program! Imagine, lol! Read more here.

      All the best.

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