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Express Entry Step 1: Check your Eligibility


This is originally posted on

I’ve joined a lot of Facebook groups and forums related to immigrating to Canada. And always, a lot of people would say

“I want to come to Canada. What is the first step?”

Here’s my answer, Step 1: Check your Eligibility.

Step 1A: Come to Canada Tool

There are 3 immigration programs under the Express Entry, and you need to know if you fit into any of those 3.

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program

  • Federal Skilled Trades Program

  • Canadian Experience Class

To do this, you may use the official Come to Canada Tool on the CIC Website. Tip: Use only the official tool on the CIC website. If you come across a tool on a different website, chances are, they are immigration agents or consultants and they will bombard you with a lot of emails saying you are eligible and they will help you but you need to schedule a paid consultation to them.

You will answer a series of questions and based on your answer, the tool will determine if you are eligible or not. Are you eligible? Proceed to Step 1B.

Step 1B: Calculate your CRS score


Express Entry is a points-based system. Based on your personal factors (age, work experience, language ability, education, etc.), you will be assigned points. CIC will then conduct a draw and the minimum points which they will give out an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

At this point, you would want to forecast your would-be CRS score if you will go through the entire process. Use the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Tool to know your score.

Most of the factors are constant like your age, work experience, marital status and other personal factors. The 2 factors that you can play around is your language ability and education.

  • Education – this needs to be officially assessed by accredited organizations. But for the purpose of calculating your score, choose the one which is one level below your educational attainment. For example, if you completed 4-year Bachelor Degree in the Philippines, choose Bachelor’s Degree (three or more year program). If you finished a Masters degree, I would choose the same Bachelor’s Degree (three or more year program). Why? Because your education will be assessed on its Canadian equivalency and more often than not, our education level is one notch below Canadian education. It’s always better not to assume too much. 🙂

  • Language Ability – you need to sit an official language test to be eligible for Canadian immigration (IELTS, CELPIP). But for the purpose of calculating your score, play with 2 possible language score. First, Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing as Band 7. Second, Listening as Band 8, Speaking, Reading and Writing as Band 7. You will see how much the change in score affects your overall CRS score. This way, you will know what score to target for your Language exam.

Step 1C: Determine your next steps

Are you Eligible and your CRS score is >400?

If you are found to be Eligible and your CRS score is >400, then you are good to go. Proceed to next step, which is to take your Language Exam and have your Education Credential Assessment (ECA).

Are you Eligible and your CRS score is <400?

If you are found to be Eligible and your CRS score is >400, then find a way to increase your score. 

  • Language score of CLB9 (L8S7R7W7) may help to increase your score. Always target this score when you sit for your Language Exam.

  • Look for possible Provincial Nomination Program. If you are nominated by a province, you will gain 600 points, which guarantees you an ITA.

  • Arranged Employment. If you can find an employer who can give you an approved LMIA, you can get an additional 50 points.

Are you not Eligible?

If you are not Eligible, you may check other options for coming in to Canada – Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Student Visa or Live-in Caregiver Program. If you gain enough experience, you may be eligible to apply for Permanent Residency.

 Note: This is a series about Express Entry Program so make sure to follow our Page. Alternatively, join our FB Forum here.

About Crystel Cortez

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