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October 16, 2015 17:10 ET

Canadian Express Entry Visa Changes Require New Application Process

Vancouver Immigration Lawyer, Catherine Sas From Advises Potential Student Immigrants to Re-Think Applications Well Ahead of Actual Departure

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - October 16, 2015) - According to Vancouver immigration lawyer Catherine Sas, overseas students who are thinking of studying in Canada and eventually applying for residency, need to begin their preparations long before they plan on arriving. The new requirements of Canada's Express Entry immigration program which were introduced this year.

Sas, who is an expert in Canadian immigration law, stated that the new program ranks applicants using a unique point-based system, prioritizing those with previous education and work experience. This means that for prospective students hoping to study in Canada, the odds of qualifying as an applicant for permanent residency are slim.

The Express Entry immigration program is used to manage applications for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.

Sas in her Vancouver immigration practice is offering new consultation services for student clients in regards to the changes in the new Express Entry immigration program.

For starters you are now subject to an upfront pre-assessment of your qualifications: the Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS). How many CRS points you score determines whether you are likely to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Without an ITA you cannot apply for permanent residence to Canada. The CRS scoring system is crucial to your ability to apply under the new Express Entry system. Let's see how the points add up for students.

Categories for Students

There are four categories to earn points under the CRS scoring system: human capital, spouse/common law partner, skill transferability and additional points.

For most students the two categories that will apply to you are for human capital and skill transferability. Human capital points are given for your age, education, official language proficiency and Canadian work experience. Skill transferability points are given for a person's language proficiency in combination with both Canadian and foreign work experience. The highest CRS points are given for a person between the ages of 20-29, so for the purpose of this exercise, we are using this age bracket.

According to Sas and her British Columbia (BC) immigration law team, It is no longer feasible for a hopeful immigrant to come to Canada and complete a two year diploma, work for a year or two and then apply for permanent residence. It is necessary to have a long term plan and acquire education and work experience in your home country before coming to Canada in order to maximize your CRS points score and enhance your chances of receiving an ITA in Canada's new Express Entry immigration selection program.

Language proficiency is vital. Fluency is crucial to obtaining a high CRS score. Successful applicants will have already mastered a high level of fluency in English or French (or both) before coming to Canada.

Prior to Express Entry, Canada's immigration program was an applicant driven process -- anyone could apply, all applications had to be assessed and if you met the basic criteria you would qualify for permanent residence.

The new Express Entry selection system is employer driven. It is very difficult for an individual to achieve the necessary CRS points to obtain an ITA without an employer wiling to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or to provide employment in accordance with a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer who has over 25 years of legal experience. For more information go to, or email her at

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