February 27, 2015

Is Express Entry (EE) Really Accessible to Anyone Without an LMIA/Nomination? We have only seen the tip of the iceberg!

Posted by Mario Bellissimo - Bellissimo Law Group PC

The Story So Far

Any foreign national without 600 points for having a nomination from a province or territory or a valid job offer have not been extended an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence.  So the other potential points:

  • Skills and work experience (up to 500 points)
  • Spouse or common-law partner factors (such as their language skills and education –up to 40 additional points but still a maximum of only 500 points)
  • Skills transferability (including education and work experience that, when combined,

result in better chances of being employed, and higher earnings – up to 100 points)

have not factored heavily into the invitations.

To qualify for the 600 point bonus these foreign workers, even persons in possession of a work permit, must obtain a positive LMIA. As a further point, they cannot receive an ITA through the Federal Skilled Worker program unless they have an LMIA or more than one year of work experience.

What’s Next?

The EE program has surprised some including certain sectors of Canadian industry with the heavy emphasis on the need for LMIAs.  As I have written previously international cues and clues informed us that New Zealand’s 2003 Expression of Interest program is primarily an on shore program with 87-89% of its applicants applying in land. Australia with its 2012 Skill Select program is following suit and has edged over 50% of its applicants landing on shore possessing temporary resident status. The Canadian focus so far, borrowing heavily from these international programs, has been exclusively on landing foreign nationals with LMIAs/nominations.  Many are predicting that once applicants with the LMIA/nominations decrease the point threshold for ITAs will drop to 300-500 points from the current 800 plus.   Is this likely?

My Prediction

I do not disagree that the point threshold may drop but likely not for a lengthy period of time. Why?  I still believe this is an inland program and so those in Canada with experience, work and/or nominations are the bread and butter of this program.  This is likely not to change unless other factors undermine the program.

For example there are various kinks to work out of the system, potential legal challenges, and it may take some time for Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the provinces and employers to fully ramp up to give the EE program the numbers (inventory) it will need once the program cannot be buoyed by the pre-EE backlog but once there, I predict employers, provinces and CIC will drive the program and the inland ITAs will continue to heavily out number off shore invitations.   Only missteps in terms of issues I have commented upon extensively and in the paper I attach – transparency, respecting privacy rights, coordination with ESDC, lack of innovative processing paradigms and the rule of law in administering the system – would prevent the flourishing in land  program CIC likely envisioned from the outset.  Let’s see . . .

For more information on Express Entry, Click here

Mr. Bellissimo examines Canada’s New Express Entry Immigration system in this comprehensive paper that looks also to New Zealand’s and Australia’s systems respectively. Click here