More and more details are emerging about the new immigration program in Canada that will be implemented this coming 2015 — the new Express Entry Program.

This program will partly consolidate all the existing immigration programs in Canada since all applicants to any program will have to apply through the Express Entry system. Below are some of the major changes to expect:

(1) Express Entry will be a fully electronic system. All applications will have to be done online.

(2) There will be no eligible occupations list. Unlike the previous immigration programs that have a list of included occupations, Express Entry will not have any.

As long as applicants can show that they have worked in a skilled occupation for at least one year during the past ten years and that they are eligible for any of the three federal programs in Canada (Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trade Program and Canada Experience Class), they can apply in the Express Entry Program.

(3) There will only be one Express Entry pool in which all eligible candidates will be included (regardless of the specific program in which they qualify).

(4) The immigration application will be generally divided into two phases. Phase 1 involves the application for the Express Entry pool. Phase 2 involves the application for permanent residency in case the applicant passes Phase 1 and is invited to apply to Canada.

The Comprehensive Ranking System

The Comprehensive Ranking System will be the primary system to be used in determining which applicants can qualify in the Express Entry pool and will be invited for permanent residency. In this system, there will be a maximum number of 1200 points to be awarded to applicants, which would be divided into three:

A total of 500 points for the applicant’s core human capital — age, education, work experience, language skills, etc. If applicant will be with spouse or common-law partner, the maximum points to be allotted for his core human capital will be 460; the 40 points will be for his partner’s core human capital.

A total of 100 points for the applicant’s skills transferability, which will be measured by combining his core human capitals.

A total of 600 points for applicants with a job offer, either in a skilled occupation from a Canadian employer or a nomination from a province.

Here are a couple of reminders for all individuals who are interested to apply:

All applicants should be proficient in at least one of Canada’s official languages — either English or French. Applicants should submit a language test result that meets the eligibility requirements in any of Canada’s federal economic immigration programs.

Applicants who will apply for Express Entry based on their eligibility to the FSWP should present an Educational Credential Assessment of their foreign education.

One good news about the new program is the fact that applicants can continuously update their profile in the Express Entry pool. Once their profile is in, it will remain accessible and editable. So, applicants can increase their points gradually by gaining additional work experience, finishing another degree, learning a new language, etc.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the first draw of applications (meaning the first batch of issuance of invitation) will be done by January 2015. This means that those who have been preparing beforehand will have a greater chance of getting an invitation because it is expected that only a few would have submitted by that time.

A few more notes and warnings:

• Misrepresentation will have an increased penalty of 5 years. Meaning, guilty applicants will be inadmissible to the program for 5 years, and they will also be banned from applying for permanent residency for another 5 years.

• Applicants who pass Phase 1 and are invited to apply for permanent residency will only have 60 days to complete their application and submit all documents needed. No extension will be allowed. This means applicants should move fast, and it is also advised that they consult a licensed & knowledgeable immigration lawyer or consultant to be sure that nothing will be overlooked, especially with the misrepresentation rule in place.

• Applicants who are unable to complete the needed documents for an invitation during the deadline will not be able to have a second chance for the same invitation. They will have to wait to be invited again.

• Candidates who are included in the Express Entry pool and issued an invitation can decline if they feel they will not be able to submit everything within the 60-day period given. Their name will remain in the pool for the rest of the year; they can wait to be invited again. However, there is no guarantee that another invitation will be issued. So, all applicants are advised to prepare way in advance so that when they’re invited, they already have the needed documents.

• The Provincial Nominee Program of the different provinces will be partly excluded from the Express Entry. Provinces can nominate applicants outside of the Express Entry, and nominated applicants can apply for the Express Entry and get the sure 600 points, or the provinces can select people to nominate from the Express Entry pool.

• Applicants will not be able to know their ranking in the Express Entry pool, but they will know their total points based on the ranking, as well as the total number of points needed in order to get an invite for the most recent draw.

• Quebec will not be included in the Express Entry program since it has a separate immigration system. Only candidates who will be working in Quebec companies that are located outside of the province will be able to join the Express Entry program. Another territory that will not participate in the Express Entry is Nunavut.

• The ages of the dependent children of applicants will be determined not during the entry date to the pool but during the submission of the applicants’ application for permanent resident.

All in all, Canada expects to welcome about 285,000 immigrants next year. Of these, 181,000 are expected to come from economic immigration (mostly through the Express Entry system). The system is being compared to a matchmaker since it aims to match applicants to employers.

Applicants who apply without a job offer yet will be asked to register on Canada’s Job Bank, which will match them with potential employers. However, it has been confirmed that the Job Bank will not yet be ready when the program launches in January.

Therefore, applicants with no job offer will still have time to look for potential employers. Candidates can also hire a lawyer or consultants to help them prepare all documents and avoid possible mistakes in forms, which may result in future problems.