The new Express Entry immigration system in Canada is set to open on January 1, 2015. So far, there have been some bits and pieces of information about this system.

However, many are not yet clear and some people are still confused about the changes that this new system will bring.

We have compiled what we know so far to answer some questions and clarify some details. Below are some facts and fallacies about Canada’s Express Entry system.

Fallacy: The Express Entry will open Canada’s immigration system to anybody.

Fact: The Express Entry system will only accommodate applicants who are qualified to apply for Canada’s economic programs.

The Express Entry system works by having applicants submit an expression of intent to immigrate to Canada.

However, this doesn’t mean that anyone who expresses intent can qualify. For an applicant to enter the Express Entry pool, he must qualify for any of the three economic programs of Canada, namely:

Federal Skilled Worker Program. This program requires applicants to have experience in a skilled occupation and to meet a certain number of points in the assessment based on certain factors such as age, education, and language proficiency.

Federal Skilled Trades Program. This program requires applicants to have at least 2 years of experience in a qualified occupation within the past 5 years prior to application.

Canadian Experience Class. This program requires applicants to have at least 1 year of work experience (skilled, professional, or technical) within the past 3 years prior to application.

Fallacy: Economic immigrants can only immigrate to Canada through the Express Entry program and not through any other means.

Fact: Most of the economic immigrants to Canada will be selected through the Express Entry system, but there will be other avenues available.

One thing to note is that the Provinces of Canada will still have their Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

A certain percentage of the applicants to the PNP program may enjoy expedited processing through Express Entry, but provinces will still be able to recruit applicants through their original nominee program.

This means that some applicants who might not qualify for Express Entry can still become eligible for the Provincial Nominee Program of a specific province.

It is also important to remember that the Province of Quebec has its own immigration system and will not be joining Canada’s Federal Express Entry Program.

Instead, for 2015, the Province will have its own Skilled Worker stream and Quebec Experience program, both of which are scheduled to reopen in April 2015.

With all these other avenues available, applicants who worry that they may not qualify in the Express Entry Program will have other options.

Fallacy: A job offer is a requirement to be able to qualify for the Express Entry Program.

Fact: A job offer will increase a person’s chances of qualifying, but it is not a requirement.

The Express Entry pool will be available not only to the Canadian government but also to Canadian employers—they can directly choose an employee from the pool.

But, this doesn’t mean a job offer is an automatic requirement for applicants. Even those who do not have a job offer can apply, as long as they meet the requirements.

However, it cannot be denied that the presence of a job offer will certainly boost the standing of an applicant.

Those who are in the Express Entry pool will be ranked through the Comprehensive Ranking System, a system that will allocate points to applicants based on a specific criteria lineup.

The highest point available to a candidate will be 1,200 points and 600 of these points will be based on whether an applicant has a job offer or not.

This means that applicants with a job offer will automatically have 600 extra points over those who don’t have a job offer—and will therefore have better chances of getting more points and getting a higher place in the ranking.

Fallacy: Applicants will know specifically how many points they need to achieve in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) in order to receive an invitation to apply.

Fact: The applicants will only know their total points in the CRS and what the points threshold was for the most recent draw, but they will not know their specific place in the ranking and how many points they need for the next draw.

According to the Government of Canada, the information that they will release regarding points threshold will be for the most recent draw, not the upcoming draw.

This means applicants can aim for points to surpass since they will know their current points, but there is no guarantee that they will get an invitation upon reaching that figure because the information would be about the previous draw, not the next one.

It is also possible that candidates with a current lower rank can get an invitation on the next draw.

Fallacy: Once an applicant finishes creating an Express Entry profile, the said profile will be final and unchangeable.

Fact: Applicants can continuously update their profile, so it is possible to continue to earn more points and increase a candidate’s chances of getting a higher rank.

The Express Entry profile of applicants will always be open; it won’t be locked at any stage. Therefore, applicants can continuously improve their profile.

They can do this through different means, some of which would be by improving their language abilities, gaining additional work experience, completing an educational degree, or receiving a nomination from a province or a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.

Candidates are in fact encouraged to update their profile regularly.

Fallacy: The occupations list for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will continue to be in place.

Fact: The said list will be scrapped once the Express Entry Program is implemented in 2015.

Jobs in Canada are classified by so-called National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes, and the previous FSWP had a list of qualified occupations.

This list will no longer be in place when Express Entry is implemented starting January 1, 2015.

Instead, candidates will only be required to have at least 1 year of work experience in a skilled occupation (not necessarily the occupations included in the former FSWP list).

The removal of the said list means that the door for applicants has become wider. The same is also true for the Canadian Experience Class—there will be no more list included.

Fallacy: Applicants included in the Express Entry pool are advised to start gathering all needed documents the moment they receive an invitation to apply.

Fact: Applicants should actually prepare all needed documents way in advance, even before they receive an invitation.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada only provides a 60-day window for invited candidates to gather all necessary documents and submit them.

Applicants who start gathering the needed documents only after receiving an invitation will most probably have a hard time completing everything within the 60-day period.

This is because the documents needed are varied and very detailed, pertaining to different aspects of an applicant’s life (personal documents relating to family and civil status, educational credentials, and work reference letters).

The forms will also have to be carefully filled up with accurate information and may need to be checked several times to ensure correctness. These will all take a lot of time.

Applicants are therefore advised that the moment they enter the Express Entry pool, they must start gathering all the documents that will be needed when they receive an invitation. This is to ensure that when the invitation arrives, they’re ready.

Fallacy: Language test will no longer be needed in entering the Express Entry pool.

Fact: A language test is needed before an applicant can enter the Express Entry pool.

Canada has stated that applicants will need to have a qualifying language test score for any of Canada’s economic immigration programs before they can qualify for the Express Entry pool. The test should prove the applicant’s proficiency in any of Canada’s two official languages—English or French.

Applicants are encouraged to prioritize taking a language test, especially if they don’t have a job offer. This is because Canada stated that its job matching software will not be available until April 2015.

Therefore, applicants without a job offer can still get an edge over those who have by entering the pool early and getting a chance to be invited during the first draw.

Fallacy: Express Entry will be easier compared to the previous systems.

Fact: The new system will be a bit more challenging because the Canadian government will be more stringent in reviewing applicants. There will also be more documents required from applicants.

The Express Entry system aims to process applications within six months, but this doesn’t mean the process will be any easier for applicants.

In fact, Canada is aiming to devote a closer eye to inspecting applications to ensure that only the truly qualified will be processed and accepted to the country.

Applications and documents will be scrutinized more closely, so applicants have to be extra careful when preparing everything.

Fallacy: The self-declared information provided by applicants to the Express Entry will make it easier to manipulate information and to just fix things later when an invitation is already issued.

Fact: Information manipulation, regardless of the stage at which it was committed, is still considered misrepresentation and will have penalties.

Canada will have a more stringent processing system to ensure that only the truly eligible will qualify and prevent cases of misrepresentation.

In case an applicant gets into the Express Entry pool and receives an invitation, the said invitation may be withdrawn if any case of misrepresentation is found out.

The government of Canada has even increased the penalty for such cases. From 2 years of inadmissibility when found guilty, it will now be 5 years. Those found guilty will also be banned from applying for permanent residency for 5 years.

More details will continue to emerge as the implementation of the Express Entry Program draws near. We hope the information above have clarified any misconceptions and confusions and help prospective applicants prepare all their requirements.