Why is Canada’s immigration system described as a merit-centric, transparent, and efficient immigration system? Even the OECD described the Express Entry system as the role model for the entire globe. The key factor that makes Canada’s immigration system so effective is its Expression of Interest system.

First-Come-First-Served—the Conventional Approach

The traditional immigration system involves

  • Countries set up immigration programs and streams and announce intake of a specific number of applications.
  • Applicants from across the world rush to submit their applications before the intake deadline expires or maximum number is reached.
  • Applications are assessed on first-come-first served basis
  • All applications received during the intake period are vetted and eligible candidates are granted permission to immigrate.

This system is a bit of a lottery for both countries as well as applicants.

Somebody who becomes eligible after the intake period closes will have to wait for the next intake period to be announced before he or she can apply. Even those who are eligible may fail to submit applications for reasons ranging from unstable Internet connections to ill-timed power cuts.

For countries, there’s no guarantee that the best candidates are included in the pool of applications received. This approach does not focus on ensuring that only the best and most-qualified foreign workers are admitted into the country.  

Expression of Interest—Fair, Efficient, and Effective

The Expression of Interest (EoI) system turns the entire process on its head. Applicants are free to express their interest to apply for immigration throughout the year. This creates a pool of eligible applicants for the country or the province.

Now, the country or province will grade or rank those in the pool and issue Invitations to Apply (ITAs) through periodic draws.

Those in Canada’s Express Entry pool are ranked based on their CRS score. Every draw fixes a minimum CRS score and those with scores equal to or higher than the minimum score will receive ITAs.

Joining the EoI System—Ontario Provincial Nomination Program

Ontario is set to move its Employer Job Offer Category—consisting of In-Demand Skills stream, Foreign Worker stream, and International Students stream— and its Masters Graduate and PhD Graduate streams to the EoI system.

So, how do you stand to gain from this move?

The biggest benefit for skilled workers across the world is that your OINP application will not be based on whether you were lucky enough to submit your application during the few minutes within which the application quota is met.

Merit Rules!

Instead, you can submit your EoI to immigrate to Ontario and wait for your application to be graded and ranked among all other applications. If your profile meets the province’s requirements, then you will automatically receive an ITA. So, your Ontario immigration dream will depend on whether you are good enough or not and not on whether you managed to get your application in before others.

Transparent Ranking and Scoring

How exactly does Ontario rank its immigrants? Is work experience more important than education? Is Canadian experience preferred over foreign study or work experience?

A FSWP worker applying through Express Entry knows he/she has to get 67 points in the FSWP scoring grid and score more than the minimum CRS score in the draw to qualify for an ITA. How the FSWP ranks all its applicants is public knowledge.

Going ahead, an OINP Employer Offer International Graduate stream applicants will have a clear idea how the stream ranks its applicants and what he/she must do to improve the score and qualify for an ITA.

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Inbuilt Flexibility

The EoI and Draw system has the inherent flexibility to decrease or increase ITAs as required. The Feb 13 draw had a minimum CRS score of 75 points, which is why more than 27,000 candidates received ITAs. The next draw had a minimum score of more than 400 and fewer ITAs were issued.

Going ahead, qualifying for a OINP nomination may be easier since the maximum number of applicants will not be fixed in advance but will be based on the extent of shortage of skilled workers in the province and the number of job offers available to foreign workers.

Less Paperwork and Fewer Formalities

Entering the EE pool means you become eligible to receive ITAs from the federal draws as well as from draws conducted for various Express Entry-streams of different provincial nomination programs. Similarly, a single EoI can help you explore your options for all relevant OINP streams without having to track multiple intake dates or having to submit multiple applications at different intervals.

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