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May 10, 2021


Avoid These Common Scams

People are being scammed because they don’t understand how Express Entry works. This post introduces the basics of Express Entry, and breaks down the most common scams so that you can protect yourself. If you are planning to immigrate to Canada, you need to read this post!
In recent weeks, I have been receiving a number of emails from individuals overseas who have paid a lot of money to agents in order to immigrate to Canada under Express Entry. Usually the email states something to the effect of “I’m in the Express Entry pool, and I paid $1000 US to –insert name of agent or firm here– and yet nothing seems to be happening with my application. My CRS score is 338. I’m hoping you can give me some advice.”

It’s always a difficult conversation when I connect with them and, after quickly reviewing their personal data, deliver the news that their CRS ranking points are not high enough to ever expect to be invited to apply for Permanent Residence under Express Entry. By this point in time, the clients have spent several hundred dollars on language tests and educational assessments, plus the normally large sum paid to the agent/lawyer/consultant who was supposed to be organizing their immigration to Canada. They have also been actively planning their future in Canada, certain that it’s just a matter of time until their number is drawn under Express Entry. It’s an incredible betrayal of trust to learn that there was never any hope of immigration to Canada in the first place.

The most common Express Entry scam plays on language and lack of understanding in order to convince you to turn over your hard-earned cash for the hope of immigrating to Canada. Let’s break it down in plain language so that you don’t ever find yourself falling victim.

How Express Entry Works

Express Entry is a two-step process. The first step is to be eligible under one of Canada’s three federal economic immigration programs – Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Canadian Experience Class. There are many thousands of people worldwide who are eligible under one of these programs, in fact, many more people are eligible than Canada can accept as immigrants.

That’s why the second step of the Express Entry process is so important. If you are eligible under one of the 3 programs, you can enter your details into an online profile and then be ranked against the rest of the world who also wants to immigrate to Canada. Once your profile has been submitted, your CRS ranking score is calculated and your chances of immigrating to Canada become clear. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada invites the highest scoring individuals to apply for Permanent Resident approximately every two weeks.

The Most Common Express Entry Scam

The most common Express Entry scam happens at the first step of the process. After providing data relating to age, education, language ability, work experience, available funds and family ties to Canada, individuals are told various forms of the following:
“you qualify as a Federal Skilled Work.”
“you are eligible for a Permanent Residence visa.”
“you are eligible to immigrate to Canada.”
What is not clearly communicated is the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who qualify or who are eligible under one of the three programs, but who will never be invited to apply for Permanent Residence because their CRS ranking score is too low to ever expect an invitation to apply. It’s not enough to just get into the pool, you have to score high enough to be chosen by Canada.
On the basis of their eligibility, clients are encouraged to send a large sum of money so that their profile can be submitted, and their ranking score computed. What is not mentioned is the fact that the ranking score can be computed without submitting a profile, and it would take approximately 20-30 minutes for an honest expert to determine if it makes any financial sense for the client to move forward with the process or not.

What CRS scores are required for success with Express Entry

The lowest CRS score that has ever been used for an Express Entry general round of invitations was 413 on May 31, 2017. There have only been a handful of rounds where invitations were issued for scores less than 420 in the entire history of Express Entry.

In 2020, the average CRS score for general rounds of invitations was 470.

The lowest CRS score that has ever been used for an Express Entry Round of invitations that specifically targeted applicants only under the Federal Skilled Trades program stream was 199 on May 26, 2017. In 2018, the lowest CRS score for the rounds of invitations that specifically targeted applicants under the Federal Skilled Trades program was 284.

What this means is that, under present circumstances, unless you qualify under the Federal Skilled Trades Program, you need to have a score of 458 or higher to have a really good chance of being invited to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada.

If your score is between 425-450 it’s probably worthwhile to submit your profile just in case the points levels drop at some point.
If your score is between 410-425, you should be looking for some kind of Provincial Nomination program that you could apply for or planning steps that you can take to increase your ranking score. You might want to think twice about spending a lot of money for an Express Entry profile if your points are within this level, because the chances of you receiving an invitation to apply for PR are very low.

If you are eligible under the Federal Skilled Worker or Canadian Experience Class with a CRS score of 410 or lower, you have almost no chance of being invited to apply for Permanent Residence under present circumstances.

Now, it’s important to point out that the Express Entry program is constantly changing, and no one can predict what CRS score will be required to receive an invitation to apply. But when you look at historical and recent trends, you can gain a better sense of what your chances are and then make an informed decision as to how you want to spend your money.

Promises of Provincial Nomination through Express Entry

Individuals whose CRS scores are obviously too low to ever be invited to apply for Permanent Residence through Express Entry are sometimes given further encouragement that their agent/lawyer/consultant is constantly monitoring all of the various Provincial immigration streams and they will submit your information to any provincial program that you may qualify for at no extra cost. A provincial nomination certificate through Express Entry results in an additional 600 points and a guaranteed invitation to apply for Permanent Residence through Express Entry.

Although this information is technically true, it is used in a way that is borderline unethical when every client is given hope that they might qualify for a Provincial Nomination. The eligibility for each of the Provincial Nomination programs is clearly stated by each of the Provinces, it’s publicly available, and a careful examination of a client’s specific situation will indicate who is and who is not likely to qualify for Provincial Nomination. Those who do not qualify under any of the current programs should be told so, right from the start.

Just get a Job offer and you will increase your points

Sometimes individuals are instructed that they will qualify to apply for Permanent Residence as soon as they can obtain a job offer in Canada, because that will boost their CRS points by 50 or 200 points, depending on the offer. Again, this is technically true, but the reality is that it is very difficult to obtain a qualifying job offer in Canada. A qualifying job offer does not mean that you have an employer in Canada who wants to hire you. It means that you are either already working in Canada under specific types of work permits; or that you have a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) with your name on it for a job in Canada. In order for an employer to obtain this LMIA, they must first advertise the position for at least one month and hire any Canadian or Permanent Resident who applies for and is qualified to do the job. There is usually a significant cost to the employer to go through this process. Although it’s not impossible to obtain an LMIA, potential candidates need to remember that it will only be possible if there is a shortage of Canadians for the specific position and an employer who is willing to spend a lot of time and money to hire you. It’s not an easy process.

The goal of this article is to give you the tools and understanding you need in order to read between the lines of all of the promises surrounding immigration to Canada through Express Entry. While it is true that tens of thousands of people qualify to immigrate to Canada under Express Entry every year, it is my fear that almost as many people are being duped into spending a lot of money on a process that isn’t going to work in their situation. Ultimately, I hope this information will help you to avoid spending money unnecessarily, and ensure that you get the professional service that you deserve.

We would be pleased to work with you on Express Entry to determine what your realistic options for immigrating to Canada are. A consultation with our experienced consultant will provide you with your Comprehensive Ranking Score, plus the understanding of how your score was calculated, and what steps you can take to improve your score.