Canada is known for being one of the most welcoming countries in the world, with a high standard of living and diverse culture. It’s no wonder that it’s become a popular destination for immigrants seeking a better life. However, with the high demand for immigration into Canada, the application process can be complex and competitive.

This is where the Canadian Express Entry program comes in, offering a streamlined and efficient process for skilled workers to apply for permanent residency. Despite its benefits, many applicants are denied approval due to mistakes in their applications, which can range from simple oversights to more serious errors.

As such, it is crucial for applicants to be aware of these common mistakes and take steps to avoid them, which is the purpose of this guide.

What is Express Entry?

The Canadian Express Entry system is a federal immigration program that facilitates the selection and processing of skilled workers who want to immigrate to Canada. It is designed to manage applications for three main economic immigration programs:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
  • The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

How Does it Work

The Express Entry system allows eligible candidates to create an online profile and enter a pool of candidates who are ranked based on a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. This score is based on factors such as age, education, language proficiency, work experience, and more.

Candidates with the highest CRS scores are issued Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residency in Canada through regular Express Entry draws. Once an ITA is issued, the candidate has 60 days to submit a complete application for permanent residency.

The Express Entry system is designed to be fast and efficient, with processing times averaging around six months.

Documents Required for Express Entry

When applying for Express Entry, applicants must meet a series of eligibility requirements set out by the Canadian government, one of which is the provision of required paperwork. The documents will depend on the specific program and category under which the candidate is applying. They generally include:

Valid Passport or Travel Document

This is one of the most basic documents required to apply for permanent residency through the Canadian Express Entry program. As expected by the authorities, it should be authentic and valid.

Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

An ECA report is required to verify that the applicant’s foreign education (degree, diploma or certificate) is equivalent to Canadian education standards.

Language Test Results

As part of their Express Entry profile, applicants must indicate the language test results they have obtained in their official language of learning. Generally, candidates must demonstrate English or French language proficiency in all three domains – listening, reading, and writing – at the B2 or higher level in Canada’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Candidates can take an English or French language test at one of the following testing agencies:

  • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test
  • Canadian Language Proficiency Index (CLPI) test
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test
  • Test de connaissance du français (TCF) test

Work Reference Letters

Candidates are required to provide reference letters from their current and previous employers who can attest to their professional competence and work experience.

Proof of Funds

Since the fees for Canadian immigration programs vary significantly, applicants are required to demonstrate that they can support themselves and their dependents during the application process and for at least the first year of permanent residency. Applicants can prove this by submitting official copies of their bank statements or by providing proof of investment or rental income.

Provincial Nomination Certificate (If Applicable)

Applicants who have received provincial nominations will need to provide the certificates issued by the province.

Marriage Certificate or Common-Law Partnership Proof (If Applicable)

If the applicant and their accompanying spouse or common-law partner are legally married or in a common-law relationship, they will need to submit marriage or partnership proof. This can be provided in the form of a copy of the marriage certificate or a written declaration signed by both spouses or partners.

Police Certificates

Applicants must submit a police certificate from each country in which they have lived for more than six months. It is important to note that these must be original certificates and not photocopies.

How Can Applicants Be Denied Express Entry Approval?

Wrong Work Experience

Incomplete or inaccurate work experience information like job titles, job descriptions, or dates of employment can hinder an applicant’s ranking in the Express Entry pool or complete rejection of the application. That’s why applicants need to accurately record their work experience, including duties, responsibilities, and gained skills on their profile.

Incorrect or False Educational Credentials

This can happen when the person in question did not receive the education they claimed, when the foreign education was not assessed properly, or when the education was not equivalent to Canadian education standards. Falsifying educational credentials can bear serious consequences, including a permanent ban from immigrating to Canada. To err on the side of caution, applicants are to vet their educational credentials through a recognised third-party organization.

Faulty Express Entry Programming

Although rare, technical glitches in the Express Entry program can occur, leading to inaccuracies or errors in the application process. Applicants who suspect that their applications have been affected by a technical glitch should contact Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) immediately.

Incorrect Job Offer

For some applicants, a job offer is the final piece of the Express Entry puzzle. If an applicant provides an employment offer letter and the job duties, tasks, salary and benefits fall outside the list of eligible job duties on their profile, their application could be rejected. To avoid this, candidates must ensure that they have their employment offer validated by a Canadian Job Bank representative or a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant.

Failure to Attach an English or French Translation

Any document that is not in English or French must be accompanied by an accurate or certified translation. Failing to provide a translation can result in a delay or rejection of one’s application.


The Express Entry system aims to simplify the application process for skilled workers who want to immigrate to Canada. As the system is complex, it is essential for applicants to do their research and hire a professional to help them with their applications. This will allow them to avoid any mistakes or oversights that could jeopardise their chances of approval.


Related article: A Fee Guide for Canada Express Entry Applicants