What To Do When Your Express Entry Profile Is Ineligible

Has your Express Entry profile been deemed ineligible? Here's how you can fix the most common causes of ineligibility.

Last updated on
January 14, 2024

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What To Do When Your Express Entry Profile Is Ineligible

To begin your Express Entry application, you must create an Express Entry profile. In some circumstances, your profile will be deemed ineligible. This usually occurs within seconds of completing your profile.

Here, we have detailed all of the most common reasons a profile may be deemed ineligible. Read through this list, determine why your profile was deemed ineligible, correct any issues, then consider submitting a new profile.

Ineligibility in the Province of Quebec

People who choose the Province of Quebec as their preferred province of residence will automatically find their Express Entry profile ineligible. The Express Entry system is not offered in Quebec; you would instead apply through the Quebec-selected Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).

Ineligibility due to invalid language assessments

There are various language requirements to qualify for the Express Entry program. You must meet these language requirements in order to qualify. Here are a few reasons you may be found ineligible:

You have not met the benchmark for your NOC TEER and application stream

Each application stream and national occupation classification TEER (NOC TEER) has its own language requirements

Canada’s language requirements are based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) for English, and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) for French.

Not meeting these requirements will lead to your Express Entry profile being deemed ineligible. They are as follows:

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

English: CLB 7

French: NCLC 7

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

English: CLB 7 (NOC TEER 0 or 1), CLB 5 (NOC TEER 2 or 3)

French: NCLC 7 (NOC TEER 0 or 1), NCLC 5 (NOC TEER 2 or 3)

Federal Skilled Trades Program

English: Speaking and listening CLB 5, reading and writing CLB 4

French: Speaking and listening NCLC 5, reading and writing NCLC 4

Keep in mind that these are the minimum scores for Express Entry. You will most likely need to improve your language scores if you wish to be selected during a draw and receive an Invitation to Apply for Express Entry.

The language test you took is not recognized by IRCC

IRCC recognizes the following language tests:

English: 

CELPIP-General (The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program General Test)

French:

The language assessments offered by these organizations are valid for 2 years. Should your language test results expire while you are in the Express Entry pool, you may become ineligible. We recommend retaking your language test if it is going to expire soon. You must retake your test if it is already expired. 

For the TEF Canada, the language exam should explicitly note “Au test d’évaluation de francais pour le Canada” at the top of the first page. In addition, the scores should include the “Équivalence ancient score.” For reading and listening, it should be on 360 and for speaking and writing it should be on 450. 

Ineligibility due to invalid education

You have not had your education verified by a designated organization

In order to apply for Express Entry, you need to acquire an educational credential assessment (ECA). There are a number of organizations that you can use to get your ECA as of November, 2023:

Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies 

International Credential Assessment Service of Canada

World Education Services

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)

International Credential Evaluation Service – British Columbia Institute of Technology

These organizations are all designated by the Government of Canada for educational credential assessments

What does your Education Credential Assessment mean for Express Entry? 

To choose the proper education field in your Express Entry account, make sure to consult this table. 

If the ECA result is not found in the list, you can contact your ECA provider to understand their assessment results. Visit this IRCC link, and then click on Comprehensive Ranking Score under Select a program. If you chose the wrong education and you fall below the minimum, this could be another reason that your profile is ineligible.

ECAs for physicians and pharmacists

Physicians and pharmacists cannot use the designated organizations listed above. They must instead have their ECA performed by designated professional bodies. 

Physicians (NOC 31100, NOC 31101 or NOC 31102) must get their ECA report for their primary medical diploma from the Medical Council of Canada.

Pharmacists (NOC 31120) must get their ECA report from the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada if they need a license to practise. This applies for patient-facing pharmacy positions, like community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy.

ECA expiration

Your ECA expires after 5 years; if you are nearing the expiry date, or if your ECA has already expired, you should acquire a new ECA before completing your Express Entry profile. If your profile is unexpectedly found to be ineligible after you submitted your profile, make sure that your ECA (and language exams) are still valid. 

Your education does not match the employment requirements of your NOC

Each NOC has its own educational requirements; failing to meet the education requirements stipulated in your NOC’s description could lead to your profile being denied.

Ineligibility due to an improper NOC code

Your NOC TEER does not meet the eligibility requirements for your Express Entry stream

Each Express Entry stream has its own NOC TEER requirements. They are as follows:

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

  • TEER 0
  • TEER 1
  • TEER 2
  • TEER 3

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

  • TEER 0
  • TEER 1
  • TEER 2
  • TEER 3

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

  • TEER 2
  • TEER 3

There are further qualifications for the Federal Skilled Trades Program. In order to qualify, your NOC must be within a number of groups. As of November 2023, these groups include:

  • Major Group 72 (except subgroup 726)
  • Major Group 73
  • Major Group 82
  • Major Group 83
  • Major Group 92
  • Major Group 93 (excluding subgroup 932)
  • Minor Group 6320
  • NOC Code 62200 (Chefs)

Major groups, subgroups, and minor groups are all found in the digits in your NOC code. A major group is found in the first two digits of your NOC code, a subgroup is found in the first 3 digits, and a minor group is found in the first four digits. 

Read our article on NOC TEER and Express Entry to learn more

Your NOC does not match your work experience

Read the description of your NOC carefully. You want your primary NOC to match your primary occupation as closely as possible. Ideally, your job title, main duties, and education will all match those described in the description of your NOC.

You should not expect your duties or title to match those descriptions exactly - find the NOC that most closely matches the description of your duties. In addition, make sure that your primary occupation is not in one of the NOCs that is excluded under the NOC code you are choosing. 

Ensure that your primary occupation aligns well with your selected NOC (National Occupational Classification). Your job title, key responsibilities, and educational background should closely correspond with those outlined in your NOC's description. However, it's not necessary for every detail to match perfectly; your goal is to choose the NOC that best reflects your actual job duties. Additionally, be cautious not to select an NOC code under which your primary occupation is specifically excluded.

Choosing an inappropriate NOC not only risks your application being deemed ineligible, but it may also lead to a refusal. This refusal could occur if your reference letter fails to support the skilled work experience you claimed in your profile. As observed in Cédric's experience, missteps in demonstrating relevant work experience, such as incorrect NOC selection, inadequate reference letters, failure to provide required documents, or overstating your experience to fit a higher-skilled NOC, are frequent causes for rejection in the Express Entry process. It is much better to properly prepare your application and avoid these mistakes, than having to seek a judicial review in Federal Court or attempt a reconsideration request.

Ineligibility due to lack of work experience

To qualify for Express Entry, you must have sufficient experience in a career that matches your primary NOC code to be eligible. The amount of experience you will need depends on your application stream:

Canadian Experience Class (CEC): At least one year of work experience in Canada within the last 3 years.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP): At least one year of continuous work experience within the last 10 years.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP): At least two years of work experience within the last 5 years.

The work experience you obtain to meet this requirement can be any combination of part-time and full-time work, so long as you meet the threshold of 1560 hours of continuous work experience. You could, for example, work 30 hours a week for 12 months, or 15 hours a week for 24 months.

However, it's important to differentiate between the eligibility for Express Entry and the criteria for Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points. While CEC eligibility requires at least one year of Canadian work experience within the last three years, the CRS points calculation, based on the current Ministerial Instructions, considers Canadian work experience from the last ten years. This is one of many complexities in the immigration process, emphasizing the importance of professional guidance if you have uncertainties.

The Government of Canada does not count more than 30 hours per week towards your work experience. This means that you may not qualify if you reach the 1560 hour threshold by working overtime, or a 40 hour per week work schedule. 

Ineligibility due to insufficient points (Federal Skilled Worker Program)

You have scored less than 67 points

To be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), you must score at least 67 points using IRCC’s six selection factors. Failing to meet a score of 67 points or higher while applying in this stream means your Express Entry profile will be automatically found ineligible.

Look at the six selection factors carefully, calculating your points for each factor. Take a moment to double check your math. Should you find you are below the threshold, take steps to improve your eligibility; you might improve your language skills, acquire more work experience, or invest in your education.

You have not received a valid job offer from a Canadian employer

Your Express Entry profile may be denied if you believe you are receiving 10 points from a valid job offer, but that job offer does not meet the criteria. Typically, this is the result of believing that your job offer is LMIA exempt when it is not.

The rules and regulations that determine whether or not a job offer is valid are complex; reading more about arranged employment in Canada can help you determine whether or not you qualify for the 10 points that an eligible job offer will grant you. 

Ineligibility after you’ve been entered into the Express Entry pool

Occasionally, your profile may become ineligible after you’ve successfully entered it into the Express Entry pool. Though this is rare, it can be very frustrating when it occurs. There are two common reasons that your profile may become ineligible after it has been entered into the pool: the minimum settlement funds have gone up, or your age has changed since you submitted a profile in the Federal Skilled Worker Program. This could even occur if your language exam, ECA expires or even passport expires.

You no longer meet the minimum settlement funds requirement

When applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Federal Skilled Trades Program, you need to submit your available settlement funds - these settlement funds must meet a minimum threshold. The minimum settlement funds threshold tends to go up by a few percentage points each year; if the settlement funds you’ve listed in your profile are lower than the new adjusted minimum, your profile will become ineligible.

The simple solution to this is to ensure that you have more than the minimum required settlement funds; you can find up to date information on the current minimum amount needed on the Government of Canada’s proof of funds page. Having a few thousand dollars more than these minimums should keep your profile eligible even after the minimum increases. 

Your age has changed and you no longer meet the FSWP point threshold

Age is one of the six selection factors for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Applicants who are between the ages of 18-35 qualify for the maximum number of points (12).

As applicants get older, the number of age-based points they qualify for goes down. An applicant who is 36, for example, qualifies for 11 points.

This means that if you have a profile with exactly 67 points, you are older than 35, and you have a birthday after your profile has entered the pool, your profile will become ineligible; you will lose a point for being a year older than when you applied.

For this reason, it is important to consider any upcoming birthdays when calculating your points for the FSWP and creating an Express Entry profile. 

Conclusion

There are many reasons why your Express Entry profile might be deemed ineligible, from expired language results to a work history that does not match your primary NOC. Being informed that your Express Entry profile is ineligible can be frustrating; by following the tips provided here, you should be able to understand why your profile was deemed ineligible. In the best case scenarios, you will be able to resubmit your profile and have it enter the Express Entry Pool. 

The Express Entry system is complex, and each application stream has its own quirks. Cedric Marin can navigate these complexities, and help you gain permanent resident status in Canada. Book a consultation with him today, 

FAQ

Can I reactivate my Express Entry profile?

You cannot reactivate or edit an ineligible Express Entry profile. You must create a new profile instead.

How many times can I create an Express Entry profile?

You can only have one active Express Entry profile at a time. When your profile is found ineligible, however, you can always create a new one. There is no limit to the number of Express Entry profiles you can create in response to a profile being deemed ineligible. 

I was found not eligible for Express Entry and I can’t change my profile. What should I do?

First, carefully review the information included in your Express Entry profile, and read the article above. Understanding why your profile was deemed ineligible can help you when creating your next profile.

Next, create a new profile - you will need a new GCKey to do so. Correct any mistakes you made in your last profile that may have rendered you ineligible, then submit your new profile.

Remember - if you were found ineligible because you did not meet the eligibility requirements (for example, because your education credentials were expired), you will need to take steps to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements before submitting your next profile. 


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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is general informational purposes and it is not legal advice. The information not a substitute for professional legal advice, and it may not be appropriate for you. Do not rely exclusively on this blog. Always conduct your own research and due diligence. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, immigration laws and regulations can vary and change over time. It is important to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer if you are unsure how to proceed.

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