Top 5 Reasons Your Express Entry Application Can Get Rejected!

Season 1, Episode 3

Welcome to Season 1, Episode 3 of the Canadian Immigration Podcast. In this episode I will be discussing my Top 5 reasons Express Entry applications get rejected.  

Podcast S1,E3
By listening carefully to this podcast, you just might be able to save yourself from the 5 most common mistakes that can result in the refusal of your permanent resident application under the Express Entry system.

Although there are any number of ways you can be found ineligible to actually participate in Express Entry, this podcast will be focused on the ways you can unknowingly mess up your application after you have been granted an Invitation to Apply for permanent resident status in Canada.

In no specific order, these are the mistakes I see most often in my practice:

  1. Your reference letters are deficient.
  2. You forgot to include all your police clearances.
  3. You failed to include a copy of your degree with your ECA.
  4. You let your language test results expire.
  5. You didn’t provide proof of funds.

[Tweet “Failing to include your degree with your ECA can result in refusal of your Express Entry application.”]

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In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Why the Express Entry program can be so unforgiving to applicants.
  • How to avoid the 5 most common mistakes people make when filing their applications.
  • Great links to essential CIC resources for determining your eligibility under Express Entry.
  • Helpful tips on navigating the complex Express Entry process.

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In this episode we mentioned the following resources:

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Read the Transcript

You can read a additional notes for this episode, [spoiler]Welcome to the Canadian immigration podcast season 1, episode 3

In this episode I will be discussion the Top 5 reasons your Express Entry application can get rejected?


Since Jan 1 – EE is pretty much the only option for PR for SW in Canada except for PNPs

  • We’ve gone from certainty with the old system to tremendous uncertainty with EE
  • Prior to Jan 1, 2015 could apply directly to various Economic PR Class categories:
    • FST
    • FSW
    • CEC
  • After Jan 1, anyone seeking to transition from a WP to PR or seeking to immigrate as a skilled worker to Canada must now go through EE – unless qualify under one of the PNPs
    • However, PNPs in some Provinces are suspended until the new year, such as Alberta and BC which are suspended to early 2006 because the 5500 quotas for 2015 have been reached.
  • Thus, there is a lot riding on successfully navigating the EE program.
  • If you are one of the many TFWs in Canada with work  permits that are reaching the four your cap, you have very little margin of error. If you don’t get it right, you could be finding yourself heading home.
  •  When I speak with my colleagues across the country, we are seeing all lot of Applications getting returned for seemingly inconsequential reasons.
  •  This is what we will be discussing to some extent in the podcast today.
  •  Largely this is occurred because of the shift within immigration and how they are processing applications.
    • If there are any errors or deficiencies within the application and it is not perfect, they will simply return it. We call this a one touch policy.
    • In other words they want to get an application that is complete and they don’t want to have to sit on the application and then waste time by sending you a deficiency letter.
    • They have quotas to meet. They have to get these applications processed in six months. There are only so many officers to go around.
  •  Have you noticed how the work permit processing times and spousal sponsorship processing times have skyrocketed? The reason for this is that many of the officers are being reassigned to express entry so that the government can continue to meet their service level standards of six-month processing for express entry.
  • So the situation we’re now dealing with is that you have to get your application right and you cannot afford to make innocent errors or mistakes or omissions on your applications otherwise they’re going to get bounced back.
  • It’s one thing to get your application rejected because you do not meet the requirements of the Express Entry program. It’s an entirely other thing to have your application in the cue having been granted an ITA only to have it rejected when you file the present application because of something you should’ve anticipated long before you ever submitted it.
  •  When submitting your profile  to the express entry pool , there are lots of checks and balances within the system to allow you to know right away whether not you qualify. If your English isn’t sufficient you do not even get to the door.  If you do not have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada or abroad, you’re also shut out.
  • Citizenship and immigration Canada has a CRS calculator that you can punch in your information and it will let you know  what your potential rank maybe. I’ll put a link to that within the show notes.
  • Once you’re in the pool, you’re also be notified as to the actual CRS score that you get when you’re sitting in the pool. You can then compare CRS score to the rounds of invitations and determine exactly where you sit. Our most recent draw which is the lowest of all, occurred just this weekend on September 18 with a CRS point threshold of  450 points.
  •  Each time a trial curse we hope that it will continue to drop lower and lower. However I know for a fact that there are thousands of people who are currently sitting at somewhere below 450 points that limbo for months hoping to be drawn. The Internet is full of people discussing the frustration they’re experiencing.
  • Can you imagine what it would be like if you had 450 CRS points and were finally granted an ITA to the Federal Skilled Worker Program after waiting since early January of this year  to be drawn.
  •  I personally would be overjoyed.
  •  Now let’s imagine you faithfully submit your permanent resident documentation and upload all of the information necessary to ensure that the lovely portal accepts your application.
  •  Now let’s  fast forward five months. You get home after a long days work to find you have a new email from citizenship and immigration Canada. You notice that it has the file number starting with the letter E which is significant because it relates to your express entry application.
  • You quickly log into your computer and open your MyCIC  Account
  •  What you find devastate you. After waiting in limbo almost 8 months, CIC has refused your application. Why did they refuse it?
    • Because you forgot to include a copy of your degree when you uploaded your educational credential assessment.
    • Or maybe you forgot to include a birth certificate for one of your dependent children; Or even worse,
    • You accidentally uploaded a copy of your child’s passport data page in the spot reserved for birth certificates –  which is super easy to do given the fact you cannot look at the documents once you’ve uploaded them into the system to ensure you’ve got the right one in the right spot.
  • Now you realize that you are going to have to go back into the pool and hope again that the draw total drops down to at least 450 and 50 points again.
  •  This is what we’re seeing happening. I’m seeing individuals all across the country who are facing the same issues. In the past these simple oversights resulted in nothing more then a 1 to 2 month delay in processing has CIC waited for you to upload the requested documentation that you had missed in the original filing. However as can be seen from above anyone who does this now can most assuredly expect to see their application returned.


Alright, I think I’ve be labored that point long enough. This podcast is designed to give you my my top five reasons that I’ve seen applications getting refused over the past seven months. It’s my hope that by sharing these simple tips with you, you will be able to ensure that you don’t make those same innocent mistakes that have such drastic consequences when applying under the express entry system.


So before we start with my list, I want to qualify that these reasons relate to the permanent resident process of the application.  There are likely a number of different reasons why individuals cannot even get into the pool.  There’re also things that candidates can do to increase their CRS score and increase their chances of getting drawn from the express entry pool. However, I’m not going to be discussing those in this podcast but instead am going to be focusing exclusively on the reasons that IC permanent resident applications being bounced.

So let’s jump into my top five reasons permanent resident applications are being refused under the express entry system.  I do you want to point out that these are no specific order.  However they are some of the top five most common reasons I see these applications getting returned.


  1. Reference letters are Deficient – do not meet the minimum requirements:
    • See: How to Draft an employer reference letter that works: posted on Friday September 18th on my website
    • One of the most common areas omitted from those letters are the detailed list of duties  and the number of hours worked per week.
      • These are missing, you will not get credit for your skilled work experience in your application will most assuredly be returned.
      • If there is one person out there that has been given a second chance from CIC and asked to replace a deficient reference letter I’d love to hear it.  They show no mercy.
  2. Police clearance missing– some countries require a federal and state clearance.  The only way you will know is by going to the CIC website and reading very carefully exactly what they need.  I’ll provide a link to the  how to get a police certificate webpage within the show notes as well.
    • One example of this is Australian where you are required to provide:
      • a National Police Certificate – Standard Disclosure – name check only (issued by the Australian Federal Police) AND
      • Traffic History (for residents of Queensland only) OR
      • Full Licence History Search (for residents of Victoria only)
    •  Guess what happens if you fail to include even one of those. You guessed it refusal!
  3. Educational Degree not included with ECA assessment –  this one happens more than you think.  When uploading the educational credential assessment, some people forget to also upload the underlying degree that was evaluated.
    • now one would assume That it’s not a big deal because the ECA assessment is the most important thing within this process.  Further, there is no way you could get TCA without the underlying degree.  However we have seen refusals for failing to included.
    • a simple oversight, which can cause an individual to have to start all over again from the beginning.
  4. Language Test Results have expired –  you would think with the language test results remaining valid for two years this would not be a problem. However, the longer someone sits within the express entry pool, the more likely it is that an IELTS or CELPIP  test results will expire.
    • Let’s take our  original candidate who hypothetically submitted  her application in January of this year. If they were not drawn until June of next year, it is entirely possible that that language test could have expired long before the permanent resident application is finally adjudicated.
    • I have seen this happen. With  the fairly significant cost of language testing, it makes perfect sense that people will try to use an old test as long as they possibly can without having to incur the greater cost to sit the exam again.
    • However, if one is not vigilant it is easy to see how people can be tripped up by this requirement.
  5. Proof of Funds lacking – finally, the last area in which I see applications getting bounced back at the last stages is due to a failure to have proof of funds to support settlement in Canada following the approval of PR

Unless you are currently authorized to work in Canada and have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada, or you have been invited to apply under the Canadian Experience Class, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you get to Canada.

Number of

Family Members

Funds Required

(in Canadian dollars)

1 $11,931
2 $14,853
3 $18,260
4 $22,170
5 $25,145
6 $28,359
7 or more $31,574


Bring as much money as you can to make moving and finding a home in Canada easier. Note, however, that Canadian customs regulations require you to declare if you are bringing more than C$10,000 into Canada. If you do not tell them, you may be fined or put in prison. These funds could be in the form of:

  • cash
  • documents that show property or capital payable to you (such as stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills, etc.) or
  • documents that guarantee payment of a set amount of money, which are payable to you (such as bankers’ drafts, cheques, travellers’ cheques or money orders).


So with all of this being said you better make darn sure that you disclose any amounts over $10,000 Canadian when you are arriving in Canada.  I can only imagine a circumstance where an individual is caught by customs for feeling to disclose the amount, before they have had a chance to go to immigration to confirm they have settlement funds in order to land as a private resident Canada.


So with all of these reasons I’ve given above for why your permanent resident application can be refused under express century, I want to give you just a few quick tips that if followed, can pretty much eliminate the risk of this happening to you.

  1. Collect all of your documentation long before you receive your invitation to apply. In this fashion you’re not going to be scrambling at the last minute try try to get all of the necessary documentation and miss something by accident because you’re trying to go to fast.
    • Remember that once you have been granted your ITA, you have only two months to submit your permanent resident application. If you have not yet obtained the police clearance, your medicals, or your reference letters etc., you may be very hard pressed to get these things before your time runs out.
    • So make sure that you have all your documentation ready to go at a moments notice.
  2. Consider declining your ITA if your application is not  100% complete a the time in which you are required to file the PR portion–  you need to ensure that you have everything that you’ve been asked to provide  and that the documentation and information has been properly uploaded into the portal before you submit your application.
    • It is a far better practice to hold off on filing until you have everything. It may be that some pieces of documentation are difficult to obtain. After all, if you qualify for more than one permanent resident program your document checklist can look slightly different depending upon the program.
    • However, the days of telling CIC to hold the application pending receipt of a document that has not yet been received – such as a police clearance from Africa (which can take many months), or the results of a medical test, will often fall on deaf ears and result in you getting your PR application refused with instructions to resubmit your profile into the EE pool.
    • So  don’t take the chance.
    • In many cases, if you are not faced with a work permit that is expiring. It may be a better practice to decline the invitation to apply until you have the documentation that you need.  If your CRS points are high, you will get drawn again within the next three weeks or so.


So that about covers it for my top five list of reasons people get their PR applications refused under Express Entry and I finished off with a couple of hints to ensure you can protect yourself from falling into this trap.

So let’s go to some listener questions.

This one is probably one of the most common questions I get. Unfortunately, it is not a question that I would classify as general in nature; however, I do want to address it right off the bat so that hopefully I can help others with similar questions to find the answers they are looking for. Just to clarify, this would be an example of a specific question that better suited for a one on one consultation. However, here it is and then we can talk about what you can do if you have a similar question.



Question via Canadian Immigration Podcast Website:

Name: amarjit

Comment: dear sir,

I have a 3 year diploma in mechanical engineering and I have 15 years of work experience. I have IELTS scores of:





OVERALL- 5.5 Can I qualify for Express Entry?


The quick answer to this question is that no you will not be able to apply through express century.  I assume from this question that he is not currently working in Canada. If that is the case he would not qualify under the candidate experience class. In this program you can qualify with language scores at CLB level 5.  However, anyone else outside of the country that has to go through express entry and ultimately apply to the federal skilled worker program, the minimum language score is set at CLB 7.


Now with this being said, I want to provide everyone with three important links to help them along their way.

  1. The CIC skilled immigration eligibility wizard which can tell you if you are eligible to submit your profile into the EE pool:
  2. The second is CICs webpage that outlines the Six selection factors – Federal skilled workers are assessed against when determining if they meet the initial 67 point threshold for the FSWP. If this is not met, then you can’t even get into the EE pool unless you are living and working in Canada. I presume that Amarjit is not.
  3. The third is the CRS tool:  that will assess how many points you are expected to receive IF CIC accepts the information you have provided as being provable.  In other words, you may feel you have a Masters level degree and thus eligible to obtain the corresponding points for education. However, a language assessment could equate your Masters degree to a 4 year undergraduate degree in Canada. So take this CRS tool as a general guide. I’ll place this link in the show notes too.


So it is not possible for me to assess each individuals eligibility for express interest. I sincerely wish I could, however it’s not possible. If anyone wants to have their eligibility formally assessed and receive a legal opinion, they can reach out to my law firm and book a paid consult. For the rest of you, these links should give you exactly what you need to get a very good idea where you stand with express entry. So I hope they’re helpful.



From: Nila

Subject: [your-subject]

Message Body:

I’m a spouse of an international student who holds an open work permit in BC. I have gained experience to qualify through CEC.

Can my employer apply for an LMIA only to support my PR application as I don’t need a work permit?

My spouse is a still student and we already have a valid study and open work permit for another year. I’ve have no Canadian education.  I have skilled work experience working as a seamstress (NOC 6342) and i’m paid the prevailing wage. I’ve created an express entry profile but didn’t get enough points as my spouse is still working on his degree and I don’t have Canadian education as I mentioned earlier.

So, my only hope is now to get 600 points through an LMIA. Thanks for all your help and will look forward to the answer in your weekly podcast.


From: Labib

Subject: LMIA

Message Body:

I’m preparing my file for FSW program..I have revived job offer from a Canadian question is ..

1-Is it mandatory to have LMIA in order to get additional points for the job offer OR not??

2-can I submit EOI  before obtaining LMIA or during processing the LMIA ??

Yes, absolutely you can have your employer apply for what we call a PLMIA or a permanent LMIA that is used to support an EE application. There are some benefits to this process as there is no $1000 application fee for the employer and processing times tend to me a little quicker than a traditional LMIA. The only thing to remember is that your employer will still have to demonstrate that there are no qualified Canadian citizens available to take your position as a seamstress.


If your employer is successful, you will indeed obtain an extra 600 points for your job offer and will be virtually guaranteed that you will receive an ITA. I wish you all the best.



From: Labib

Subject: LMIA

Message Body:

I’m preparing my file for the FSW program.. I have revived job offer from a Canadian question is ..

1-Is it mandatory to have LMIA in order to get additional points for the job offer OR not??

YES, only job offers supported by and LMIA will get the additional 600 points under the CRS.

2-can I submit EOI  before obtaining LMIA or during processing the LMIA ??

Yes, if you meet the 67 point threshold under the FSW program, and other program requirements there is nothing from preventing you from submitting your profile into the EE pool and waiting until your employer is able to obtain an LMIA to support your job offer. 

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7 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons Your Express Entry Application Can Get Rejected!

  1. Sir

    I am from India, an aspirant for Express entry.

    I have a job experience of 3.5 years from three companies and out of this, in two companies I had been only for 10 months. Please let me know whether I can give this experience in my EE Profile.

    I enquired about this to many people and received different opinions some are saying experience below 12 months is not considered while some others say it is not a problem. Please give me a clear picture of this.

    I expects a reply.

    Thanks In Advance,

    Eldho Baby.

    • My sincerest apologies for taking so long to get back to. Were you able to attend the live Express Entry webinar yesterday?

      I highly recommend that you signed up for the Express Entry course I am offering. I will be able to answer all of your questions in detail.

      You can access a replay of the webinar as well as specific information related to the Express Entry course at this link: .

      Have a wonderful evening.

  2. Eligibility points

    1 year 9
    2-3 years 11
    4-5 years 13
    6 or more years 15

    Could you tell what points will I get if I have 3.2 years of experience?

  3. Hi during filling ITA for they have asked “Has ……………… ……… you been refused refugee status, or an immigrant or permanent resident visa or visitor or temporary resident visa, to Canada or any other country?”

    in my case i was rejected by France embassy in 2013 when i applied schgan visa for traveling . that time i was having UK visa and it was expire in three months and in last 3 months i have applied for the schgan visa . they gave me reason that you can not apply bcoz u r visa is expire in last three months .and they put stamps on my old passport . now i have a new passport no stamps on that .please guide me in this .should i mention YES or NO .

  4. I want to know about showing two jobs which I did part-time during my college studies in canada on my work history and my job experience .Both the part time lasted over 9 months same time frame..I worked evening one job and worked on weekend other job

Comments are closed.