What to do if you are not eligible for Express Entry

(If you have submitted your Express Entry profile, you can skip this lesson)

If the Come to Canada tool has determined you are not eligible for Express Entry, the first step is understanding why. 

We ask that you keep the following in mind:

1. The Come to Canada tool is not perfect and sometimes makes mistakes.

2. The tool will not provide you with a specific reason for why you were not eligible.

3. The tool only checks to make sure you have potential for Express Entry. It does not discriminate based on factors like your country, religion, gender, etc. The evaluation is based entirely on your ability to meet the eligibility criteria.

4. If you were found ineligible for Express Entry, it is because one or more of the answers you provided resulted in you being ineligible for Express Entry based on the eligibility criteria.

5. The result you got from the Come to Canada tool is not final. You can retake the evaluation whenever you want without any negative repercussion.

Potential reasons for why you may have been found ineligible for Express Entry

1. If you selected Quebec as your destination province, the Come to Canada tool will instantly refuse you for Express Entry. Quebec is not a part of Express Entry and has its own immigration program. If you want to live in the province of Quebec, you cannot apply through Express Entry.

2. You did not provide valid language test results or you were not able to meet the minimum language requirements of one of the programs under Express Entry:

Federal Skilled Worker Program

First Official Language:


Minimum Level all four abilities





Second official language: Minimum level of CLB or NCLC 5.

Federal Skilled Trades Program



Minimum Level


Speaking and Listening



Reading and Writing



Speaking and Listening



Reading and Writing


Canadian Experience Class

NOC Skill Type/Level

Minimum level for all four language abilities

NOC 0 or A




Without having sufficient language skills in English and/or French, it is unlikely that you would be able to come to Canada. For that reason, we strongly recommend practicing for the language test and improving your ability.

3. You did not meet the work experience requirements of one of the programs under Express Entry:

For the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must have at least one year of full-time, continuous, paid work experience in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) code with Skill Type/Level 0, A or B. The work experience can be outside of Canada. 

For the Federal Skilled Trades Class, you must have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount in part-time) in a skilled trade within the 5 years before you apply. Your skilled trade must fall under one of the following groups:

  • Major Group 72, industrial, electrical and construction trades 
  • Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades
  • Major Group 82, supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production
  • Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators
  • Minor Group 632, chefs and cooks
  • Minor Group 633, butchers and bakers

For the Canadian Experience Class, you need at least one year of full-time work experience in Canada, in an NOC code that is Skill Type/Level 0, A or B.

4. The Come to Canada tool will refuse you if you indicate having less than the minimum amount required in settlement funds. The exception to this rule is having a job offer or being in Canada on a temporary work permit.

5. If you are a Federal Skilled Worker, you did not score a minimum of 67 our of 100 points on the selection factor points grid.

What can you do next?

If you are not eligible for Express Entry, think about steps you can take to improve your profile and meet minimum eligibility requirements. For example, many have to retake their language test and achieve a better score in order to meet eligibility requirements or achieve a higher CRS score.

Ielts magoosh
Ielts magoosh rectangle

It is also recommended that you review the requirements of other pathways that lead to Canadian permanent residence in case you have other options available to you.

Check your eligibility for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

There are a number of PNPs that are not linked to Express Entry that could provide you with a pathway (learn more in module 7).

You can review the eligibility criteria and contact each province or territory to apply for their PNP directly through their official websites:

Consider changing the principal applicant

Do you have a spouse or common-law partner? If you do, consider whether they would make a better principal applicant. Only one of you can be the principal applicant for your case.

Document all your work experience

Do you have any other work experience that you did not believe was “skilled enough”, but is in fact considered skilled according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system?

Final thoughts

Other than obtaining work experience in an 0, A, B occupation (which is recommended for the purposes of immigrating to Canada), there may be alternative options available to you:

  1. Come to Canada through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, which is skill type/level 0, A, B, or C), or
  2. You may be able to work in Canada for up to two years
  3. Consider a different pathway to Canada, such as studying as an international student