A busy month in Canadian immigration news was completed on the evening of February 27, when Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) issued 1,187 invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence to candidates in the Express Entry pool with 735 or more Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points.
This, the fourth Express Entry draw, followed just one week after the third draw, which took place on February 20 and selected 849 candidates eligible under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) with at least 808 CRS points. Apart from the third draw, draws from the Express Entry pool have selected candidates eligible for any of the federal economic immigration programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), as well as the CEC.
The overall trend across the early stages of the Express Entry immigration selection system remains positive for candidates who have not yet received an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Each successive draw has seen the number of invitations to apply issued remain stable or increase, while the minimum CRS points required by candidates in order to receive such an invitation has decreased on each occasion. The sharpest decrease occurred between the third and fourth Express Entry draws, with the minimum CRS points required moving from 808 to 735 points — a decrease of 73 points.
Moreover, three draws took place in the month of February, showing an increase in the number of draws made from the Express Entry pool compared to the previous month.
Due to the fact that the minimum number of CRS points required across the four Express Entry draws that have taken place so far is 735, it follows that every candidate who has received an invitation to apply has obtained either a qualifying job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment from a Canadian employer or anomination from a Canadian province.
Explaining the numbers
According to the Canadian government’s Immigration Plan for 2015, between 169,000 and 185,200 new economic immigrants will be coming to Canada this year. A large number of them will be selected through the Express Entry system; consequently, the government will need to increase the frequency of Express draws and/or the number of invitations to apply issued if it is to achieve the 2015 immigration targets. Even with recent the increase in invitations to apply issued, only 3,494 have been issued through the end of February. It is also important to bear in mind that not every person who receives an invitation to apply will be immigrating alone, and that not every recipient of an invitation to apply necessarily ends up making an application for permanent residence.
While it may seem peculiar to some that a candidate with only 135 points (taking away his or her additional points for a qualifying job offer or provincial nomination) may be eligible for a federal economic immigration program and receive an invitation to apply, such a case is entirely possible. A candidate without an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), for example, may be eligible to enter the pool under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as CEC does not require candidates to have their level of education assessed. Once in the Express Entry pool, the same candidate would obtain no points under the CRS for his or her education. The CEC also has different language requirements, depending on which skilled occupation a candidate has worked in. Furthermore, such candidates may have been awarded few, if any, points for their age.
There may be a number of CEC candidates who could enter the Express Entry pool with a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5 or 6 and no Educational Credential Assessment, as well as potentially being of an age that is not awarded many CRS points. Despite this, such candidates may be eligible to enter the Express Entry pool under the CEC and, with a job offer or provincial nomination, be awarded 600 CRS points and subsequently receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
“While the overall early trend across the four Express Entry draws that have taken place so far gives real hope to candidates who have not yet been selected from the pool, it should be remembered that everyone who has been selected so far had either a job offer or a provincial nomination. Though the general trend so far look good for candidates with CRS scores below 600, it remains to be seen if or when CIC will begin to issue invitations to apply to this group. They may also benefit when the government’s job matching software, which has experienced launch delays, comes into operation, as this will allow Canadian employers to view profiles and identify certain candidates for selection,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“In the meantime, candidates with, say, 400 points can either sit, waiting and hoping for an invitation or for the government’s Express Entry job matching software to come into operation . . . or they can be proactive and increase their exposure to Canadian employers and provinces. They can network, learn more about their industry, and apply to open job positions. At the same time, they can learn more about the Provincial Nominee Programs that are being unveiled and modified all the time. Being passive in the pool may work for some candidates, but being proactive is more likely to maximize candidates’ chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence and successfully immigrating to Canada.”
To find out if you are eligible for any of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, including the federal economic programs that will be conducted under Express Entry, please fill out a free online assessment today.