A positive end to 2016 for Express Entry candidates for immigration to Canada has carried into 2017, with larger draws and a consistent decline in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) requirement providing much cause for optimism.
To many observers — including individuals who have created an Express Entry profile — the pivotal moment in the history of this system was the introduction of improvements just two months ago, on November 19, 2016. Since those changes came into force, each draw has been progressively larger. Now, combined with the effects of the changes that came into force, more individuals and families are seeing Express Entry as their route to Canada.
The latest installment in this timeline was a draw that took place on January 11, in which 3,334 candidates with at least 459 CRS points received an Invitation to Apply (ITA). It is the first time in almost a year that the CRS requirement has dipped below the 460 mark — and it is possible that the requirement will continue to go down over the coming months.
Broadly speaking, there are two main contributing factors to the recent decrease in the CRS requirement. First, the number of ITAs issued has gone up considerably. Indeed, more ITAs were issued in the first two weeks of January than in the whole of any month since Express Entry was first introduced two years ago.
Second, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) predicted that the improvements made to the system last November would allow more candidates to be invited to apply based on their human capital, skills, and experience. For instance, there are now far fewer points available for a qualifying job offer; in most cases, candidates with a job offer receive 50 points (though 200 points are available for certain senior managerial positions) — down from 600 points before the changes were introduced.
It appears that these changes have given more candidates a stronger chance of receiving an ITA.
A few months ago, IRCC provided a snapshot of the Express Entry pool as it looked on October 3, 2016. At that time, there were 60,689 candidates active in the pool, and a total of 20,588 ITAs had been issued to 19,088 individual candidates over the first 20 draws of 2016. Consequently, around one in every four candidates who was actively engaged in the Express Entry system over the first nine months of 2016 received an ITA.
Much has happened since that snapshot. Draw sizes have increased significantly, which has the effect of increasing the flow of candidates leaving the pool. Unless the flow of candidates entering the pool has also increased at a similar rate, it is possible that more individuals are exiting the pool (as applicants for Canadian permanent residence) than entering it as candidates. If this trend is indeed taking place and continues, it would continue to place downward pressure on the CRS requirement in future Express Entry draws.
(The following scenarios are hypothetical and do not represent real people who have received an ITA.)
Irena, 32 years old, has a Master’s Degree and three years of skilled work experience, both obtained outside Canada. She also has advanced English ability. Her spouse has a Bachelor Degree and adequate-intermediate language ability. Without a qualifying job offer or a provincial nomination, Irena and her spouse are now in a position to submit an application for permanent residence, as her CRS score was 459.
39 year-old Adewale has worked full-time for the past four years as a biological technician. Upon entering the pool, he noticed that his occupation was on the list of skilled eligible occupations for the International Skilled Worker – Express Entry sub-category stream of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP). As such, he made an application under this SINP sub-category. Having entered the pool earlier this year with a bachelor’s degree and high-intermediate English ability, he was awarded 305 CRS points. The nomination certificate from Saskatchewan boosted his score to 905, resulting in him receiving an ITA.
Deepak, 25 years old, is a former international student in Canada. He graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor degree in Computer Science and found a job in Canada as a Web Developer, where he has completed one year of work. He achieved a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 9 in his CELPIP test, before entering the Express Entry pool in October, 2016, with a CRS score of 432 points. He was expecting to have to wait until he obtained more Canadian work experience. However, with the introduction of additional points for Canadian educational credentials, he obtained an additional 30 points for his degree obtained in Canada. With a score of 462, he obtained an ITA in the most recent draw.
“With all the recent excitement about the draws and the changes introduced, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the government is targeting more newcomers through Express Entry in 2017 than last year’s target. The government has gone on record stating that more people will land in Canada as permanent residents through this system than ever before. It will be the main driver of economic immigration to Canada,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“No matter where an individual is in the process — whether he or she is in the pool, or hasn’t yet created a profile, or has received an ITA — it is crucial to make the most of the opportunity provided by this system. It is important to get it right, to not make errors or misrepresent, and to make the process as straightforward as possible. Peace of mind is an invaluable thing.”
Candidates in the Express Entry pool, as well as individuals thinking of creating an Express Entry profile, can use the CRS Calculator to find out what their score would be under the new points system.
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