Two years after the Express Entry system was first introduced, the number of candidates being invited to apply to immigrate to Canada through the system continues to rise. The latest draw, which took place on January 11, was the first time the number of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) passed the 3,000 mark — indeed, it passed that threshold comfortably, with a total of 3,334 candidates having been invited this time around. Each of these candidates had at least 459 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points — the lowest requirement for nearly a year.
These candidates now have 90 days to submit a complete application, including supporting documents, to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). IRCC aims to process applications within six months. When an application is approved, the applicant, as well as accompanying family members, may land in Canada as new permanent residents.
The January 11 draw is the second to take place so far in 2017, which promises to be a big year in Express Entry. IRCC representatives have stated that the number of candidates invited to apply is expected to increase in order for the government’s 2017 economic immigration target levels to be reached. If the opening days and weeks of this year is anything to go by, it appears that the government is as good as its word on this front.
Moreover, IRCC has stated its intention to welcome more newcomers based on their human capital, skills, and experience. The clearest manifestation of this goal came with the recent improvements made to the CRS, which came into effect less than two months ago. The signature change in this revamp of the system was to reduce the number of points awarded for a qualifying job offer, from 600 down to 50 or 200, depending on the position offered. IRCC also began to award points to graduates of Canadian post-secondary educational institutions for the the first time.
Except for one draw (November 30, 2016) in which only candidates with a provincial nomination certificate were issued an ITA, Express Entry draws over recent months have continued to grow in size. Just five months ago, the number of ITAs issued per draw was in the 750–800 range. Now, draw sizes are more than four times larger.
Over this time, there has also been a decrease in the CRS point requirement, as shown in the graph below.
The government of Canada plans to welcome around 51,000 new immigrants through the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) in 2017, a seven percent increase on the target for last year. With Express Entry PNP categories opening and changing over time, it is more important than ever before for candidates to stay up to date on these immigration programs and be prepared to submit a PNP application at a moment’s notice.
It should also be noted that candidates who obtain an enhanced nomination certificate through a PNP category will continue to be awarded 600 points, even after the recent changes to the CRS. This makes PNPs by far the single most valuable factor under the system that has been in use since November 19, 2016.
As Attorney David Cohen noted in a webinar presentation last month, “the increased scope presented by the government in its 2017 immigration plan reflects a desire to increase immigration over the coming years, and Express Entry will be the main driver of economic immigration to Canada.
“Canada’s aging population and labour market needs mean that its citizens and residents recognize the need for a progressive immigration policy. The country has, by and large, had great success at bringing together people from across the world and creating thriving communities.”
The CRS Calculator has been updated to reflect the recent changes in Express Entry. This tool allows candidates in the Express Entry pool, as well as individuals thinking of creating an Express Entry profile, to find out what their score would be under the new points system.
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