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Express Entry CRS Requirement Falls to New Record Low

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Another 3,611 candidates for immigration to Canada and their accompanying family members are well on their way to Canada following the latest Express Entry draw, which took place on February 22. The number of Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points required in order for candidates to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) was 441, marking a new record.

This point threshold means that a greater variety of candidates may now submit an application for Canadian permanent residence. The new record low means that it is possible for a candidate educated up to Bachelor’s Degree level only, who has no Canadian work or study experience, as well as no additional points for a provincial nomination or a job offer, to obtain an ITA, if he or she is only evaluated for one language.

The following scenario shows how this is possible.

Take Sean, a 29-year-old single candidate with advanced English ability. He is educated up to Bachelor’s Degree level, with no other post-secondary education credential. He has completed three years of skilled work abroad, and has never worked or studied in Canada. He doesn’t have a job offer or a provincial nomination, but his other factors mean that he is awarded 441 CRS points, enough for him to obtain an ITA in the latest draw.

Other hypothetical scenarios reveal other ways in which a variety of candidates receive an ITA.

Like Sean, Catherine is also 29 years old with advanced English ability, a Bachelor’s Degree, and three years of skilled work experience abroad. She has also never worked or studied in Canada. However, she has an accompanying spouse who has advanced English ability and is also educated at a Bachelor’s level. These factors give her 443 CRS points.

Carlos is a 40-year old single candidate with two post-secondary education credentials, one of which is a Bachelor’s Degree obtained in his home country. He has initial advanced language ability, and worked a skilled job abroad for five years before coming to Canada on a work permit, where he completed another year of work. He doesn’t have a provincial nomination or a job offer, but his 442 CRS points were enough for him to obtain an ITA.

Marine is 49 years old and has never worked or studied in Canada. She is single, has advanced English and initial advanced French ability, and has worked in a skilled position for more than six years. Prior to that, she obtained a Master’s Degree. After entering the Express Entry pool with 395 points, she networked using the contacts she had made before eventually landing a qualifying job offer in Canada in a non-senior management position. This factor gave her a 50-point boost, enough for her to be invited to apply with 445 CRS points.

Even with adequate intermediate language ability, equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7, it is possible to obtain an ITA. Take, for example, a single individual who is 31 years old with adequate intermediate language ability in one language. This person has a Master’s Degree, three years of foreign work experience, and one year of work experience in Canada. Even without additional points for a provincial nomination, a job offer, or Canadian study experience, this candidate would have 442 CRS points.

Even though these are hypothetical scenarios, it is candidates like these who are now in a position to immigrate to Canada as landed permanent residents well before the end of 2017. Although some invited candidates may have entered the pool over recent weeks and months, others may have initially entered the pool long before the CRS requirement began to decrease substantially through the fall and winter months.


The significant decrease in the CRS threshold over recent months has come in the wake of improvements to the Express Entry system that came into effect on November 19, 2016. Among other changes, the number of points awarded for a qualifying job offer was reduced from 600 to either 50 or 200 points, depending on the position offered. As a result, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) predicted that ‘A reduction of points to candidates with arranged employment means the CRS cut-off will decline.’

Based on recent draws, it would seem that IRCC’s predictions are coming true.

The fact that the number of ITAs being issued has increased over recent draws, as shown below, is another contributing factor to the decrease in the CRS requirement.


Other recent Express Entry news

Canada’s provinces have been active since mid-February with respect to their Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams.

First, Saskatchewan opened its International Skilled Worker – Express Entry sub-category for 500 new applications on February 14. It was no surprise when the intake quota was filled within a day, showing again that this first-come, first-served sub-category is one that requires preparation on the part of potential applications.

On February 17, British Columbia invited a total of 190 eligible skilled workers and graduates in the Express Entry pool to submit an application to the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). These candidates had first created an Express Entry profile before then indicating their interest in immigrating to BC by registering in the province’s unique Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS).

Then on February 21, Ontario reopened its popular Express Entry-aligned Human Capital Priorities stream. This passive stream allows the province of Ontario to scour the Express Entry pool for eligible potential applicants. Among other eligibility criteria, candidates must have at least 400 CRS points.

“It has been a busy couple of weeks in Express Entry, both at the federal and provincial levels,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“Not only has the CRS point requirement come down yet again — and who knows, it may come down even further — but the provinces have shown again and again that they are eager to recruit newcomers. The starting point for any potential candidate, however, is to create an Express Entry profile.”

The CRS Calculator

Use the CRS Calculator to find out what your score would be under the Comprehensive Ranking System.

To find out if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada permanently, fill out a free online assessment form.

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