Canada’s Express Entry immigration selection system continues to grow apace, with the latest draw, which took place on February 8, having the lowest Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) point requirement of all time. Candidates with 447 or more CRS points received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Moreover, this was the largest draw of all time; a total of 3,664 ITAs were issued.
This draw was also the first ever draw in which candidates with CRS scores below 450 were issued an ITA. The 450-point threshold was seen by many stakeholders as an important one, as this was previously the lowest threshold of any draw since Express Entry was first launched more than two years ago.
The latest trends in Express Entry, however, show that the CRS requirement may continue to decrease in future draws. While there is no way of predicting exactly how futures draws may look, representatives from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) have stated that ‘It can be expected that in general the low score for rounds will decline.’
Indeed, this prediction ties in with improvements that were made to the Express Entry system last November. Among the changes made at that time was a reduction in the number of CRS points awarded for a qualifying job offer, from 600 points down to 50 or 200 points, depending on the position offered.
IRCC predicted that, as a result, ‘A reduction of points to candidates with arranged employment means the CRS cut-off will decline,’ adding that that it wanted to ‘balance the Comprehensive Ranking System to put greater weight on human capital, skills and experience.’
Those changes, though significant, are not the only contributing factor to the decrease in the CRS requirement over recent weeks and months. The fact that the latest draw is nearly five times larger than draws that took place over the summer months of 2016 has also had a major impact on the decreasing CRS score over recent draws.
The variety of candidate profiles being selected for an ITA increases as the CRS requirement goes down. The following scenarios represent a range of hypothetical profiles, and are not real Express Entry candidates.
Martina is fluent in English, and has completed two post-secondary credentials, one of which was a Bachelor’s Degree. She is 34 years old and has completed four years of work outside Canada. She doesn’t have a job offer in Canada, nor does she have a provincial nomination, but her profile is worth 447 CRS points, enough to get an ITA in the latest draw.
Riyad is 30, has a Bachelor’s Degree obtained outside Canada, and advanced English ability. He also has adequate-intermediate French ability, equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7. He has never been to Canada, but has accrued three years of skilled work experience outside the country. His 448 points were enough for him to get an ITA in the latest draw.
Like Riyad above, 33 year-old Anna has also never been to Canada and is also single. However, she is educated up to Master’s Degree level. This level of education not only gives her extra points within the core human capital factors; it also triggers a bounty of additional points within the combination (skills transferability) factors, when combined with her initial advanced language ability and three years of foreign work experience. Overall, this was enough for her to be awarded 447 CRS points.
40 year-old Thomas was eligible to enter the Express Entry pool under the Federal Skilled Worker Class. He has a Bachelor’s Degree obtained outside Canada, as well as another post-secondary diploma. He has initial advanced language ability, six years of foreign work experience, and plans on immigrating to Canada with his spouse, who also has initial advanced language ability. The spouse did not study beyond post-secondary level. Thomas entered the pool with 402 points, but quickly worked hard to reach potential employers in Canada. Ultimately, he was able to obtain a qualifying job offer and 50 additional CRS points, bringing his CRS score to 452.
“What we are beginning to see more and more over recent draws is that candidates who had not received a large number of points in one or two areas — for example, an account of their age, language ability, or having never worked or studied Canada — are being invited to apply, whereas previously this may not necessarily have been the case,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“Not only are more candidates being invited, but there is now a greater variety in the types of candidates who have one foot in Canada. Moreover, the latest trends offer a great deal of hope to those who have not yet been invited. Indeed, such candidates have as much incentive as ever to strive to improve their score, perhaps even more so than ever before.”
Candidates in the Express Entry pool, as well as individuals thinking of creating an Express Entry profile, can use the new and improved CRS Calculator to find out what their score would be under the new points system.
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