The lowest ever Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) point requirement has been reached in the latest draw in Canada’s Express Entry immigration selection system. Candidates with 423 or more CRS points were issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) following the draw that took place the evening of April 12, marking the fifth time so far this year in which a new record low has been reached.
The previous record low threshold was 431, in a draw that took place last week on April 5.
With a total of 3,923 candidates invited this time around, this draw also marks another new record for the most ITAs issued in any single draw.
Over the first three months, or quarter, of 2017, a total of 24,632 ITAs were issued, far surpassing any other three-month period in the history of Express Entry, which was first launched in January, 2015. Early April has followed in the same vein, with two back-to-back draws in consecutive weeks allowing a total of 7,676 ITAs to be issued, meaning that 32,308 ITAs have been issued so far this year.
In that time, the CRS requirement has decreased from 468 to 423. As recently as last December, just four months ago, the requirement was 497.
All of this means that a greater diversity of candidates are in position to submit an e-application for Canadian permanent residence. The following hypothetical scenarios are cases in point.
Steve is 30 years old and has been working as an IT manager for three years. He has a Bachelor’s degree and initial advanced proficiency in English. Steve has not been to Canada, but his CRS of 424 was enough to obtain an ITA in the April 12 draw.
Sylvie is 37 and came to Canada to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. After graduating, she went back to her home country to work. She has an advanced proficiency in English in speaking and listening, and an initial advanced proficiency in reading and writing. Her husband, Paul, also has a Bachelor’s degree and an initial advanced English language proficiency in speaking and listening, and a high intermediate proficiency in reading and writing. Their score of 423 CRS points meant that they were in line to receive an ITA in the latest draw.
Anne Marie is 31 years old and has been working as a restaurant manager for three years. She has a Bachelor’s degree and speaks English well. She wrote her IELTS exam, and got an 8 in each language ability. Although Anne Marie has never been to Canada, her CRS score would be 427, high enough to receive an ITA in the latest draw.
Shaun is 39 years old and has been working as a university professor for six years. He has an advanced English language proficiency and a Master’s degree. His CRS score of 426 would have been enough to secure an ITA this time around.
Common-law partners Mickael and Sophie both have Bachelor’s degrees and have an initial advanced proficiency in English. They work together as software engineers, and each has three years of experience. They have visited Canada several times, but have never studied or worked in Canada. Even though they are both eligible to enter the pool as federal skilled workers, Sophie is one year older than Mickael; Sophie is 31 and Mickael is 30. As a result, they entered the pool with Mickael as the principal applicant. Their score of 426 CRS points was sufficient to receive an ITA in the latest draw.
Selma is 29 and came to Canada as an international student. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in British Columbia and has been working for two years on post-graduation work permit. She has an intermediate English language proficiency in listening, reading and writing, and a high intermediate proficiency in speaking. Selma’s score of 425 CRS points would have been enough to obtain an ITA.
The latest trends in Express Entry follow a remarkable few months in the history of the system. Not only has Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) ramped up the number of ITAs issued — a major contributing factor in the corresponding decrease in the CRS requirement — but the current period comes between two sets of improvements made to the CRS.
The first set of improvements came last November, when IRCC determined that the number of CRS points awarded for a qualifying job offer would be changed from 600 points to either 50 or 200, depending on the position offered (note: a job offer is not required to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry). Around that time, IRCC stated that ‘a reduction of points to candidates with arranged employment means the CRS cut-off will decline,’ with a further aim to ‘balance the Comprehensive Ranking System to put greater weight on human capital, skills and experience.’
Therefore, IRCC predicted that this first set of changes would have a significant effect on the make-up of the pool. Over time, we have seen that this has been the case.
The next set of improvements, which have already been announced, are due to be implemented on June 6. There will be three changes. First, additional points will be allocated to candidates with a sibling in Canada. Second, candidates with French ability may be awarded additional points. And lastly, registration in the Canada Job Bank will become voluntary. These changes are not expected to alter the make-up of the CRS as significantly as the first set of changes introduced last November.
“Candidates in the pool, as well as individuals thinking of creating an Express Entry profile, should be hearing IRCC’s message loud and clear — 2017 is a breakout year for the system, and this could be the year to set in motion a plan to realize your Canadian immigration goals,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“IRCC expects to process applications within six months, and in the vast majority of cases we have seen that this goal is being met. Consequently, many invited candidates and their families could be living and working in Canada before the end of the year. The first step, however, is to enter the pool with an updated and accurate profile, before gathering supporting documentation and taking steps to improve one’s CRS score, thereby increasing the chances of receiving that all-important Invitation to Apply.”
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