Canada invites Express Entry trades candidates with scores as low as 332

Stephen Smith, Noah Turner
Published: May 15, 2019

The Government of Canada invited 500 Federal Skilled Trades Class candidates with Comprehensive Ranking Scores as low as 332 to apply for Canadian permanent residence in a new Express Entry draw held May 15. 

The program-specific draw was the first since September 24, 2018, to target candidates in the Federal Skilled Trades Class, which is open to foreign nationals with a certificate of qualification that proves they are qualified to work in a skilled trade occupation in Canada OR an eligible offer of employment in Canada.

Skilled work experience eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Class falls under the following categories of Canada's National Occupational Classification (NOC):

  • Major Group 72: Industrial, electrical and construction trades
  • Major Group 73: Maintenance and equipment operation trades
  • Major Group 82: Supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production
  • Major Group 92: Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators
  • Minor Group 632: Chefs and cooks
  • Minor Group 633: Butchers and bakers

The Federal Skilled Trades Class is one of three economic-class immigration programs managed by the Express Entry system, with the other two being the Federal Skilled Worker Class and the Canadian Experience Class.

Eligible candidates are given a score under Express Entry's Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) that is based on factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French and are entered into the Express Entry pool.

Candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Class and Canadian Experience Class with experience in an eligible trade would have been considered in today's draw if they declared their skilled trade experience and possess the required certificate of qualification OR offer of employment.

Find out if you are eligible to enter the Express Entry pool

Unlike all-program invitation rounds, which draw from the entire Express Entry pool and tend to result in higher cut-off scores, niche draws for a specific cohort can produce lower cut-off scores given they target a smaller pool of candidates.

Today's cut-off score of 332 was 106 points lower than the lowest cut-off score this year in an all-program Express Entry draw, which was 438.

The tie-break used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in the May 15 draw was August 29, 2018, at 8:32:03 UTC. This means that all Federal Skilled Trades Class candidates with a CRS score above 332, as well as those with scores of 332 who entered their profile in the Express Entry pool before this date and time, received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence.

With higher admission targets for Express Entry in 2019 and 2020, today's relatively small draw of 500 candidates may be followed by bigger all program draws in the future.

Niche draws are common among Canada's provincial nominee programs in order to address labour market needs. A number of these have resulted in invitations being issued to Express Entry candidates with lower CRS scores.

The province of Alberta, for example, has issued invitations to select Express Entry candidates with CRS scores as low as 300 on three occasions this year.

The Atlantic Province of Nova Scotia has also issued targeted invitations through its Labour Market Priorities Stream to Express Entry candidates with work experience as accountants and financial auditors. The minimum CRS score required in this draw was 400.

Ontario has also used its Human Capital Priorities Stream to target Express Entry candidates with specific credentials and on two occasions last year dropped its CRS requirement to 350.

There are also many Express Entry aligned PNP streams that do not consider a candidate's federal CRS score as part of their eligibility requirements. For example, Saskatchewan and Manitoba each have their own occupation lists and pools of candidates and use their own unique ranking systems.

Here is a hypothetical example of a candidate who would have been invited in today's program-specific draw:

Amit is 35, has a bachelor’s degree, and a high intermediate English language proficiency. He has been working as a welder overseas for six years. He entered the Express Entry pool as a Federal Skilled Worker with a CRS score of 327. Amit took steps to improve his CRS score and eligibility as a Federal Skilled Trade by obtaining certification in the Canadian province of Alberta. Amit re-entered the pool as a Federal Skilled Trade with a CRS score of 377 and was issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence during the May 15 Express Entry draw.

"Today's draw is a good reminder of the value of having your skilled trades qualifications certified if you have the required experience," said David Cohen, senior partner with the Campbell, Cohen Canadian immigration law firm in Montreal.

"It's also a good reminder of how innovation can happen at any time at the federal or provincial levels and open doors you may not be expecting."

Find out if you are eligible to enter the Express Entry pool

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