The Government of Canada is aiming to admit more than a million new permanent residents by the end of 2021— and the past three months have been a productive quarter.
Express Entry is Canada’s most popular immigration selection system and is the country’s largest driver of economic immigrants.
There were 21,600 Express Entry candidates invited during the third quarter, making the period from July 1 to September 30 the busiest quarter so far this year. There were 21,200 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence sent out in the first quarter and 20,600 in the second.
With higher admission targets for 2019 and again in 2020, there were big expectations for 2019, which is issuing invitations at a record pace.
The Express Entry system allows eligible candidates to pursue Canadian permanent residence.
A Canadian job offer is not required in order to submit an Express Entry profile but candidates must be eligible under one of three economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class or the Canadian Experience Class.
Candidates submit profiles into the Express Entry pool where they are ranked according to a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and the highest-ranked candidates are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence. Factors that affect a candidate’s ranking include age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.
Express Entry candidates with an ITA receive expedited processing. Applications for Canadian permanent residence can be processed in six months.
ITAs are issued to a set number of the highest-ranked candidates in the Express Entry pool through regular draws, which are generally held every two weeks.
Canada’s provinces and territories can also select Express Entry candidates to apply for provincial nomination.
After being nominated by a province, candidates obtain an additional 600 CRS points and are prioritized for an ITA for permanent residence.
Draw sizes increase
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) kicked off the third quarter of 2019 by raising the number of ITAs issued per draw, from 3,350 to 3,600 in the July 10 invitation round.
This approach of incremental changes to the size of draws conducted through Express Entry every few months was introduced by IRCC last year and has continued this year.
All six invitation rounds held between July and the end of September issued 3,600 ITAs each. The third-quarter total of 21,600 brought the number of ITAs issued so far this year to 63,400.
This increase kept IRCC 900 ITAs ahead of the first three quarters of 2018, a year that ended with the current invitation record of 89,800.
IRCC reached this milestone by increasing the number of ITAs issued to 3,900 throughout the final quarter of 2018.
A new record remains possible this year given the Government of Canada’s higher 2019 and 2020 admissions targets for the three federal high-skilled immigration programs and Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program, which is also partially managed by Express Entry.
Larger or more frequent draws in the new quarter could have the effect of decreasing the CRS cut-off score, which has spent much of 2019 ranging between 450 and 470.
The range of CRS cut-off scores in the third quarter did not stray from this trend, varying from a low of 457 to a high of 466.
Four of the six draws in the third quarter were held at two-week intervals, which had the effect of slightly lowering the CRS score on three occasions.
Two draws saw greater variation in their cut-off scores because of the amount of time that was allowed to elapse between them.
In the case of the August 12 draw, 19 days passed before it was held and the CRS cut-off rose to 466 as a result, up from 459 in the previous draw.
The following draw was held only eight days later, on August 20, and the CRS cut-off dropped nine points to 457.
The cut-off score then increased to 463 in the next draw on September 4, a result of the 15 days that elapsed.
Candidates with scores below the cut-off threshold can improve their chances of getting an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence through the Provincial Nominee Program. Numerous Express Entry-linked provincial nomination streams were active in the third quarter and there were several key developments that could benefit Express Entry candidates with specific work experience.
Information on these developments can be found here.
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