Express Entry: CRS drops in latest draw

Alexandra Miekus, Shelby Thevenot, Kareem El-Assal
Published: December 23, 2020

The minimum Express Entry cutoff score dipped slightly from the previous two rounds on December 23.

Canada invited 5,000 immigration candidates with a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of at least 468.

The new CRS requirement is just slightly lower than the previous draw on December 9, when candidates needed a minimum score of 469.

This draw brings the number of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) issued this year to 107,350, a record-high number of invitations.

Today's draw was the fourth consecutive invitation round to issue 5,000 ITAs for Canadian permanent residence. There was a consistent increase in the number of ITAs issued in all-program Express Entry draws since September 2.

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In the early months of the coronavirus pandemic and amidst the most stringent travel restrictions, IRCC only conducted program-specific draws. Since then, and despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has taken steps to facilitate immigration processes for most of its programs and to ensure the continued selection of skilled workers for permanent residence.

Express Entry is Canada’s immigration application management system for three federal economic-class programs: Federal Skilled Worker ProgramFederal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class.

Candidates in these programs, as well as some Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), are given a score based on the CRS. Points are awarded depending on a candidate's human capital factors such as age, education, work experience, and language ability in English or French.

The highest-scoring candidates receive an ITA, which they can then use to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

In case of a tie between candidates, IRCC applies the tie-breaking rule. Candidates who had a CRS score of 468 or more in this draw needed to have submitted their Express Entry profile before June 4, 2020 at 13:39:44 UTC in order to receive an invitation.

Today’s draw continued a trend that has seen the cut-off CRS score decrease in each of the last four draws. This trend may be explained in part by the regular, two-week interval between draws that IRCC has maintained since September and the high number of ITAs that are being issued in recent draws.

With Canada’s recently announced high admission targets for the three programs managed by Express Entry and its Provincial Nominee Program, which is also partially managed by the Express Entry system, Canada has issued a record number of ITAs in recent draws. This year is the first since Express Entry's launch in 2015 where the number of ITAs has exceeded 100,000.

A number of Express Entry-linked provincial nominee streams have been active in recent weeks.

Provinces like Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have all held Express Entry-linked provincial draws over the past four weeks.

Express Entry candidates who receive a provincial nomination are awarded an additional 600 points toward their CRS score and move to the front of the line for an ITA.

These 600 points are especially valuable to candidates with lower CRS scores who have yet to make the cut-off in a federal Express Entry draw.

Who is invited?

The following are hypothetical examples of people who may have been invited in today's Express Entry draw.

Frederick is 29, holds a bachelor’s degree and has been working as a graphic designer for three years. He has advanced French language proficiency. While Frederick has never worked or studied in Canada, he has a brother who is a Canadian permanent resident living in Toronto. Frederick's CRS score of 471 would have been high enough to obtain an ITA in the December 23 Express Entry draw.

Arya is a 29-year-old with a master’s degree. She wrote the IELTS and scored an 8 in listening, a 7.5 in speaking and a 7 in reading and writing. Arya has been working as a management consultant for four years. While she has never worked or studied in Canada, her CRS of 472 would have been high enough to obtain an ITA during the December 23 Express Entry draw.

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