Canada invited 5,000 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence on March 18.
Invited candidates needed to be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and have a score of at least 449 in order to receive an Invitation to Apply. Some of the basic eligibility requirements for the CEC include one year of full-time skilled work experience in Canada, and intermediate official language skills among other criteria.
This new CEC-only draw shows that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is continuing to prioritize in-Canada immigration applicants, while travel restrictions are still in place. About 77 per cent of Express Entry candidates in Canada are eligible for the CEC, according to IRCC data from March 8.
“While travel restrictions are still in place, the federal government has opted to focus on Express Entry candidates who are already in Canada in order to meet its immigration targets for 2021,” said Attorney David Cohen, Senior Partner of Campbell Cohen. “IRCC has been doing this by holding PNP- and CEC-specific draws.”
The previous Express Entry draw on March 17 targeted Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates, another group that is likely to have strong ties to Canada. PNP-only candidates have demonstrated to the province that nominated them that they have the necessary skills to support the regional labour market. These candidates have higher CRS scores because receiving a PNP automatically grants Express Entry candidates an additional 600 points.
This is the first CEC-only draw since February 13, when IRCC invited every single CEC-eligible candidate from the Express Entry pool, a total of 27,332 immigration candidates.
Because of this record-smashing draw, the number of ITAs issued in 2021 is already 43,840. At this time last year, IRCC had issued 19,368.
To make up for a lack of new permanent residents admitted in 2020, Canada has committed to bring in 401,000 new immigrants in 2021. Of those, 108,500 are expected to come through Express Entry-managed programs.
Express Entry is not an immigration program itself, but an application management system for the three programs under the Federal High Skilled category: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.
In order to get into the Express Entry pool of candidates, skilled workers need to be eligible for one of these programs. If so, they will get a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which awards points for a candidate’s age, education, work experience, language proficiency in English or French, as well as other factors.
IRCC then invites the highest-scoring candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Here is a hypothetical scenario of someone who may have been invited in the new Express Entry draw.
Yen is 32 and completed her bachelor’s degree in Canada. She wrote the IELTS and got an 8 in listening and reading and a 7.5 in speaking and writing. She graduated in early 2020 and has since been working in Canada as a sales manager. She is married to Philip, who is currently living outside of Canada. He holds a bachelor’s degree and also has an advanced English language proficiency. They entered the pool with Yen as the principal applicant. Their CRS score of 453 would have been high enough to obtain an ITA in the March 18 Express Entry draw.
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