Express Entry CRS drops to 417 as IRCC invites 6,000 candidates

Shelby Thevenot, Mohanad Moetaz, Kareem El-Assal
Published: April 17, 2021

Canada held a new Express Entry draw, inviting candidates who had scores of at least 417 points on Friday April 16, 2021.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited 6,000 Canadian Experience Class candidates to apply for permanent residence in the new invitation round. IRCC issued 1,000 more invitations compared to the previous CEC-only draw and the score requirement was 15 points less than the last draw.

The draw was a rare Friday evening one, right before the weekend in Canada. Express Entry draws usually take place during the week to give immigration candidates and their representatives more time to prepare their permanent residence applications.

It was also the second-largest draw in Express Entry's history. The three largest draw sizes have all occured within the last few months as IRCC has increased draw sizes to compensate for the decline in immigration to Canada in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The previous record was 5,000 permanent residence invitations, before it was shattered when 27,332 candidates were invited on February 13.

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For today's draw, candidates who had the minimum score of 417 were only invited if they submitted their Express Entry profile before March 1, 2021 at 19:53:46 UTC, as per the tie-break rule. IRCC publishes the cut-off time for the tie-break rule as an administrative requirement, regardless of whether there was an actual tie.

"IRCC continues to work overtime in 2021," said David Cohen, Senior Attorney at Campbell Cohen. "This late-Friday draw shows just how committed they are to achieving their 401,000 newcomer target this year in support of Canada's economic growth."

A busy week in Canadian immigration

This week has been an eventful one in Canadian immigration. IRCC held an Express Entry draw Wednesday inviting 266 Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates to apply for permanent residence.

IRCC made the biggest announcement of the week on the same day, and the biggest announcement in quite some time. IRCC introduced six new permanent residence streams that will launch in May. The purpose of the new streams is to provide some 90,000 additional permanent residence spots to temporary residents already in Canada. These include temporary foreign workers in essential occupations in Canada, recent international graduates, and francophones. These streams, in combination with Express Entry draws, and other initiatives such as the PNP are aimed at helping Canada to achieve its 401,000 immigration target in 2021 despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The PNP has also been active this week with BC, Alberta, Ontario, and PEI each holding draws.

Express Entry draws in 2021

Canada has now invited 55,390 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence so far in 2021, nearly double what it was at the same time last year. This is largely because on February 13, IRCC sent 27,332 invitations, one for every eligible CEC candidate in the pool.

Canada is ramping up its Express Entry intake in order to meet its 2021 immigration targets. Last fall, the federal government committed to welcome 401,000 newcomers this year, and about a quarter of these would come through the Express Entry system.

Since the start of 2021, Canada has held 13 draws. All of them have either targeted CEC candidates or PNP candidates.

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PNP-specific draws require a higher score cut off because of the 600-point award that comes with a provincial nomination. CEC-only draws tend to have lower minimum score requirements because they are not competing with candidates of other classes, so more top-scoring candidates can be invited in a given invitation round.

IRCC has stated it is prioritizing candidates who are already in Canada for the time being while Canada's COVID-19 border restrictions remain in effect. The immigration department provided CIC News a snapshot of the Express Entry pool on April 7. About 95 per cent of CEC candidates were already in Canada, the largest proportion of any Express Entry-managed program. There were more than 21,000 CEC-eligible candidates in the pool.

All PNP candidates are eligible for at least one other Express Entry-managed program, as it is possible to qualify for immigration through more than one Federal High Skilled program. These candidates have demonstrated to a province or territory that they have the connections and experience to succeed in the labour market that nominated them. PNP had the smallest number of candidates in the pool at 104, but about 69 per cent of them were in Canada.

Although there were more than 141,000 Federal Skilled Worker candidates in the pool, about 95 per cent of them were outside of Canada. Almost 55 per cent of Federal Skilled Trades candidates were in Canada, out of a total of 669 candidates.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an application management system for three federal immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.

If you want to immigrate to Canada through an Express Entry-managed program, the first step is to check to see if you are eligible. If so, you get a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on your work experience, education, age, and official language ability, among other factors.

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IRCC then issues Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to candidates through regular rounds of invitation.

Most provinces and territories have a PNP that is aligned with the Express Entry system, Quebec and Nunavut are the only exceptions. Provincial governments may invite certain Express Entry candidates to apply for a provincial nomination based on their profile. In some cases, candidates need to file an Expression of Interest with the province that they want to immigrate to. Receiving a provincial nomination improves your ranking in the Express Entry pool. Provincial nominees automatically receive 600 CRS points, and they are effectively guaranteed to receive an ITA.

Who was invited?

The following is a hypothetical example of someone who may have been invited in the new invitation round.

Sehar is 38, holds a bachelors degree and has been working as a management consultant outside of Canada for six years. She has an advanced English language proficiency and worked in Canada for a year. Sehar's CRS score of 445 as well as her eligibility under the CEC would have allowed her to receive an ITA in the new Express Entry draw.

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© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit to discover your Canadian immigration options.

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