Express Entry: Canada holds biggest PNP-only draw ever

Shelby Thevenot, Mohanad Moetaz
Published: June 9, 2021

Canada held a new Express Entry draw, inviting 940 candidates to apply for permanent residence on June 9.

All invited candidates had previously received a nomination from a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). This is why the score cutoff was relatively high at 711, because all PNP candidates in the Express Entry pool automatically get 600 points added to their score. Without the nomination, the lowest-scoring candidate would have had just 111 points.

As per administrative requirements, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) published a cutoff time for the tie-break rule, whether or not there was any actual tie. In the new draw, candidates who had the minimum score were only invited if they submitted their Express Entry profile before February 16, 2021 at 09:06:30 UTC.

In the previous PNP-only draw, Canada invited 500 candidates, and the score requirement was 713 points. This draw almost doubled the number of invites, and the cutoff score dipped two points.

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Pandemic still affecting Express Entry draws

Since the start of 2021, IRCC has only held Express Entry draws that target candidates who are likely already in Canada. This strategy is one part a function to meet Canada's immigration targets for the year, and another part to avoid coronavirus-related travel restrictions and other service closures that affect international candidates.

Canada has issued a greater number of invitations this year compared to the same time in 2020, thanks to the 27,332 principal applicants invited on February 13. Of these candidates, IRCC told CIC News in an email that about 87 per cent filled out applications within the 90-day timeline. So far in 2021, Canada has issued 75,713 invitations.

PNP candidates and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates are found in Canada in large numbers. This is because PNPs oftentimes require work experience or education from the nominating province, and CEC candidates must have at least one year of Canadian work experience.

PNP draws will always have much higher score requirements as a result of the 600-point award. CEC draws will have lower score cutoffs, due to large draw sizes in a relatively small pool of candidates.

How to get permanent residence through Express Entry?

The first step to immigrating to Canada through the Express Entry system is to see if you are eligible for one of the Federal High Skilled programs. Express Entry is not a program itself, it is the application manager for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class. Some Provincial Nominee Programs also invite candidates from the Express Entry pool, which gives candidates the opportunity to get bumped to the top of the pool — as we have seen in this draw.

Once you are in the pool, you can be eligible for more than one Express Entry-managed program. You will also get a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Points are based off of your work experience, education, language ability in English or French, age, and other factors. The point is to select immigration candidates who have a high probability of succeeding in Canada's labour market.

The highest-scoring candidates then receive Invitations to Apply (ITAs) through Express Entry rounds of invitation. With an ITA in hand, you now have the opportunity to apply for permanent residence to the federal government. Only IRCC can issue permanent residency visas.

Once you get your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), you can then use it to complete the landing process. After that, you are officially a Canadian permanent resident.

Who was invited?

The following is a hypothetical scenario of someone who may have been invited in the new draw.

Kianoush is 34 years old, holds a bachelor’s degree and has been working as a social services worker for six years. He wrote the IELTS and scored a 7.5 in listening and a 6.5 in every other ability. Kianoush has never worked or studied in Canada. He entered the Express Entry pool with a CRS score of 333. Kianoush was then invited to apply for provincial nomination, and his application was successful. With the provincial nomination, Kianoush’s CRS score increased to 933, which was high enough to obtain an ITA during the new Express Entry draw.

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