Express Entry: Canada holds third PNP draw in a row

Shelby Thevenot, Alexandra Miekus
Published: October 13, 2021

On October 13, Canada held another Express Entry draw for candidates who had provincial nominations to apply for permanent residence.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued 681 invitations to candidates who had scores of at least 720. All invited candidates had received an automatic 600 points by virtue of holding a nomination from a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Without the nomination, the lowest-scoring candidates would only have scores of 120.

In the previous PNP draw, IRCC invited 761 candidates with scores of at least 742. This draw is smaller than the previous draw, with a lower CRS requirement, suggesting there were fewer PNP candidates with higher scores in the pool.

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No all-program draw starting into Q4

Throughout the year, IRCC has been holding bi-weekly Express Entry draws, inviting only PNP and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada implemented travel restrictions, which impeded outland immigrants from completing their permanent residency landing. As part of a commitment to the provincial and territorial immigration strategies, IRCC continued holding PNP draws even though these candidates are not necessarily in the country. CEC candidates are most likely already in Canada, since they need to have at least one year of Canadian work experience in a skilled occupation.

It has been an unprecedented year for the Express Entry system. By this point last year, IRCC had started holding all-program draws, which included Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) candidates. IRCC has not held an all-program Express Entry draw since December 2020.

That being said, IRCC has issued a record number of invitations to PNP and CEC candidates this year. Last year had been a record-breaking year for Express Entry, when IRCC issued a total of 107,350. This year, the total number of Express Entry invitations is already at 110,377 with three months left to go.

The number of ITAs were driven up on February 13, when IRCC invited every single Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidate in the pool.

The minimum scores have been going up and down depending on whether the draw was specific to the CEC or PNP. Minimum scores are partially determined by how many candidates are in the pool, and how many invitations IRCC issues in a given round. Only the top-scoring candidates get invited. PNP draws automatically have higher cut-offs because candidates who have provincial nominations automatically get 600 points added to their score.

What is Express Entry?

Canada’s most popular immigration programs use the online Express Entry system to manage applications. There are three programs that use Express Entry: the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program. PNP candidates in the Express Entry pool have already qualified for one of these programs.

Express Entry uses a points-based system, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), to rank candidates’ profiles. The top-scoring candidates receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), and can then apply for permanent residency.

From there, an IRCC officer reviews their application and makes a decision. They will ask for biometrics, and may set up an interview or ask for more documents.

If the application is approved, IRCC issues a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). Approved permanent residents can then complete the landing process. If they are outside Canada, they can access pre-arrival services to help them with the first steps for settling in Canada.

Who was invited?

Sonu and Zheng are married and are ages 34 and 31, respectively. They both bachelor’s degrees, and wrote the IELTS, with matching scores of 8 in listening and 7 in reading, speaking and writing. Zheng has been working as a computer programmer for the past three years while Sonu has been working in finance for four years. Neither Sonu nor Zheng has ever worked or studied in Canada. They entered the Express Entry pool with Zheng as the principal applicant and a CRS score of 421. Zheng then received a notification of interest from Ontario and was able to apply for a provincial nomination through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). Sonu’s CRS score increased to 1021 and she received an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence during the new Express Entry draw.

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