Understanding the Express Entry tie-breaking rule

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: February 7, 2023

Express Entry is the Canadian federal government's top immigration pathway for foreign skilled workers.

To help rank and choose between Express Entry candidates with the same Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a tie-breaking rule that works based on the date and time that “profiles were first submitted to the Express Entry pool.”

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This rule has meant that for every Express Entry draw since the rule was introduced, IRCC has listed a cut-off date and time (according to Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC). Every candidate above the minimum CRS score for a particular draw who also submitted their profile prior to the cut-off receives an Invitation to Apply (ITA) through Express Entry for Canadian Permanent Residency (PR).

A recent example of the tie-breaking rule

A recent example of this would be the Express Entry draw that took place on January 18, 2023.

For this draw, 5,550 ITAs were given out by IRCC, with the minimum CRS score set at 490. The date and time for the tie-breaking rule were listed as November 24, 2022, at 21:14:59 UTC.

In this case, candidates who had a CRS score of 490 or higher and submitted their Express Entry profile before the above cut-off were part of the group who received an ITA during that draw.

Three important considerations about the tie-breaking rule

Despite the introduction of the tie-breaking rule, there are a few important considerations that Express Entry candidates should remember.

The tie-breaking rule does not take priority over a candidate’s CRS score

A candidate’s CRS score remains the primary factor in determining where they rank amongst other eligible Express Entry hopefuls for any draw. As the name suggests, again, this rule is simply in place to break a tie between Express Entry candidates with the same CRS score.

Modifying or updating an Express Entry profile does not alter the original timestamp of the profile submission

The submission timestamp associated with a given Express Entry profile will remain constant when a candidate, for example, updates their profile with new language test results or an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). In fact, there is only one circumstance where the submission timestamp of a candidate’s profile will change (more on that below).

Deleting and reapplying for Express Entry with a new profile will result in a new profile submission timestamp

There is no identity-based (name, birthdate etc.) carryover of Express Entry profile submission timestamps. As an example, if an individual named Aniket Sharma (fictional) were to apply for Express Entry and then delete their profile before reapplying at a later date and time, the recorded submission timestamp would reflect the date and time that Aniket rejoined the candidate pool as opposed to when they initially submitted their first profile.

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