Express Entry: Canada holds largest all-program draw ever

Edana Robitaille
Published: March 15, 2023

IRCC held the seventh Express Entry draw of 2023 today.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued invitations to 7,000 candidates with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 490.

The number of ITAs in this draw beats the previous record of 5,500 candidates invited in the last all-program draw on January 18. In an all-program draw candidates are considered from all three Express Entry programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). 

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This draw breaks a pattern of program specific draws that have been occurring over the past two months. Since the last all-program draw there have been four program-specific rounds of invitations, three for PNP-only and one for FSWP candidates. The most recent draw was PNP-only and just 697 candidates received ITAs on March 1.

Prior to 2023, all Express Entry draws between July and November 2022 were all-program draws that invited over 1,000 candidates each time and grew as the minimum CRS score decreased.

IRCC releases 2021 Express Entry data

A recently released report from IRCC summarizes Express Entry data for 2021, which was a unique year in the program’s history.

Starting in December 2020, all-program draws were paused to ease the backlog caused by COVID-19 related travel restrictions and border closures. IRCC continued to issue ITAs to candidates in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) until September 2021 when CEC draws were also paused.

Overall, there were 114,431 ITAs issued in 2021. There were no all-program Express Entry draws in 2021. All 42 Express Entry draws were program specific for the PNP and the CEC and no ITAs were issued to FSWP or Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) candidates.

Over half, 64%, of ITAs were issued to recipients between the ages of 20-29 years. Under the Comprehensive Ranking System, candidates in this age range receive 100 CRS points. Candidates receive fewer points after they turn 30.

Because of the pauses, the majority of ITAs were issued to candidates who were already living in Canada as temporary residents. However, there were still some ITAs issued to candidates living abroad. The top five nationalities were

  • Canada: 102,806 ITAs issued
  • India: 3,826 ITAs issued
  • Nigeria: 1,432 ITAs issued
  • USA: 806 ITAs issued
  • People’s Republic of China: 687 ITAs issued

What is Express Entry?

The Express Entry application management system oversees three programs: the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Candidates in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) are already eligible for at least one Express Entry program.

Express Entry programs rank candidates using the points-based Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Points are awarded based on work experience, language ability, education, and human capital factors. Candidates with the highest scores will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and can then apply for permanent residency.

A candidate has 60 days to complete and submit their application. An IRCC officer then reviews the application and decides if the candidate is approved.

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