Express Entry: CRS score falls to 481 as Canada invites another 7,000 candidates

Kareem El-Assal
Published: March 29, 2023

IRCC has just held an all-program Express Entry draw for the third week in a row.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a total of 7,000 invitations to apply (ITAs) for permanent residence. The minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cut-off score was 481. IRCC considered candidates from all programs.

Today's draw had the lowest CRS score requirement for an all-program draw since the December 23, 2020 Express Entry draw (back then, the score was 468). In order for the CRS to fall to 481 today, IRCC has invited a total of 21,000 candidates over the past two weeks.

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Express Entry is the main way the Canadian government manages economic class immigration candidates.

Those eligible for at least one of the three Express Entry programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), are able to upload their profile onto IRCC's website.

They receive a CRS score based on a variety of human capital criteria, such as their age, education, language skills, and work experience.

Generally, IRCC holds Express Entry draws every two weeks and issues ITAs to the highest-scoring candidates.

In recent months, however, IRCC has not stuck to a predictable draw schedule.

For example, it held two draws in consecutive weeks, on March 15 and March 23, which were tied for the largest all-program draws ever.

A total of 7,000 Express Entry candidates were invited under each of these draws (14,000 candidates in total).

An all-program draw is when IRCC considers issuing ITAs to candidates from all three Express Entry programs.

They are distinguished from program-specific draws, in which IRCC will only consider candidates from one program.

Once a candidate receives an ITA, they have up to 60 days to submit a completed permanent residence application to IRCC.

IRCC aims to process these applications within six months. If a candidate's application is approved, they can land in Canada as a permanent resident.

Under the Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025, which guides the operations of Canada's immigration system, IRCC is aiming to welcome nearly 83,000 immigrants via Express Entry this year.

The target will rise to 109,000 in 2024, and 114,000 in 2025.

Since last year, Canada has made the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) its leading economic class immigration pathway.

Most of Canada's provinces and territories operate their own PNP, which enables them to identify (or "nominate") candidates that meet their economy's needs.

Canada's PNP admissions target is nearly 106,000 immigrants in 2023, 110,000 in 2024, and nearly 118,000 in 2025.

In recent weeks, a number of provinces have announced what their new PNP allocations will be.

Canada's largest province, Ontario, for example, will now be able to nominate up to 18,000 immigrants in 2025.

A portion of the PNP operates through Express Entry.

This means if a candidate is eligible for one of the three Express Entry programs (the FSWP, CEC, or FSTP), they can enter the Express Entry pool, and then receive an invitation from a province or territory to apply to their PNP.

The benefit of this approach, known as enhanced provincial nominations, is those approved under a PNP stream then gain an additional 600 CRS points.

These extra points virtually guarantee the candidate that they will receive an ITA for permanent residence.

Canada has been experiencing a boom in newcomer arrivals in recent years as the country looks to welcome more permanent and temporary residents to support its economy following the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, Canada's population grew by more than one million people for the first time in the country's history. Permanent and temporary residents accounted for over 95 per cent of this growth.

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