IRCC holds first Express Entry draw of April

Edana Robitaille
Published: April 12, 2023

IRCC has held another Express Entry draw.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a total of 3,500 invitations to apply (ITAs) to candidates in an all-program draw. The minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cut-off score was 486. In an all-program draw, candidates are considered from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

This draw follows three consecutive Express Entry draws in which 7,000 candidates were invited. The most recent draw on March 29 also saw the lowest CRS cut-off score since December 2020, at 481.

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More ITAs have already been issued in 2023 than the whole of 2022.

Last November, IRCC introduced its most ambitious Immigration Levels Plan to date. The plan outlines immigration targets for permanent residents across all lines of business over three years. This year, 82,880 will obtain permanent resident status through Express Entry, rising to 114,000 a year by 2025.

An unprecedented month for Express Entry

March was an unprecedented month in Express Entry’s history. IRCC issued 21,667 ITAs over four draws. This was the second-highest monthly total since Express Entry was launched in January 2015. The record for most candidates invited in one month was set in February 2021 when IRCC invited 27,332 candidates in a single draw targeting Canadian Experience Class candidates.

Today’s draw follows three of the second-largest Express Entry draws to ever occur. The first was on March 15 when 7,00 candidates were invited with a CRS score of 490.

Typically, Express Entry draws only occur every two weeks on Wednesdays. However, the next draw took place just over a week later, on March 23, and IRCC invited another 7,000 candidates with an even lower CRS score of 484.

Another 7,000 candidate draw (for candidates with a minimum CRS score of 481) took place on March 29. This adds up to 21,000 candidates invited in three consecutive weeks. The remaining 667 candidates were invited on March 1 in a draw targeting only candidates in the Provincial Nominee Program.

PGWP extension available as of April 6

The large all-program draws may be beneficial for candidates in the CEC, many of whom have been voicing growing concerns as their Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) are set to expire shortly.

To assist PGWP holders, immigration minister Sean Fraser recently announced that effective April 6, PGWP holders are eligible to apply for an 18-month open work permit extension.

PGWPs are a one-time open work permit for international students who graduate from a post-secondary institution in Canada. If a candidate’s PGWP expires before they receive an ITA, they are no longer eligible to apply for permanent residence. It can be expensive and time-consuming to find an alternative work permit or obtain a visitor record.

Between November 2022 and February 2023, few CEC candidates received ITAs due to a six-week unplanned draw pause followed by four program-specific draws that did not target CEC candidates.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an application management program that was established in 2015. It was developed to objectively evaluate high-skilled economic immigrants based on criteria such as occupation, work experience, age, language ability, education, and other human capital factors. These factors are ranked and scored using the Comprehensive Ranking System.

The higher the CRS score, the more likely a candidate is to receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence.

Once a candidate receives an ITA, they have 60 days to submit their final application to IRCC. An officer will then evaluate the application and decide if the candidate is approved for permanent resident status.

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