Who received ITAs in the recent Express Entry category-based selection draw?

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: February 6, 2024

Last week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued 7,000 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) in a category-based draw for Express Entry candidates with French-language proficiency.

The draw took place on February 1 and the minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of all candidates who received an ITA was 365.

This CRS score marked the second-lowest minimum score of any category-based draw to date and is the lowest CRS of any Express Entry draw since late September last year.

While IRCC issued 7,000 ITAs in its latest French-language draw, many Express Entry candidates continue to wonder what would have made their profiles strong enough to receive an ITA in such a draw. Accordingly, using fictional examples, the following will illustrate how candidates with different Express Entry profiles would have been eligible to receive an ITA on February 1, 2024.

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This information can be used by both current Express Entry candidates and prospective Canadian immigrants to understand how to strengthen/build their profiles in the hopes of receiving an ITA from IRCC in an upcoming draw.

Eligibility for French-language category-based draws

Before assessing different hypothetical examples of Express Entry profiles, candidates need to understand that IRCC’s French-language draws require meeting certain eligibility criteria.

Specifically, to be eligible for an Express Entry draw in IRCC’s French-language proficiency category, candidates must “have French-language test results that show a minimum score of 7 in all four language abilities on the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien” (NCLC).

The four language abilities are reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Example profiles of successful ITA recipients

Beyond meeting the general criteria noted above, the following illustrates three hypothetical Express Entry profiles that would have been strong enough to receive an ITA during IRCC’s French-language category-based draw on February 1.

Pascal from Cameroon

As a native of Cameroon, Pascal grew up speaking French.

Accordingly, in addition to scoring a 10 in each of the four assessed language abilities on the NCLC, this is what Pascal’s Express Entry profile looked like when he applied to the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and entered into the candidate pool at 27 years old, hoping for an ITA through IRCC’s French-language category-based draws.

  • Age: 27
  • Highest Level of Completed Education: Post-secondary credential of three or more years
  • 2nd Post-Secondary Credential: No
  • Study in Canada: No
  • English Proficiency: Six for Reading/Writing/Speaking; Seven for Listening
  • French Proficiency: 10 for all abilities
  • Full-Time Skilled Work Experience Outside Canada within the last 10 years: Two years
  • Full-Time Skilled Work Experience Inside Canada within the last 10 years: None
  • Marriage/Common-Law Partnership: No
  • Sibling in Canada (Citizen or Permanent Resident, living in Canada, 18+ years old): No
  • “Close Family Member” in Canada (Citizen or Permanent Resident, living in Canada, 18+ years old): No
  • Trades Certificate of Qualification: No
  • Provincial Nomination: No
  • Skilled Job Offer from Canadian Employer: No

Result: With this profile, Pascal’s CRS score was 472. Therefore, Pascal’s Express Entry profile was strong enough to reward him with an ITA from IRCC.

Emma from Switzerland

As a native of Switzerland, where French is a co-official language, 34-year-old Emma scored a seven on all language abilities assessed by the NCLC. After confirming that she met the minimum language requirement for IRCC’s French-language category-based draws, Emma applied to the FSWP and entered the Express Entry candidate pool with this profile:

  • Age: 34
  • Highest Level of Completed Education: Post-secondary credential of three or more years
  • 2nd Post-Secondary Credential: No
  • Study in Canada: No
  • English Proficiency: Eight for Writing/Speaking; Seven for Reading; Nine for Listening
  • French Proficiency: Seven for all abilities
  • Full-Time Skilled Work Experience Outside Canada within the last 10 years: Three years
  • Full-Time Skilled Work Experience Inside Canada within the last 10 years: None
  • Marriage/Common-Law Partnership: Yes
  • Spouse’s Highest Level of Completed Education: Secondary School Credential
  • Spouse’s Study in Canada: No
  • Spouse’s Full-Time Skilled Work Experience Inside Canada within the last 10 years: None
  • Spouse’s English Proficiency: Six for all abilities
  • Spouse’s French Proficiency: 10 for all abilities
  • Sibling in Canada (Citizen or Permanent Resident, living in Canada, 18+ years old): No
  • “Close Family Member” in Canada (Citizen or Permanent Resident, living in Canada, 18+ years old): No
  • Trades Certificate of Qualification: No
  • Provincial Nomination: No
  • Skilled Job Offer from Canadian Employer: No

Result: This profile helped Emma earn a CRS score of 398. Similar to Pascal, this Express Entry profile was therefore strong enough for Emma to receive an ITA from IRCC on February 1.

Rudy from France

Born and raised in France, Rudy’s first language is French, which helped him score a 10 on all language abilities assessed by the NCLC. On top of that, Rudy applied to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and entered the Express Entry candidate pool when he was 29 years old, giving him the maximum CRS points possible for the age category. These human capital factors, as outlined below, helped him earn an ITA from IRCC on February 1.

  • Age: 29
  • Highest Level of Completed Education: Master’s Degree
  • 2nd Post-Secondary Credential: Yes
  • Study in Canada: No
  • English Proficiency: Five for all abilities
  • French Proficiency: 10 for all abilities
  • Full-Time Skilled Work Experience Outside Canada within the last 10 years: One year
  • Full-Time Skilled Work Experience Inside Canada within the last 10 years: None
  • Marriage/Common-Law Partnership: No
  • Sibling in Canada (Citizen or Permanent Resident, living in Canada, 18+ years old): No
  • “Close Family Member” in Canada (Citizen or Permanent Resident, living in Canada, 18+ years old): No
  • Trades Certificate of Qualification: No
  • Provincial Nomination: No
  • Skilled Job Offer from Canadian Employer: Yes
  • Job Offer for Senior Managerial Position: No
  • Full-Time Job Offer for Minimum One Year: Yes
  • Job Offer Supported by Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA): No
  • Currently Working in Canada on a Valid Work Permit for the Employer Offering Job: No

Result: With the above profile, Rudy earned a CRS score of 510.

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