Express Entry Trends and Draws

express entry trends

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Mary Keyork

Mary Keyork provides Immigration Law services for hundreds of immigration applications in all categories and has appeared before all three divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board as well as at the Federal Court of Canada, successfully representing clients in complex immigration applications and hearings.
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The Express Entry system was first introduced in January 2015 and there have been several changes to how the application process works and how points are awarded under Express Entry.
The most significant recent changes came into effect in June 2017, with minor changes in October 2017.

Backgrounder – What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an online management system for permanent residence (“PR”) applications under the Federal Skilled Workers Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class. Provincial Nominee Programs can recruit Express Entry candidates through the online application pool.

Under Express Entry, PR candidates create online profiles with details of their work history, educational background, language ability, skills and other personal information. Candidates then enter the Express Entry “pool” and are awarded a score through Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System (“CRS”). CRS points are awarded based on specific criteria up to a maximum of 1200 points. Most candidates score under 600 points.

Once in the pool, candidates must be invited by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) to apply for permanent residence. These invitations are generally issued at least once a month, but there has been a biweekly trend in the second half of 2017. Each invitation sets a minimum CRS score and a select number of applicants are invited to each round. The CRS cutoff and number of invitations fluctuates in each round. If an applicant is invited, they can then make an online, or electronic, application for permanent residence (“eAPR”). An application for permanent residence begins processing once the complete eAPR is submitted.

In addition to meeting the cutoff score for an invitation, candidates must also qualify for a permanent residence application stream (i.e. Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Workers Program, etc.) and need to have a valid job offer, also known as an offer of arranged employment, from a Canadian employer.

Express Entry provides the option for candidates to register in a Job Match program when they enter the initial pool (before they receive an invitation). Job Match allows candidates to be matched with Canadian employers seeking qualified employees.

Employers need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) to support candidates unless the candidate is LMIA-exempt under certain conditions, including:

– Having worked full-time for the employer on their valid work permit for at least one year (or equivalent part-time work);
– Having a valid job offer (i.e. the employer is making an offer of indeterminate employment to you upon obtaining PR). Skilled trade positions can have two employers make a job offer and the candidate would need to work for both employers; or
– Having an LMIA-exempt work permit under a qualifying category.

Recent Changes

Two recent sets of changes came into effect for the Express Entry system.

On June 6, 2017, the following changes were made:

• Applicants can receive points for having a sibling living in Canada that is a Canadian permanent resident or citizen;

• Applicants can receive more points for strong French language skills;• The Job Match feature became optional, not mandatory; and

• A new method for separating candidates with tied CRS scores was put into place. Now, candidates are separated based on the date and time of profile submission, so, if there are candidates tied at the cusp of the maximum number of invitations received, those who submitted their profile first will get an invitation first.

Additional minor changes to the wording of the Ministerial Instructions that govern Express Entry, as it relates to the June 2017 changes, came into effect on October 24, 2017.

Latest Draws and Trends

Every year, IRCC has a target number of new permanent residents to hit their immigration levels targets. In 2017, the goal is 300,000 new permanent residents under all immigration programs. Of that, the government targets more than 170,000 new permanent residents from economic categories, and around 70,000 of those are managed under Express Entry. This means that Express Entry applications will account for just under a quarter of all new Canadian permanent residents in 2017.

As of mid-October, most candidates in the pool waiting for invitations were in the 351-400 or 401-450 point range with another significant portion at 350 points or less. Based on the recent trends of invitations, the 401-450 point range is a good place to be if you are hoping for an invitation before 2017 closes. Only about 200 candidates (out of approximately 60,000 currently in the pool) had scores above 600 and those applicants would have received invitations in the most recent draw.

Throughout 2017, we have seen higher and higher numbers of invitations issued, and more frequent draws from the pool than in 2015 and 2016. This can be attributed to government immigration targets and the clearing of pre-Express Entry applications in the processing backlog. As older applications are cleared out, there is room for more Express Entry applications that are processed much more quickly than pre-Express Entry economic category applications.

We can likely expect to see continued bi-weekly draws of 2500+ invitations throughout the rest of 2017.

The table below details the latest rounds of invitations this year.

Latest Rounds of Invitations Under Express Entry (2017)

Date CRS Points Number of Invitations Issued
Oct 18, 2017 436 2,757
Oct 4, 2017 438 2,801
Sept 20, 2017 433 2,871
Sept 6, 2017 435 2,772
Aug 23, 2017 434 3,035
Aug 9, 2017 433 2,991
Aug 2, 2017 441 3,264
July 12, 2017 440 3,202
June 28, 2017 449 3,409
May 31, 2017 413 3,877
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