Canada’s Recent Historic Express Entry Draw

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Express Entry Draw Canada

The Canadian government immigration agency, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada), has surprised many in its recent Express Entry (EE) draw. On 13th February 2021, the Canadian government, through IRCC, made a historic announcement revealing that it had sent a total of 27,332 ITAs during the latest CEC (Canadian Experience Class) draw.

 An ITA (Invitation to Apply) is an offer that allows eligible foreigners who had submitted their profiles in the EE pool to apply for Canadian Permanent Resident (PR). The cut-off Comprehensive Ranking System(CRS) score was just 75, an all-time low in the recent draw. IRCC uses the CRS score to identify eligible candidates to receive an ITA.

How unusual was this draw?

The nature and magnitude of this latest round of ITAs was extraordinary based on the Express Entry system’s history. The Feb 13th draw saw the lowest Comprehensive Ranking System requirement and the highest invitees. The previous two CEC draws that IRCC conducted in January of 2021 had 454 and 461 as minimum CRS scores.

In 2020, the minimum CRS requirement varied between 431 and 478 points. By and large, each draw saw IRCC issue between 3,000 and 5,000 ITAs. Since Canada launched the Express Entry system in 2015, there has been no significant change in this pattern until the 13th February draw. It has made it easy for how competitive their CRS score is based on past ITAs.

So, what is Express Entry?

EE is a point-based system that the Canadian government uses to manage permanent residency (PR) applications. The system focuses on qualified, skilled workers applying for Canadian PR via the following three immigration streams:

  • The CEC-Canadian Experience Class
  • FSWC-Federal Skilled Worker Class
  • The FSTC-Federal Skilled Traders Class

The Express Entry allows a foreigner to get a Canadian PR, which is similar to theGreen Card’ in the United States. It enables a foreigner to work, live, and study in Canada. Moreover, it’s a route to Canadian Citizenship.

Ordinarily, IRCC holds immigration draws at least twice per month. However, since the COVID pandemic hit the world in early 2020, Canada has not conducted any single draw for all the economic programs, which ordinarily involves sending ITAs under all three economic streams.

What do we learn from this latest draw?

The draws that the IRCC has so far conducted in 2021 have been for CEC and Provincial Nominee categories. Thus, persons looking to immigrate to Canada via economic streams should note that the recent historic invitations were only for the CEC category.

The Canadian Experience Class category covers applicants with at least 12 months of Canadian skilled work experience. Most of these persons are already in Canada. It implies that in its recent draw, IRCC was targeting applicants who are unaffected by the current COVID-19 travel restrictions. Unlike persons who are currently outside Canada,  applicants already in the country are unlikely to experience hurdles such as difficulty collecting travel documents amid the ongoing pandemic and the unusually long process of going through medical, criminal, and security screening.

Applicants who received an Invitation to Apply but are currently abroad will need to wait until the lifting of travel restrictions before they can travel to Canada.

The 13th February announcement has reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to its 2021 immigrants target of 40100 people. The 2022 and 2023 current target is 411000 and 421000, respectively.

How will the recent draw affect future rounds?

Since the EE launch in 2015, the Canadian government has mostly given priority to candidates based on their Comprehensive Ranking System score. The CRS in the EE pool has always carried more weight than the program (CEC, FSWC, or FSTC) under which an applicant qualifies.

This latest draw shows a shift in IRCC’s mindset from a purely economic consideration for PR to a compassionate approach. It seems the government is prioritizing foreigners who are already in the country during these turbulent times. On paper, these people may not be the strongest candidate.

Besides, this latest express entry draw shows that ITAs are unpredictable. It demonstrates that it’s vital to have an EE profile at any given time.

 Most people who enter the EE pool focus most efforts on their Comprehensive Ranking g System score. While a high CRS score is always desirable, this latest draw shows that the CRS score shouldn’t be everything.

If you’re looking to explore your options to get a Canadian PR, whether you are currently abroad or in Canada, get in touch with us for consultation.