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Author Archives: Admin BBI

January 19, 2023

Canada held the second Express Entry draw of the year on 18th January. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued invitations to 5,500 candidates with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 490. No program was specified, meaning eligible candidates were invited from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). All are programs that operate under the Express Entry system.

The draw was a surprise as it marked the second Express Entry round of invitations in consecutive weeks. IRCC had just held a draw last Wednesday January 11 in which it also invited 5,500 candidates. The CRS cut-off for last week’s draw was 507, meaning the CRS cut off score has dropped 17 points between draws. IRCC initially reported the score as 507 for this draw as well but it has since been updated to the correct score of 490. Last week’s draw marked the first since the November 23, 2022 draw. Express Entry draws tend to occur approximately every two weeks, usually on Wednesday. IRCC has not provided explanation on why there was a pause in draws over this period.

Nonetheless, the fact that draws have taken place in successive weeks to start 2023 indicate IRCC’s desire to land more skilled immigrants in Canada this year. The 11,000 ITAs already issued mark the fastest start to Express Entry since it was launched in 2015, eclipsing the previous record of 10,000 ITAs that were issued in January 2021.

Express Entry has a service standard of providing permanent residence to most successful candidates in just six months, which is the fastest service standard among all of Canada’s over 100 different skilled immigration pathways.

The fast start to the year for Express Entry is part of what is likely to be an eventful year for IRCC’s main skilled immigration pathway.

IRCC developing categories for targeted Express Entry draws

Since Bill C-19 received royal assent last June, IRCC has been working to create new draw categories for candidates in Express Entry programs. This is a major departure from the current method of inviting candidates based solely on a high score within the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

In its most recent step, IRCC completed a round of consultations with the public and stakeholders to better understand Canada’s most acute shortages of skilled workers.

Regardless of the category, all candidates must be eligible to apply under the existing Express Entry application management system.

Once categories are decided on by the Minister, they will be announced before invitations are issued.

Possible categories for targeted draws

The categories will be based on candidate’s attributes such as their occupation, work experience, education, and language abilities. The immigration minister says this will support Canada’s economic priorities by inviting candidates who are better placed to fill urgent gaps in Canada’s labour force.

Draws may take place to target Express Entry candidates who have specific work experience that is relevant to an in-demand sector of the workforce.

There is also the possibility that IRCC will create categories to help international students in Canada become permanent residents through Express Entry, particularly if the student has obtained a degree or diploma for an in-demand field from a Designated Learning Institution.

Temporary residents are being considered as a category for similar reasons. Those who have previous temporary Canadian work experience have been found to have better labour market integration and are well-equipped to transfer their skills when needed.

Skilled, French-speaking immigrants may also have an advantage in receiving an ITA as the government seeks to deliver on its mandate to strengthen Canada’s bilingual character, as well as fill labour gaps in communities where speaking French is necessary for an occupation.

January 12, 2023
January 12, 2023

Canada held its first Express Entry draw of the year yesterday, and the first since November 23. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued invitations to 5,500 candidates with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 507. Eligible candidates were invited from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). All are programs that operate under the Express Entry system.

This draw marks an increase in the number of ITAs issued, and is the largest all-program Express Entry draw since they resumed last July. There were 750 additional invitations over the November 23 draw, which invited 4,750 candidates, as well as a higher CRS score than has been seen since the draw on September 28.

Express Entry in 2022

Last year was a unique year for Express Entry. Ministerial instructions show that over the 23 draws in 2022, there were 46,538 ITAs issued to Express Entry candidates. This number includes draws between January and July, which were exclusively for candidates in Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). All-program Express Entry draws were paused for over 18 months starting in December 2020. The pause was due to a backlog in applications caused by COVID-19 related travel restrictions. During this period, only candidates from the CEC or PNP were issued invitations to apply (ITAs). However, in September 2021, IRCC also paused draws for the CEC.The total ITAs for just all-program draws, which began in July and spanned the rest of the year, was 35,750.

The last Express Entry draw saw the lowest minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score at 491.

Express Entry getting ready for changes

In the second half of 2022, IRCC set the stage for changes to be expected in Express Entry in 2023. For example, in November, IRCC implemented NOC 2021, an updated take on NOC 2016.  The National Occupation Classification (NOC) system is used to determine an Express Entry candidate’s profession and skill level.

IRCC moved from categorizing skills as 0-D level to a system based on training, education, experience and responsibilities (TEER). The new TEER system has revised NOC 2016’s skill levels 0-E and created an equivalent five TEERS. Under NOC 2021, 16 new occupations are now eligible to apply for economic immigration programs managed by Express Entry, such as the FSWP or CEC.

Candidates who have a profile already submitted to the IRCC Express Entry pool were invited to switch their NOCs to the new NOC 2021 independently. The update must be done for each position (job) included in their IRCC profile. Failure to do so will disqualify candidates from receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Canada will also increase the number of candidates invited through Express Entry programs, based on the Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025 released on November 1. In 2023, 82,880 immigrants will be admitted to Canada as permanent residents through Express Entry. This will increase to 109,020 in 2024 and 114,000 in 2025, or approximately one-fifth of Canada’s total permanent resident admissions goals. These higher targets emphasize the importance Canada places on economic immigration in the face of an ongoing labour shortage. Immigration accounts for as much as 90% of labour force growth in Canada and approximately 75% of population growth.

September 29, 2022

IRCC issued invitations to 3,750 candidates with minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 504. As this was an all-program draw, invitations were issued to eligible candidates from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), all programs that operate under the Express Entry system.

This draw is the third in a row in which there was an increase of 500 invitations issued over the previous draw. The September 14 draw invited 3,250 candidates and the August 31 draw invited 2,750. It is also the lowest minimum CRS since all-program draws resumed. CRS scores have been decreasing in increments from 557 on July 6. Over the first five draws, scores decreased by eight or nine points for each draw. The September 14 draw saw a decrease of only six points and this week’s draw was the same.

Express Entry all-program draws were paused for over 18 months starting in December 2020 due to a backlog in applications caused COVID-19 related travel restrictions. During the pause, only candidates from the CEC or Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) were issued invitations to apply. In September 2021, IRCC also paused draws for the CEC.

Backlog is decreasing

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has recently released data that says the backlog for all applications has decreased from 2.7 million to 2.6 between July and August 31. This includes a dent in the number of Express Entry applications that are waiting to be processed. In late July, there were 51,616 persons in the Express Entry inventory. As of Aug 31, that number has reduced to 40,180, a decrease of over 10,000 applications in approximately six weeks.

Over half the applications currently in the inventory are from applicants in the PNPs. This is notable because several PNPs are aligned with Express Entry programs, known as enhanced nominations. According to IRCC, the backlog of applications under enhanced PNPs has decreased. However, there was an increase in applications for PNPs in which candidates apply directly to a provincial government (base PNPs).

So far in 2022, Canada has issued invitations to 28,039 immigrants through Express Entry programs. This is part of the Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 in which Canada is targeting some 432,000 new immigrants by the end of this year. So far, it appears Canada is on track to hit this target as over 300,000 newcomers, across all lines of business, have been welcomed.

Job vacancies at an all-time high

Canada’s high immigration targets, including those through Express Entry programs, stem from several factors including a job vacancy rate that currently stands at 5.7%. There is also notable shortage of skilled workers that will be further increased as the largest demographic of working age Canadians, baby boomers, reaches the retirement age of 65 in the coming decade.

As a response to the labour shortage, Express Entry will be changing in 2023. IRCC will soon have the authority to issue ITAs to candidates with specific work experience, education or language abilities that are well-positioned to support Canada’s economy and labour force. This change will impact the importance of high a CRS for candidates as there may be targeted draws that weigh other factors more heavily.

September 15, 2022

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued 3,250 invitations to apply in the most recent Express Entry draw which took place on 14th September. The minimum cut off Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score was 511. There was no program specified for the draw, meaning that invitations were issued to candidates from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

Until the last draw on August 31, the number of candidates receiving ITAs grew by 250 with each draw. Last week saw a marked increase of 500 ITAs and latest draw is a continuation of that trend. There has also been a gradual decline in the minimum CRS score, which has lost between eight or nine points each draw. However, this draw is different as there was only a five-point decrease. The minimum CRS score in the July 6 draw was 557.

Canada is on track to welcome nearly 432,000 immigrants

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has recently said that by the end of 2022 Canada will break its current record of 405,330 new immigrants in a year. As of the end of June, Canada has already welcomed over 300,000 new permanent residents in 2022.

So far this year Canada has welcomed 40,785 immigrants through Express Entry. It is possible that if immigration continues at its current speed, Canada could even exceed the 2022 Immigration Levels Plan target of  nearly 432,000.

To facilitate these numbers, IRCC has undertaken measures such as making the application process 100% digital as well as hiring an additional 1,250 new staff members.

Canada continues to push for more immigration as it tries to cope with a historically low unemployment rate as well as over one million job vacancies. The increased amount of retirement over the next decade, combined with a low birth rate, means Canada is not able to support the labour force or economy without immigration.

Changes coming in 2023

To better target gaps in the labour force, IRCC plans to make a major change to Express Entry in 2023. Most notably, these changes would give the department authority to issue ITAs to individuals with specific work experience, education, or language ability. It could be any candidate from groups they believe will be well-positioned to support Canada’s economy and labour force. This will have an impact on the relevance of CRS scores in some instances and they may become less vital in some future draws.

September 1, 2022

IRCC issued 2,750 invitations to apply (ITA) and the Comprehensive Ranking System score (CRS) cut-off was 516. There was no program specified for this draw which means that candidates from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) were eligible to be invited.

IRCC paused all-program Express Entry draws for over 18 months, starting in December 2020. During this time, only candidates eligible for permanent residence under the CEC or the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) were invited to apply. However, CEC draws were also paused in September 2021.

The pause of the draws was in response to an overwhelming number of permanent residence applications submitted while the global COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing. During this time Canada’s border closed and travel regulations changed frequently.

This draw marks the largest increase in ITA’s, up by 500, since all-program draws resumed on July 6. Until today’s draw, the number of candidates receiving ITAs has been growing by exactly 250 with each draw. For example, the first July draw invited 1,500 candidates, the second 1,750 and so on. There has also been a gradual decline in the minimum CRS score, which has lost between eight or nine points each draw. The initial minimum CRS score was 557.

What Future Holds For Canada Immigration

IRCC aims to make a major change to Express Entry in 2023 that would provide the department with authority to issue ITAs that target individuals with specific work experience, education, or language ability groups it believes will be well-positioned to support Canada’s economy and labour force. This means that CRS scores could become less vital in some future draws.

In June, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser explained the rationale for this proposal while on stage at Collision, a technology conference, stating “If we can project skills that are needed over the next 20 to 30 years, we can bring people who can hit the ground running and make a major economic impact.”

August 18, 2022

Canada has held its fourth all-program Express Entry draw since July 6. IRCC issued 2,250 Invitations to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. The Comprehensive Ranking System score (CRS) cut-off was 525.

There was no program specified for this draw which means that candidates from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) were eligible to be invited.

Overall, 7,500 candidates have been issued ITAs since all-program draws resumed on July 6. The number of candidates invited has consistently increased by 250 with each draw while the minimum CRS score is steadily declining each week by eight or nine points. The current cut-off score is 33 points lower than the July 6 draw, which was 557. Today’s CRS represents a decline of 8 points compared to the last draw on August 3.

Express Entry draws were paused by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for over 18 months.  During this time, only candidates eligible for permanent residence under the CEC or the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) were invited to apply. However, CEC draws were also paused in September 2021.

The pause of the draws was in response to an overwhelming number of permanent residence applications submitted while the global COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing. During this time Canada’s border closed and travel regulations changed frequently.

Forthcoming Changes to Express Entry

Express Entry aims to target skilled workers who are best suited to helping close the gaps in Canada’s labour force by responding to labour market needs, including French language immigrants outside Quebec. Canada plans to welcome 55,900 permanent residents through Express Entry in 2022 and this number will dramatically increase to 111,500 by the end of 2024.

By inviting candidates through Express Entry, IRCC can process applications more efficiently as the candidates have already met a baseline of eligibility, according to their CRS score. Now that draws have resumed, IRCC aims for a processing standard of six months for new applications.

However, IRCC is now considering holding Express Entry draws that target specific skills and occupations in the future, rather than relying solely on a CRS score.

August 4, 2022

Canada has invited 2,000 candidates to apply for permanent residency in the latest Express Entry draw held on August 3, 2022. Invitations were issued to candidates who had Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores of at least 533. There was no program specified for this draw which means that candidates from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) were eligible to be invited.

The minimum CRS requirement for this draw was nine points lower than the previous draw that occurred on July 20. Additionally, 250 more candidates received invitations in this draw compared to the previous draw, when 1,750 candidates received an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Since all-program draws resumed on 06th July, A total of 5,250  Express Entry candidates have received ITAs. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) had paused these draws for over 18 months, and only invited candidates eligible for permanent residence under the CEC or the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Canada plans to welcome 55,900 permanent residents through Express Entry in 2022 and this number will dramatically increase to 111,500 by the end of 2024.

July 21, 2022

Canada invited 1,750 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence on July 20. Express Entry is one of the main ways Canada welcomes immigrants. In 2022, Canada is on track to welcome 55,900 immigrants through Express Entry, then by 2024 the target will skyrocket to 111,500.

Candidates were invited if they had a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of at least 542. There was no program specified for this draw, meaning candidates from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) had the potential to be invited.

The CRS requirement for the new draw is 15 points lower than the previous all-program draw on July 6, when the minimum cut-off score was 557. Also, Canada issued 250 more invitations in this draw compared to the previous round of 1,500 invitations.

This was the second all-program draw since July 6 after an 18-month pause, during which time Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) only invited candidates eligible for immigration through either the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

In an all-program Express Entry draw, IRCC considers the CRS from all candidates in the Express Entry pool, regardless of which program they are eligible for. Before the pandemic, most Express Entry draws were not program-specific, meaning candidates eligible for any Express Entry program had the chance to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) if they met the minimum CRS.

Between January 2021 and September 2021, IRCC held PNP and CEC draws about every two weeks. After September 21, 2021, IRCC stopped inviting CEC candidates because the expected application processing times were driven in excess of the six-month standard.

Although IRCC is back to holding all-program draws, further changes are forthcoming to the Express Entry system. The reforms named in the recently-passed Bill C-19 are expected to come into force in early 2023. Once implemented, IRCC will be able to hold targeted draws that invite Express Entry candidates to apply based on an economic goal. Candidates could be invited based on their occupation, educational credential, language ability, or other factor that corresponds to labour market needs.

July 7, 2022

Canada has invited Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) candidates for the first time since December 2020. Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates were also included in the draw which took place on 06th July. This marks the first time since September 2021 that CEC candidates have been included in an Express Entry draw.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited a total of 1,500 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cut-off score was 557.

The statement released by the minister on this awaiting moment is as below :-

“Today, I am pleased to announce that Express Entry draws have officially resumed and applications will be processed at our 6 month processing standard. I want to thank the candidates from around the world for their patience, as we worked to reduce the backlog before resuming Express Entry draws. I look forward to welcoming skilled workers who will are essential in addressing Canada’s labour shortages.”

The return of all-program draws is significant for several reasons. Since its launch in 1967 until 2020, the Federal Skilled Worker Program was the main way Canada welcomed skilled immigrants. Prior to the pandemic, the FSWP comprised about 45% of all those who received an Express Entry ITA.

The return of all-program draws is also major news for CEC candidates. The CEC is the primary way for Canada’s large international student and foreign worker population to gain permanent residence. The CEC has increased in prominence in recent years as Canada has relied on this pool to achieve its immigration levels targets. Prior to the pandemic, the CEC comprised just 9% of all 341,000 immigrants welcomed under Canada’s economic, family, and humanitarian classes combined. Last year, the CEC comprised nearly one-third of the over 405,000 immigrants who landed in Canada.

All-program Express Entry draws occur when IRCC considers all candidates in the Express Entry pool and issues invitations to apply (ITA) for permanent residence only on the basis of their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Between the launch of Express Entry in 2015 and December 2020, IRCC mostly held all-program draws. This meant that Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) candidates all had a shot at getting an ITA.

Beginning in January 2021, IRCC focused on only inviting CEC candidates. IRCC did this because most of these candidates were in Canada and were less likely to face COVID-related challenges than immigration candidates overseas. However, IRCC paused CEC invitations in September 2021 in order to address its application backlogs. In the meantime, IRCC has continued to hold bi-weekly draws only inviting Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates to help the provinces and territories address their labour market needs.

By 2024, Canada will welcome over 110,000 Express Entry immigrants per year.

March 3, 2022

Canada invited 1,047 Express Entry candidates to apply for Canadian immigration on March 2.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) only invited Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates in the new invitation round. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cut off was 761. Invited candidates now have 60 days to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

In the previous round of invitations, IRCC invited a total of 1,082 PNP candidates to apply for Canadian immigration. It was a record for the number of Express Entry candidates invited in a single round of invitations.

Minister says draws for skilled workers to resume in “near future”

Canada has not held an Express Entry draw for Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) candidates since December 2020, and since September 2021 for Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates.

Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told business leaders in a webinar that IRCC would resume draws for skilled workers “in the near future.”

Although the immigration minister said there was no announcement on when skilled worker draws would resume, he said that Express Entry would start to look more normal in the coming years. According to the 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan, Express Entry targets will be cut in half for skilled workers this year, but will return to normal by 2024. These targets may change when Canada releases Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025 in the fall.

Under the current levels plan, Canada is expecting to bring in 83,500 immigrants through both Express Entry-aligned and base PNP categories in 2022. The new targets are greater than what the government projected in the previous levels plan, which was 81,500 PNP immigrants for 2022, and 83,000 for 2023.

Despite the pause in FSWP and CEC draws, PNP draws continue in record numbers every two weeks. In February alone, IRCC issued 2,145 Invitations to Apply to provincial nominees, almost twice as much as the previous month when 1,428 PNP candidates were invited.

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