Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducted a recent Express Entry draw, issuing 4,800 invitations to apply (ITAs) to eligible candidates.
The draw, known as an all-program draw, considered candidates from all three programs managed under the Express Entry application management system. This marks the first all-program draw since April 26.
Minimum CRS Score and Eligibility Criteria
Candidates vying for the ITAs were required to obtain a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 488. The CRS assigns scores based on various factors such as language ability, education, work experience, occupation, and age. Those with higher scores have a greater chance of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residency in Canada.
Express Entry Draws in 2023
Express Entry draws throughout 2023 have shown a lack of consistent patterns in terms of the number of candidates invited, the frequency of draws, and the types of draws conducted. In January, draws occurred every two weeks and included candidates from all programs, following the pre-pandemic pattern.
However, in February, IRCC organized four program-specific draws, focusing on specific immigration programs. Among these draws was the very first program-specific draw for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).
March witnessed a shift in the frequency of draws, with one draw taking place each week, resulting in the issuance of ITAs to over 21,000 candidates, the second-highest number in Express Entry history.
In April, the system reverted to its pre-pandemic pattern of conducting an all-program draw every two weeks. The lack of a clear pattern indicates the evolving nature of Express Entry draws this year.
Upcoming Changes in Express Entry
Later this year, IRCC is expected to introduce draws that target Express Entry candidates based on specific attributes, rather than solely relying on high CRS scores. This change became possible with the passage of Bill C-19, which received Royal Assent in June 2022.
Under this bill, the immigration minister has the authority to invite candidates who can best contribute to Canada’s economic goals by addressing labour shortages in specific sectors. These targeted draws aim to alleviate pressure on industries experiencing chronic labour shortages.
Discretionary Nature of Express Entry Draws
It is important to note that Express Entry draws are entirely at the discretion of IRCC and the immigration minister. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act does not stipulate when the draws will occur, which programs will be considered, the number of candidates to be invited, or the minimum CRS cut-off score.
In other words, IRCC is not obligated to follow a particular pattern or conduct draws if the minister deems it unnecessary.
Understanding Express Entry
The Express Entry application management system oversees three Canadian economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.
These programs evaluate candidates based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which assigns scores based on various human capital factors.
Canada’s Immigration Plan
According to the Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025, Canada aims to admit over 82,000 new permanent residents through the Federal High Skilled Immigration program (Express Entry) by the end of 2023. This commitment demonstrates Canada’s commitment to attracting skilled individuals who can contribute to the country’s economic growth and development.