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 is Express Entry?
Express Entry is the application management system for three Canadian immigration programs: the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates in the Express Entry pool are already eligible for at least one of these programs.
Express Entry uses a points-based system, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), to rank candidates’ profiles. The top-scoring candidates receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and can then apply for permanent residency.
After the candidate applies, an IRCC officer reviews the application and makes a decision. The officer will ask for biometrics and may set up an interview or request more documents. Once this is complete, if approved, the candidate is now a permanent resident of Canada and one step closer to becoming a Canadian citizen.
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.”