Canada – A Special Canada Express Entry Report of 2017 So Far

On 1st July, 2017, Canada celebrated their 150th independence which is commonly known as the Canada Day. The Canada Day marks the half-way point of the year for the Canadians and it is a time when you reflect on the first six months of the year and look forward to what the second half may bring. In the context of Canadian Immigration, 2017 has so far been a standout year, particularly with respect to the Canada Express Entry selection system.

This special report on Canada Express Entry contains the detailed answers of some of the most common questions that are asked, such as:

  • Why did the number of Invitations to Apply(ITAs) increase?
  • Will more ITAs be issued over the next six months?
  • What effect may this have on the Comprehensive Ranking System(CRS) cut-off threshold?
  • How has the CRS changed over recent months, and might it change again in the future?
  • How are provinces engaging with the system?

All of these questions, and more, are considered in this exclusive report. So if you want to know about any of the above questions, this is the right article for you.

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More ITAs issued:

According to analysis done on the highlights of 2017, the first quarter of the year 2017 observed a very high number of ITAs (24,632) issued to the candidates in the Express Entry pool compared to the previous quarter. Following this increase in the ITAs issued, in the second quarter of the year i.e. the months of April, May and June an even further increase was observed in the number of ITAs (26,653) issued than over the first three months of the year.

This means that in the first half of the year 2017, 51,285 ITAs were issued. This number more than triples the 15,286 ITAs that were issued during the first half of the year 2016, and also surpasses the total number of candidates invited in any other half year since the introduction of Canada Express Entry in 2015.

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As noted by the senior staff members at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the increase in ITAs issued stems from two clear factors which are as follows:

  • The government set a higher annual target of intake for the federal economic programs managed under the Express Entry for 2017 than the previous year’s targets.
  • Further, in May a Senior IRCC Policy Analyst expressed that only a couple of cases stayed in the backlog of documents submitted before Express Entry was introduced in January, 2015. Therefore, IRCC has been able to increase draw sizes to meet the yearly target consumption level, as Express Entry turns into the fundamental driver of economic Immigration to Canada.

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It is worth noting that the target allocation for the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) for 2017 has also risen, which may also be playing a role in larger draw sizes.

Effect on CRS cut-off thresholds:

Over the last six months, it was observed that the cut-off thresholds decreased and the increase in the ITAs was a major factor in the decrease of CRS cut-off thresholds. A total of 16 Express Entry draws were conducted during the first half of the year out of which seven Express Entry draws have seen the minimum CRS score required to obtain an ITA decrease to a record low.

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In the first draw of the year, this threshold stood at 468; indeed, as recently as December, 2016 it was at 497. However, by May 31 the threshold had gone down to 413, allowing a far more diverse range of candidates to obtain that all-important ITA.

More recently, the latest draw saw a CRS cut-off score of 449. However, it should be noted that this increase is expected for a short period of time because there are some changes made to the CRS that brought in additional points factors for candidates that have siblings in Canada and for candidates who has proficiency in French language. In addition, a four-week gap between the two most recent draws allowed more candidates to enter the pool, thereby increasing the cut-off threshold on that occasion. Typically, there is a gap of around two weeks between draws.

Candidates with lower scores:

Having a core CRS score below the lowest score drawn has so far been a common feature among many successful Express Entry candidates.

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According to a year-end report by IRCC, 55 percent of the candidates who received an ITA in 2016 had core CRS scores of less than 450 (the lowest score drawn in 2016). The core CRS refers to a candidate’s score without additional points for a provincial nomination, a job offer, or post-secondary education obtained in Canada.

As per the records of 2016, 26 percent of the 33.872 candidates who received ITAs had a provincial nomination. Provinces continue to be active in 2017. A provincial nomination is worth 600 CRS points – a core CRS score of 200 would become 800 with a provincial nomination. Records of the nine days leading up to May 26, 2017, shows that, in the period, 143 candidates received points for a provincial nomination.

The recent changes introduced by the government on June 6, 2017, also added further factors that candidates can use to improve their CRS score.

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More ITAs to be issued over the next six months

Currently, IRCC is already sending invites to candidates who will be counted in next year’s annual target intake numbers. So all that candidates who receive an ITA in mid-to-late 2017 are likely to land in Canada as a new permanent residents some time in 2018.

While there is no exact target number of intakes for 2018 that has been determined as yet, Canada’s Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen recently disclosed that the overall figure will be at least 300,000, which is the new baseline for Canada’s Immigration programs. Moreover, the Minister continues to state that immigration to Canada continues to be a key ingredient is the economic growth and future of the country and that it is likely that the targets of 2018 will be greater than or equal to this year’s targets.

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This, taken with the fact that the backlog of pre-Express Entry applications is now all-but cleared, gives candidates and other stakeholders reason to believe that many ITAs may be issued over the next six months and beyond.

Effect of this on CRS cut-off thresholds 

As discussed above, larger rounds of invitation draws, higher target intakes and a clear backlog has led to lower CRS cut-off thresholds. Similarly, the new baseline of 300,000 new permanent residents per years brings well for the future with respect to the CRS threshold.

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However, if there is a delay in the draws, that can also effect the cut-off thresholds i.e. an increase in the cut-off threshold. There was only one draw in the month of June, and this time came after a four-week wait since the previous draw contributing towards an increase in the CRS threshold. The previous time when we observed a significant gap between draws was in March, and the threshold went up on that occasion too.

*Note: Draw of November 30 invited only provincial nominees with a minimum CRS score of 786; draws of May 26 invited only provincial nominees with a minimum CRS score of 775, and candidates in the Federal Skilled Trades Class with a minimum score of 199

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A more dynamic approach from IRCC

Over recent months, IRCC has approached Express Entry in a more hands-on manner, with features such as program-specific draws and improvements to the CRS.

The latest improvements that were made followed the earlier changes that were introduced last November, when a new cohort of foreign workers (including NAFTA work permit holders and Intra-Company transferees) became eligible to receive additional points for a qualifying job offer, even if they didn’t have a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). In addition to this, the number of CRS points awarded for a job offer also changed from 600 to either 50 or 200 points, depending on what position is offered, and, for the first time, candidates with a Canadian education received additional points.

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All these changes that were made were a part of IRCC’s intention to place greater emphasis on human capital, skills and experience. The tables below provide an overview of all changes that were made to the Express Entry since November, 2016.

Table 1: Changes implemented as of Nov 19, 2016

CHANGE

NEW SYSTEM

PREVIOUS SYSTEM

Points awarded for a job offer within NOC major group 00

200 CRS points600 CRS points

Points awarded for any other skilled job offer

50 CRS points600 CRS pointsCandidates eligible for points for a job offerLMIA not required for certain workers in Canada

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LMIA was required for points to be awarded

Job offer duration requirement

At least one year

Indeterminate

1- or 2-year post-secondary education credential in Canada15 CRS points

No additional points awarded

3-year credential/Master’s/Entry-to-practice professional degree/PhD in Canada

30 CRS points

No additional points awarded

Validity period of Invitation to Apply

90 days

60 days

 

Table 2: Changes implemented as of June 6, 2017

CHANGE

NEW SYSTEM

PREVIOUS SYSTEMPoints awarded for principal applicant or spouse/common-law partner having a sibling in Canada15 CRS points

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No additional points awarded

French CLB 7 or better + English CLB 4 or below (or no proven English ability)

15 CRS points

No additional points awarded

French CLB 7 or better + English CLB 5 or better

30 CRS points

No additional points awarded

Job Bank registration

Voluntary

Mandatory for candidates without a job offer

 IRCC’s approach is always open to changes that may improve be needed in the future for better working, and program-specific draws, which is not the norm, may also be seen in the near future. Indeed, IRCC’s staff has not discounted the possibility of a draw occurring for Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) candidates only as, at this point, this is the only program for which there has not yet been a program-specific draw.

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Provinces and Express Entry system

The provinces have been using the Provincial Nominee Program (PNPs) with Express Entry. To provide a whole history of how it works would require a report of its own. However, some brief notes highlight how certain provinces have tweaked their Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) stream over the first half of the year 2017 to benefit many of the Express Entry candidates.

  • Ontario, for example, has updated its Human Capital Prioritiesstream to target certain workers, most recently workers in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. These candidates may receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) even if they don’t have 400 CRS points; previously, Ontario only issued NOIs under the HCP stream to candidates with at least 400 points. Moreover, Ontario also introduced a new Express Entry-aligned PNP stream for tradespersons, and the province continues to issue NOIs through its French-Speaking Skilled Worker 
  • Saskatchewan has opened its International Skilled Worker – Express Entry sub-category on a number of occasions this year which allows the candidates with work experience in certain occupations to submit an application without a job offer on the first-come, first-served basis.
  • British Columbia has continues to send invites to worker and graduates in the Express Entry pool to apply for its Provincial Nomination Program.
  • On the other side of the country, the Atlantic Provinces — including Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland — have also been engaged with Express Entry so far this year.

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Conclusion

With increasing number of ITAs being sent to the candidates and with the expectations that the improvements made will increase the number more and the target intake of 2018 is also expected to increase, it is benefiting all the candidates that are applying for Canadian Immigration. Canada being one of the desired destinations for a big number of people has so much to offer to the people living. This is the right time for more people to apply for immigration to Canada. The first step of the process is the assessment of eligibility and you may get it done by one of the Best Immigration Consultants In Karachinamely Lalani & Associates. Visit the website www.lalaniassociates.com.pk and get all the details and assessment done and Immigrate to Canada.