The figures for the number of applicants applying for the Immigration to Canada via the Express Entry immigration System of Canada have rocketed in the second quarter of the year 2017. This leads to a favorable year for the Immigration for Canada’s selection system with respect to the number of candidates who had applied for a permanent Canadian residency. Moreover, the numbers of Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points indicates a new low. The CRS points are required by a candidate to be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA).s

Furthermore, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) did come up with new opportunities to award additional points to the Express Entry applicants. New novel strategies were also introduced by the IRCC in order to target certain potential candidates via the program-specific draws. Consequently, the number of the ITAs issued rose in the first quarter which further led to a decline in the CRS cut-off threshold. This further contributed optimistically by indicating an increase in the number of Express Entry applicants.

The three month period from April-June had been immensely busy. The 26,653 ITAs issued during the second quarter of 2017 were greater than the 24,632 ITAs over the first quarter. The current figure doubled the 13,202 ITAs issued over the period of the final three months of 2016.

The second quarters of 2015 and 2016 determine a total issuance of 5,821 and 6,077 ITAs respectively.


The impact on CRS thresholds

A total of nine Express Entry draws were carried out in the second quarter of 2017 out of which four set new threshold CRS levels.


The increasing number of ITAs issued in the second quarter was a major contributing factor for a decline in CRS threshold. This threshold descended to as low as 413 on May 31 for the applicants eligible under Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) or Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

The applicants in the FSCW pool were the ones who benefitted the greatest by the two program-specific draws which were performed by IRCC on May 26.

The graph below highlights the CRS cut-off thresholds over the course of 2017, with the second quarter being emphasized upon.


Low CRS scores?

May applicants who entered with a CRS score below the threshold were also able to increase their scores and obtain ITAs. This can be determined by the figures over the entire period of 2016 when around 55 percent of candidates who had a core CRS score below 450 (the threshold CRS score in 2016’s draw) were able to receive an ITA. A CRS score not inclusive of a provincial nomination, a job offer, or a post-secondary education obtained in Canada is a core CRS score.


Since 2016, new benefits have also been introduced for those applicants who may have a sibling in Canada and also for those who know French. These additional points have increased the chances of an applicant to obtain a higher score.

Provincial nomination is most important factor in terms of CRS and it is worth of 600 CRS points. As a consequence, a candidate with a score of 200 points may end up with a score of 800 points if he or she is able to obtain a provincial nomination. As a result of this nomination, the applicant will be able to receive an ITA at a consequent draw from the pool of those who are applying for the immigration to Canada.

Heading further in the year 2017, Canadian provinces are devising new strategies in order to welcome the new applicants from the Express Entry Pool. Most Canadian provinces have in fact dedicated a specific place in their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) in order to cater the candidates from the Express Entry pool.


The provincial aspect:

As the Federal Government has now claimed the Express Entry to be the main driver for immigration to Canada in economic terms, many provincial governments are now claiming and have streamed their ‘enhanced’ Express Entry-aligned PNP as an important driver of immigration to the provinces.

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) officials have been granted the permission to search the Express Entry pool for candidates who possess an experience in the Information Technology (IT). Candidates having an IT experience were given priority during the selection, even if their CRS score was below 400. Normally, Ontario only invites candidates with 400 or more CRS points. There are possibilities for this strategy to get repeated, either for IT professionals or by keeping other candidates in mind.


In Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia stream was reopened on July 5 for Express Entry candidates in one of 16 target occupations, including occupations in finance, health care, engineering, information technology, academia, social work, and law. This gained popularity and as no prior notice was given for the stream re-opening, it was to prepare the candidates to apply at a moment’s notice. No job offer is required under this stream.

Saskatchewan’s International Skilled Worker – Express Entry sub-category also searches for candidates in certain occupations (17 occupations are in demand), and no job offer is required in order to be eligible for the program. The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) – Express Entry has opened three times till now this year, and may do so again.

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) has also joined the ever-growing group of provinces seeking IT/tech professionals in the pool as their new strategy. It still also continues to invite workers and graduates in non-tech occupations.


Future Prospects?

In most cases the draws occur every two weeks, or even more often. The currently low CRS cut-off threshold of 413 that was recorded came in the May 31 draw. This draw was not followed by any draw for four weeks, as a result of the implementation of the additional points by IRCC that updated the pool During the gap, new candidates entered the pool, some applicants even got a boost in scores as a result of the new factors, and more candidates may have been able to obtain a provincial nomination. The threshold thus increased temporarily before coming down again.

Provinces are engaging themselves in the Express Entry in certain innovative ways, retaining the large draw sizes. IRCC is planning to target a high number of immigration applicants for the next year and in the remaining months of this year, so more beneficial opportunities for the candidates with diverse backgrounds will be explored to encourage them to apply for the immigration to Canada.


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