Express Entry: CRS 401 in new CEC draw


Canada held another Express Entry round of invitations with a low score requirement on May 13.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited candidates who had scores of at least 401, just one point more than the previous comparable draw. Candidates also must have been eligible for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), meaning they had at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada, and intermediate language proficiency in English or French.

IRCC published the cutoff time for the tie-break rule, as per administrative requirements. It does not necessarily mean there was an actual tie.  Candidates who had the minimum score of 401 were only invited if they submitted their Express Entry profile before April 29, 2021 at 11:48:14  UTC.

“All CEC candidates have previous experience in the Canadian labour market, this is a major component of the eligibility criteria,” said David Cohen, Senior Attorney of Campbell Cohen. “Having Canadian experience correlates with higher instances of employment, and higher earnings.”

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Overview of Express Entry in 2021

There have been 66,475 candidates invited so far in 2021. The number of invitations issued this year is far out-pacing last year’s rate. This could be because IRCC is holding larger draws, including the February 13 draw where every single CEC candidate was invited to apply.

As part of an effort to admit 401,000 new permanent residents this year amid travel restrictions, IRCC has consistently held draws that target candidates who are likely already in Canada. Both CEC and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates have high numbers of candidates in Canada.

The score requirements are vastly different in CEC and PNP draws. CEC draws typically require lower scores because these candidates are not competing with other candidates for invitations. As a result, the larger draw sizes allow candidates with lower scores to be invited. The previous CEC-only draw only required candidates to have a score of 400.

PNP candidates automatically get an 600 points, which means their score requirements are considerably higher.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an online application management system for the three Federal High Skilled immigration programs: Canadian Experience ClassFederal Skilled Worker Program, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

It works like an Expression of Interest system, where interested candidates submit a profile that is ranked. Express Entry uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) which assigns points based on human capital factors such as skilled work experience, education, age, official language skills, and others.

IRCC issues Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to the highest-scoring candidates through Express Entry draws. Recipients can then apply for permanent residence.

In 2021, the largest proportion of new immigrants to Canada are expected to come through the Express Entry-managed programs.

Who was invited?

The following is a hypothetical example of someone who may have been invited in the new draw.

Adil and Salma are married. Each holds a bachelor’s degree and is 39 years old. Adil has been working as an engineering manager for 15 years. He has an advanced English language proficiency and Salma has an intermediate English language proficiency. While most of Adil’s work experience has been done outside of Canada, he worked for one year in Canada. They entered the Express Entry pool with Adil as the principal applicant. His CRS score of 433 would have been high enough to receive an ITA during the new Express Entry draw.

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